What does God have in mind for you and me? This is a question many of us wrestle with. Ministers often encourage us to discover our God-given purpose, because our success in life and real sense of fulfillment is found in our created purpose.
What does God want you to be and do? What is your real purpose in this life? When we know our purpose, we can focus our time, efforts, gifts and skills toward that goal. Did God create you ‘to be’ a carpenter, nurse, accountant, farmer, musician or entrepreneur? While we can find levels of fulfillment in our work, this is not specifically why we are created and live.
Image and Likeness
To find our purpose, we must look to God for clarity. What does Scripture identify as our God-given purpose? We can all agree that our lives are not just for this natural realm because our soul consciousness continues after death, but what is God’s created purpose for us now?
God declared in our created beginnings that we are uniquely different from the animal creation. When God announced His intention for humankind, you and me, He specifically said we are to be made into “His image and likeness.” (a) This was a clear declaration that He wanted to parent offspring and raise them as children into His own image and likeness. [see end notes for Scriptures]
It helps to realize the Hebrew words translated in our Bible as ‘image’ and ‘likeness’ actually mean ‘reflection’ and ‘resemblance.’ These words are closer to God’s stated purpose because they indicate more of His relational intention. As verified in other passages, God births us into existence, to ‘reflect’ Him as a mirror (b) and to ‘resemble’ Him as a child. (c)
To find our purpose, we must look to God for clarity.
God wants each of His offspring to respond to Him and experience a fellowship with His presence, much like Jesus did. (d) Our interaction with God enables us to be more than offspring, (e) becoming disciplined children that mature into better reflective resemblances of His heart. (f) Children taught and trained by our heavenly Father, become more appropriate reflections and resemblances of God.
Although we are designed to reflect and resemble characteristics of God, we must acknowledge from the start: God is eternal. (g) Unlike us, He has no beginning or ending. While God gifts us with the capacity to receive the light of His love and be reflections His heart, we certainly have human limitations. There is a big difference between us and God: He is able to love unconditionally and to forgive without exception. (h)
“Who is a God like Thee, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession?…He delights in unchanging love.” (i)
Children taught and trained by our heavenly Father, become more appropriate reflections and resemblances of God.
Understanding the Essence of God
The disciple that was closest to Jesus stated: God ‘is’ Spirit, Light, and Love. (j) These descriptions identify His essence ‘and’ the expressions that come from Him.
By acknowledging God’s essence, we can begin to recognize the quality of His expressions. When God speaks, His expression goes forth to perform His intention and is always successful. (k) The motion and activity of His spoken words produce a quality of life that enhances everyone.
The love and light that emanates from God is pure and enduring. With that said, God speaks in ways to assist our understanding and maturing process. Thus, when God addresses our life in this natural realm, He can appear to ‘be angry’ or even ‘discouraged’. This helps us relate to our lack of response to His guidance and (hopefully) learn to respond differently.
In this life, we bounce between the influences of temporal and spiritual realities: between spirit and flesh, light and dark, love and disdain, living and dying. The potential to grow and mature under God’s fatherly care and guidance is in everyone. However, at our best, we are little more than immature reflections and resemblances of the image and likeness of God.
The life and words of Jesus are the most exact reflection and resemblance of our heavenly Father in human form. (l) Jesus perfectly illustrated the heart of our heavenly Father by reflecting and resembling God’s character, attitude, and personality (CAP). Jesus is the pattern for us to follow.
The life and words of Jesus are the most exact reflection and resemblance of our heavenly Father in human form.
More Than Offspring
Because we have the spirit of life in us, we are all ‘offspring’ of God. When we respond to His guidance, we live as ‘children’ of our heavenly Father. (m) As children of natural parents, we listen, ignore, or run from their instruction. As offspring of our heavenly Father, we respond to God in the same ways.
Now, the phrase “we are created in the image and likeness of God” can be better understood. So we should be asking ourselves, “How well are we maturing into God’s reflection and resemblance—as expressions of God’s eternal Spirit, of His Light and Love?”
Our fellowship with God enables us to enter levels and heights of God’s Love and Light, in this life: “This is eternal life, to know God and His son.” (n) This “ongoing spirit (zoe) life” is more than a knowing ‘of God’; it is to ‘personally know by experience’ our heavenly Father and Jesus as the example of God’s Love and Light. This personal relationship allows us to be more than offspring; we become children, sons and daughters of God.
So, what is God’s purpose for you? What is his will for your life? God did not create you to be a carpenter, nurse, accountant, farmer, musician or entrepreneur. While the profession we choose has great value in God’s eye, His purpose for us is fulfilled in how we speak and perform our work. How well are we reflecting and resembling His love and light?
Your personal purpose is to become
A mature reflection and resemblance
Of the Love and Light of God’s heart
Of His Character, Attitude and Personality (CAP)
While the profession we choose has great value in God’s eye, His purpose for us is fulfilled in how we speak and perform our work.
a) Genesis 1:26; b) 1 Corinthians 18:12; 2 Corinthians 3:8 NASB; c) John 1:12-13; Romans 8:14; John 8:12; d) John 14:3; 12:26; 17:24; e) Acts 17:22-26; f) John 1:12; 1 John 3:2; g) Deuteronomy 33:27; 1 Timothy 1:17; h) Isaiah 43:25; 1 John 1:9; i) Micah 7:18; j) John 4:24; 1 John 1:5; 4:8, 16; k) Isaiah 55:11; l) Philippians 2:6 NASB; Colossians 1:15 Greek – elkon: resemblance; m) Acts 17:24-29; n) John 17:3