Accepting God's Purpose for Me

Text: Luke 7:30
But by refusing to be baptized by him, the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves. (NRSV)

I believe that God’s purpose for humanity is that we receive God’s love and that we return God’s love to God and to one another.  That is the extremely short version of my more than 20-page systematic theology that I wrote my senior year in seminary and have been refining ever since.

In theology, we talk about free will and predestination.  In the extreme, free will is described as humanities ability to choose in each and every situation in which one finds oneself.  Predestination in the extreme, is described as God’s complete control over every individuals’ actions which have been pre-planned from the beginning of creation.

Another one of my long-time beliefs is that the truth is more likely found between the extremes than at either end.  I do not believe that God controls each and every one of us like some sort of puppet on a string, nor do I believe that there is nothing that has been pre-planned by God from the beginning of creation.

If everything, however, is pre-planned by God, then life really is meaningless, and we are all simply running some ancient program with no real responsibility for how we live.  In my humble opinion, meaning in life comes from the decisions we make and the actions we take in response to the situations we find going on around us.  If it is true that everything is pre-planned by God, it would also mean that the warnings (Don’t eat the fruit from that tree) and the promises (those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint) found in our Bibles are also meaningless since we would have no power to either obey or disregard the warnings or the promises.

If our true purpose is to be loved by God and to love God and others, then the fulfillment of our purpose would be to use our free will to respond to each and every circumstance in which we find ourselves with an action or a word that is loving toward God and/or toward others.  By not doing that, then today’s verse would also apply to us, “But by refusing to [fill in the blank], [fill in your name] rejected God’s purpose for themselves.”

I believe that we have the free will, like the Pharisees and the lawyers in today’s reading, to either accept or reject God’s purpose for ourselves.  How we respond to God and others will result in only one of those two options.

Pray with me:

God of love and God of meaning guide and direct me with your Word in my heart that I might respond in each and every situation in ways that bring honor and glory to your name as I accept your purpose for my life.  AMEN.

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