As I greet you, fall (autumn) is upon us. However, the temperature seems to carry a different message, summer is not ready to leave just yet, not for now!
I would like to share a question that seems to plaque good-hearted people from time to time. It is this: I want to do God’s will for my life, but how do I know this present life is what He wants me to do? How do I order my life to suit His purpose and design for me? A fair question! This world is falling apart at the seams, and we need more people to project a more objective, caring, and responsible attitude toward life. One can say, the cause of so much evil in this world is quite elementary – humans are not living their God-given purpose on earth. (Gen.1:26-29) All of us, in our own unique way, make our mark which contribute to the condition we find ourselves in the world today. The onus will always be upon each of us to take up our own life’s burden, and like a jig-saw piece, make it fit into the fabric of human society, and hopefully contribute to a kinder world with a richer legacy for our children. Let’s begin!
Is This Work God’s Will for Me (Photos: Wiki Commons)
How do I order my life? How do I know this is the job God wants me to do? How do I know this is the course of education He wants me to take up? Should I make this move to another state or another country? We are often left with a dilemma about what to do, and we pray it seems like God is not listening, much less answering.
First things first: I presume that if we are seeking to order our lives to befit God’s will, it is because we believe He is Love, and Love is the place where mutual benefit is the prime and only concern over our own selfish ways. When we live this way, no one takes offense for there is no law against it (Love). (Gal.5:22-23) We live as Paul proclaimed, “Owe no one anything, except to Love each other, for the one who Loves another has fulfilled the law” (Rom.13:8, ESV). In this life of outgoing concern for God and my neighbor, the Psalmist promises, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing” (Psa.23:1). As long as we live a surrendered life and make Him our Caretaker He promises to feed, guide, and shield us out of His abundance. (Psa.37:25; 48:14; 28:7)
Second, many of us have the mistaken idea we were born with goodness in our hearts to do something for God. Nothing could be further from the truth. This mindset finds its source in self-righteousness. The life of Love He offers comes from Him, and does not proceed from us. As the Bible says, “We Love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
Third, life will be lived well where we find joy and strength in His purpose, if we remain open to God’s invitation to His calling for us. (Neh.8:10) He invites us to His enterprise, not the other way round.
That being said, the question is, has God invited humans, you and me, to His enterprise? If yes, let’s ask, what is God’s enterprise? God’s enterprise has been known since the creation of man. Man can’t claim ignorance to His purpose which He made abundantly clear from the beginning. After recreating this earth for six days to make it habitable for humans, He openly and unambiguously spoke His enterprise, “Let Us make mankind in Our image, in Our likeness, so that they may rule (over creation).” So God created mankind for a purpose – to live and exist in His Love: “Let Us make human beings in Our image, make them reflecting Our nature (Love) so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.” (Gen.1:26-27, MSG). Yes, it is called God’s Human Enterprise! Human purpose is to be responsible for all creation. So God created humans in His image so they will live like He does – “In His image and likeness.” This is not rocket science for it is simple and straight forward. There’s no ambiguity whatsoever.
God’s human enterprise is for man to rule and have dominion over this earth and all life forms upon it as God would – according to “His image and likeness.” Paul says the same thing in our Christian context, “For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said, “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (2 Cor.6:16; Lev.26:12). Yes, in carrying out our dominion (living our life-gift) on this earth, our primary purpose is to ensure we allow Him to walk in and through us. God is Love, so Love becomes our nature too and is the most powerful and influential spiritual element which inspires all our thoughts and actions. Most of all, Love motivates our relationship with each other. “Dear friends, let us Love one another, for Love comes from God. Everyone who Loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not Love does not know God, because God is Love” (1 John 4:7-8).
Who Is God?
It’s vital we get past a couple of basic details from the creation account:
a) It is imperative we understand “God” in His Being and existence, so we know what we speak of, who we are faced with, and how to relate with Him in His human enterprise. Ignorance is not an option. All religions of this world view God differently and we see their beliefs in the way they worship and live. The word for “God” in the creation account is Elohim, which speaks of a uni-plural Being. Elohim is translated “gods” in other verses, like Genesis 35:2, “Get rid of all the foreign gods you have with you.” But the key here is what God said about Himself. By saying, “Let Us make man,” and “in Our image and in Our likeness,” it reveals God is not solitary, but pluralistic. And, when seen in the light of other passages of the Bible, He is Trinitarian. One such passage is Matthew 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Another is 1 John 5:7-8, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit: and these three are One.” (Also, 2 Cor. 13:14; John 14:26, besides others)
Rublev’s Famous Icon of The Trinity (Wiki Commons)
God is a Tri-Personal Being. He is three Persons in One Triune Godhead, commonly called, the Trinity. So we see why God said, “Us” instead of “Me,” and “Our” instead of “My” in the creation account. This explains why “God is Love” in His Triune nature. (1 John 4:8). He is not made of Love – He IS Love! It’s impossible for Love (God) to exist in isolation by and in Himself. For Love, must of necessity engender relationships, hence, He is Tri-Personal in His One Being. Love is outgoing. True Love can never Love Himself. That’s not what Love does. Love can only be Love when others exist to receive, give, and be showered with it. Hence, man is made to reflect His Creator. Each human is unique in personality for he is fashioned after the three Persons of the Trinity. I am using Love interchangeably as a noun and verb, because God is both – Love is who He is – His name – and Love is what He does.
So, man’s first purpose is to conform and become united with God’s pluralistic, yet One Triune Being. Just as God is unique in the three Personalities within the Godhead, so is man unique in the gift conferred upon him which reveal his purpose. So, whenever “God” is mentioned it always conveys His nature of Love and Triunity. He is not solitary and self-centered in Himself, for He cannot be God who is Love without being the Father, the Son and the Spirit. We’ll see how God makes a way and invites man into and live as He does in His Loving Triune Being – this is what I have termed in my blog posts as the “Triune Life” in my book and blog posts.
b) Man, having fundamentally conformed himself to God’s primordial Triune Love nature, can now rule all creation as God would have him. But here is where man has lost the plot and moved away from God’s will and purpose on earth. Man has failed to live by God’s Loving Triune nature in the exercise of his God-given dominion over this earth. Instead, he ruled through his own solitary self-centered, fear-based mindset. It’s clear from the creation account that God wanted man to adopt His Loving Triune nature (“likeness mandate”) before exercising governance over this earth. By doing so, man would be blessed in all he does.
How did man lose the plot in the first place? Recall, Adam and Eve, our first parent, lived happily with purpose in Eden and experienced God in His Triune Personality. Jesus was the LORD of Creation, the Spirit was the Friend who personified the Love of God symbolized by the fruits of the “Tree of Life” from which they were free to eat. The Father was Overseer Father in heaven. We know the story, our first parent was evicted from Eden because they rebelled by eating the forbidden fruit. (Gen.2:15; 3:1-24) As consequence of their expulsion from Eden they lost all contact with the true God, and thereby were separated from God’s Triune Being. They now took up residence outside of Eden in the devil’s accursed world living solitary, self-centered, lives driven by fear – no longer Love as it was in Eden. Their actions had initiated and dispensed curses upon all three – Satan, Adam and Eve. (Gen.3:14-24)
This is central to the whole story of human purpose – that we recognize Adam and his wife were given the freedom of choice to follow God’s Loving Triune way of life, or the devil’s solitary, fear-based self-centered mode of living. Their decision will decide how they will administer their God-given dominion upon this earth. This became a parting of ways for our parent and for all humanity. Adam chose the devil’s solitary self-centered way. From the time of Adam’s eviction from Eden man has conducted his earthly dominion through Satan’s solitary self-centered spirit. The tragic events of man’s inhumanity to man has dominated the landscape of human suffering.
Man – “Cleveland Museum of Art – Damaged Thinker” by Daderot – Own work. (Wikimedia Commons)
But the Creator did not leave man to the unfortunate fate he has chosen for himself through the devil’s cunning and deception. He promised to send a second Adam to put right Adam’s wrong. (Gen. 3;14-15; 1 Cor.15:45) From then on, man’s salvation, physical and spiritual, hinges upon the advent of the Messiah sent by God to save man from Satan. (1 Cor.1:30)
God’s promise as it relates to His human enterprise is framed in what the Bible calls the New Covenant. A covenant is a promise. It is based upon the promise God makes with man to provide a Messiah after the fall of our first parent. A promise is between two parties who are free to agree or disagree. God tells man, “‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the Lord, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them white as snow’” (Isa.1:18). The word “sin” has become so religionized that it has lost its authentic meaning. It simply means to live in a way contrary to the way of Love – who God is. (1 John 4:8) Love and freedom goes hand in hand, and fits like hand to glove. There is no Love without freedom, and no freedom without Love. Love never coerces nor does it pressures another by any means to its own will. We were made to embrace God’s likeness by freely choosing His way of life.
The covenant gives man a choice, like our first parent was given a choice between two trees. This is important for you and me, because in the covenant we decipher God’s purpose for man today, and our choice to harmonize ourselves with Him, or continue Adam’s rebellious path of following the devil.
So, back to the original question, how do you find God’s will for your life? It begins with God’s covenant. We hear Him out and reason together, and decide freely if we choose to go with His plan. I don’t see why we should disagree because we know this world is badly in need of His Love, and so do we, even though we may not realize it. Let’s read it, then agree with it, because we know Love is the place where we want to be because we can exist through mutual benefit in His Love, and He may honor us with His abundance. (Psa.23)
Let’s read His plan (New Covenant promise):
“But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of (spiritual) Israel on that day,says the LORD: I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the LORD.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already. And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins” (Heb.8:10-12, NLT, emphasis added).
A Look Inside a Replica of Ark of The Covenant in Timna Valley, Israel (Wiki Commons)
This is not a plan written on paper or chiseled in stone like the ‘old covenant’ made with physical Israel, but one carved into the hearts of the people of spiritual Israel. (Heb.8:9) This plan fulfills God’s main purpose for making man into “His image and likeness.” By saying, “I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts” (V.10a), and His people will not be schooled by humans about His way of life (V.11), He is pointing to a different process He will utilize to get us to know and impart His Love in us. It will not be like the legalistic ‘old covenant.’ Believers will get to know Him firsthand through this process, and it will touch all from the least to the greatest of them. This can only mean God has His miraculous means of teaching us which does not require human input.
How? Through the power of the Holy Spirit! The Spirit is the presence of God (Love) in humans who have chosen freely to follow Him. Paul told the Romans, “For we know how dearly God Love us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His Love” (Rom.5:5, NLT). Paul said believers are “temples” or dwellings for the Spirit, “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?” (1 Cor.6:19, NLT; also, 1 Cor.3:16).
So, the process of imbibing the knowledge of His purpose for our lives is the responsibility of the Spirit who resides in us – not human teachers. (John 16:12-15) That’s why a person who is given the role of a teacher must understand he or she is the instrument of the Spirit’s work. Peter’s powerful preaching by inspiration of the Spirit on Pentecost is a fine example. Jesus said this to His followers before He was taken to be crucified, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate (Teacher, Helper), who will never leave you. It is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you” (John 14:16; 16:7, NLT, emphasis added). The Advocate is none other than the Spirit who first came to believers on Pentecost under the umbrella of the New Covenant. (Act.2:1-4)
The process is the deposit of God’s nature, His Love, in the hearts of humans by the Holy Spirit. The Bible speaks of this miraculous way of guiding us through the Spirit, “Your own ears will hear Him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left” (Isa.30:21; 42:16; Psa.73:24). It is not an audible voice, but we hear through the ears of our minds, and speak through our hearts.
Perhaps an analogy might be of help. Think of the force of physical gravity in our physical environment, as the counterpart of the spiritual gravitational pull of God’s Love in His spiritual world. In other words, what gravity is to our physical environment, Love is to our spiritual environment which governs spiritual/human relationships. Naturally, we compensate for gravity as we grow up until we live with it intuitively and become second nature. We take gravity for granted. Here is my point, all our actions also answer to another, equally real gravitational force – the spiritual gravitational pull of Love (God). Just as gravity becomes ‘automatic’ and we become ‘unaware’ of its affect on all our actions – so is Loves’ spiritual gravity. I would like to think Paul was referring to this gravitational force of Love when he said, “For it is God who is at work in you to make you willing and able to obey His purposes” (Phi.2:13). Most of all the spiritual gravity governs human relationships. If we break it, gravity does the same to us – unequivocally. Human suffering is proof of this unseen spiritual gravity (Love) being broken repetitively because it governs human relationships.
Of course, no metaphor, no matter how elaborate, can adequately explain God’s grandeur, majesty, and glory – “To whom then will you liken Me That I would be his equal?” says the Holy One” (Isa.40:25). He is not gravity, it is simply a helpful tool for our limited human minds understand spiritual realities that’s beyond our discernment. The Bible says this about the work of the Spirit, “But it was to us that God revealed these things by His Spirit. For His Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets” (1 Cor. 2:10). Yes, the Spirit imbues us with the faith of Jesus to comprehend what is physically incomprehensible. (Eph.2:8)
Dove – Symbol of The Holy Spirit (Wiki Commons)
With man’s solitary pathway firmly entrenched in man through Adam’s fall, we see why human suffering has dominated the human landscape down through the ages and continues to our day. All the evil we see in the world arise from the broken unseen law of the spiritual gravity of God’s Love which governs human relationship. Note the distinction, our physical gravity inhabits only our physical earthly sphere, but God’s spiritual Love-gravity inhabits space, time, and all eternity. On one hand physical gravity is unseen but felt, while spirit gravity is unseen and not felt immediately. Hence, we read, “When a crime is not punished quickly (like physical gravity), people feel it is safe to do wrong” (Eccl.8:11). God is Love and He is omnipresent and omniscient, and you can be sure He is real and can be felt and experienced. (Isa.46:9-10) I hope this clarifies the process by which God works with those who agree to walk with Him. (Amo.3:3) The purpose of life is to live and harmonize our lives with His Spirit and His Love. (You may read my Blog Post titled, “A Penny for Your Thoughts” in which I explain how this Love works in us individually. Posted on March 18, 2014)
Jesus – Man’s Mediator
I am explaining the process (Covenant) in reverse here, for the giving of the Spirit is criterion to another aspect and preceding provision of the New Covenant which says, “I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins” (Heb.8:12). Recall, Jesus said, “Unless I go away, the Helper (Spirit) will not come to you” (John 16:7). What He said was the Spirit can’t be given to man unless and until human transgression arising out of Adam’s fall is taken care of once for all. Jesus must first be installed as mankind’s High Priest in heaven to mediate between God and sinful man. (Heb.7:6-7) We saw that sin means to live contrary to the way God is – Love. Where there is sin, it has to be atoned for, hence we read, “For God so Loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him” (John 3:16-17). So, here we see the Father giving His Son as Savior and Mediator to make possible the gift of the Spirit.
Jesus Walking on Water to Peter and Disciples (Wiki Commons)
This passage from John also emphasize another aspect of the New Covenant – the Spirit is the deposit of God’s gift of immortality to man. The words of the Covenant simply states, “I will be their God, and they will be my people (children)” (V.10, my emphasis). The ultimate meaning of being God’s people is to be immortalized. (2 Cor.1:21-22; Eph.1:13-14) Jesus said this about the message He brought from His Father, “For My Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” (John 6:39-40) So, the Spirit has the dual role of being the Personification of God’s Love in man, and is the power that will resurrect humans to life everlasting. (1 Cor.15:51-57; Rom.8:11, 29) Therefore, we hear Jesus declare Himself as the doorway to eternal life, saying, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die” (John 11:25).
God the Father
The ultimate picture of restitution where mankind is brought and made one in Love with the Father is uttered by John in a vision, “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true” (Rev.21:3-5). If there is “no more death” in the new world order of God, then it must of necessity mean human mortality will cease to exist, and human immortality will be man’s legacy. At long last, the words God uttered at creation, “let Us make man in Our Image,” is brought to reality. Jesus is the first human who made this transition from mortal to immortality, and opens the gate to everlasting life for mankind. (John 10:9-10) What happens after this is not revealed to us, but you can be sure as the Author of creation, our heavenly Father has great things in store for us. To quote from a Shakespearean play, “The world is your oyster,” will now be, “The universe is your oyster,” for we will no longer be imprisoned to this earthly by our human mortality. (Rom.8:18-21)
And that in a nutshell is God’s human enterprise and our purpose for existence in it. Wherever we find ourselves in life, the work we do within the bounds of law and order, let His Love be the motivating force. As long as we keep His human enterprise a priority in life and order our lives to that end, we are living God’s purpose for us.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to write me in the space provided below, or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blessing: Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessings of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love, be with you always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the “Triune Life” as a Bulamanriver.* Be strong in the Lord’s joy.
* Bulamanriver” is the metaphor describing the union of man with the Love of the Triune God flowing in humans, making possible the “Triune Life” – the source of the miraculous life in man. To read the many facets of life of the Bulamanriver, go to my website www.bulamanriver.com where you can order a copy of my Book.
All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.