(Below are Jessica's thoughts on Day 40 of The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. Please know that what we all learn from a study is usually different. Therefore, if you would like, we encourage you to share your thoughts in the comment section below each post. We're sure you will lift someone's spirit!)
This is it, Day 40, we are now equipped with knowledge about all five of our God-given purposes for our lives here on earth. I'd like to list each one briefly with a verse of scripture from the previous days, so that we can also restate these purposes for ourselves in God's words.
1. We were planned for God's pleasure.
The Lord is pleased with those who worship him and trust his love.
2. We were formed for God's family.
Think how much the Father loves us. He loves us so much that he lets us be called his children, as we truly are. -1 John 3:1
3. We were created to become like Christ.
Love should always make us tell the truth. Then we will grow in every way and be more like Christ, the head of the body. Christ holds it all together and makes all of its parts work perfectly, as it grows and becomes strong because of love. -Ephesians 4: 15-16
4. We were shaped for serving God.
Each of you has been blessed with one of God's many wonderful gifts to be used in the service of others. -1 Peter 4:10
5. We were made for a mission.
Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to do everything I have told you. I will be with you always, even until the end of the world. -Matthew 28: 18-19
Day 40 recommends that we clarify further what this means in each of our lives by developing a Life Purpose Statement. This is something that will take us some time and effort, but can briefly and effectively keep us focused each day as we strive to live with God's purpose. In order to do this, we need to examine what the following aspects of Christian life mean to us:
"When God's at the center, you worship. When he's not, you worry." -Rick Warren, p. 314
This determines and points out the very center of our lives. If God is at the center, then we do not have to fear what life may bring us. We trust that all things will work out for our good (Romans 8:28) and will have the strength we need for any situation. (Philippians 4:13).
"God is far more interested in what you are than what you do." -Rick Warren, p. 314
God sees our hearts, and he wants us to use each situation in our lives to build and share the character of Christ. Good works done without right intentions ulitimately do not build God's kingdom and will not help you to become more like Christ. Real change starts from within, once God changes our hearts, our lives and relationships reflect this and blessings flow.
This is where we determine what our greatest contribution will be. By taking an inventory of our God-given passions and gifts we can decide who we can help best and how.
Our mission is to bring others to the knowledge and salvation of Jesus Christ. On page 316, Rick Warren states, "Before most unbelievers accept the Bible as credible, they want to know that we are credible." The way we outwardly live our lives reflects our inner relationship with God. We can't teach others about God's love without showing a true example of this in our own lives. We need to keep our "walk" with God strong so that our "talk" has a true and lasting impact.
Although each of us has unique gifts and passions to fulfill God's purpose, none of us were meant to do this alone. Jesus loved his church enough to give his life, and he wants us to know this kind of love as well. We need to have good church communities, as well as communities of friends and family to nurture, strengthen and grow the body of Christ. Our community can shine a new light on our lives as we develop our Life Purpose Statement.
This is alot to consider and we are encouraged to take as long as we need to develop our Life Purpose Statement. Rick Warren also recommends that we make a smaller slogan-type statement that can easily be committed to memory and gives some great examples of how to do this. (see p. 317)
Most important, we are to take away from this book that everything is secondary to God's purpose for our lives. Once we set our lives to focus on God's purposes, we will be blessed because we are operating in God's will.