God's Vision For Your Life
In John 14:15, Thomas asked Jesus,
Lord, we don't know where we are going, so how can we know the way?
He was asking for directions to eternity. Today, Christians are both asking and acting like they have no idea of the way to their path to and through the period just preceding heaven that we call retirement.
They are just as lost, just as confused, just as detached, just as oblivious, just as misdirected, and just as inoculated with what can only be described as the disease of nothing. The symptoms of nothing encompass the spectrum of self-focused, self-absorbing activities known as golf, travel, hobby, and more.
Thomas went on to say, "Show us the Father and that will be enough." Part of Jesus' reply was, "I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." John 14: 12-14
Jesus often said that everything he was doing was at the direction of the Father and that he was representing the Father in doing His will. He then extends the action plan of his relationship to the Father to us. You and I are the extensions of God's plan for the world.
That plan starts with God's love and to permeate the world. In verse 23 of John 14, Jesus lays out the extended action plan, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me."
The next step of the action plan then, for you and me, is to build that personal relationship with Jesus. He promised to indwell and be an integral part of who we are. We become a new creation because of God's love and His promise to make His home in us. What an incredible promise and opportunity! Replacing nothing with the presence and power of God.
At the end of Chapter 14, he closes with "Come now, let us leave." The clear implication is that they had somewhere to go and something to do. His road was to the cross and then to glory. Yours and my role are to pick up that cross and follow Him.
Our understanding of God's plan for our lives picks up directly in Chapter 15 of John's gospel. Jesus expands and describes exaction of our role. "I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
There is that word nothing again. A reasonable extension of the thought suggests that if we are doing nothing, we are apart from Jesus. And to set nothing aside, we must be in a deep relationship with Him. Further, if we do in fact have that relationship we will not be attracted to nothing but will be encouraged and excited about following his example and ministering for a lifetime.
Jesus says, "As the father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's command and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for his friends."
He goes on to define "Friends." We are no longer servants because we do know the will of God and are now partners, friends, with Jesus.
He then wraps up these thoughts, the ones that direct you and me. The ones that open the door to your calling and mine. The calling that will change your life, expand your life, and make the last 30 years of your life the most fulfilling, meaningful and packed with purpose.
"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed (called) you so that you might bear fruit, fruit that will last (impact eternity) and so that whatever you ask in my name (totally prepared and empowered) the Father will give you. (Marching orders next) This is my command: Love one another". *Personal emphasis added.
God's vision for your life is to love Jesus, represent Him to the world, use the unique gifts, both spiritual and physical, He's given you, and build His kingdom by going wherever He leads impacting all you meet.
In other words, we are all ministers for a lifetime. We are to be faithful for a lifetime. And our joy will be complete.