Joy in a Purpose-Driven Life
Pastor Sarah Yao / 16 Feb 2020
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you” (Isaiah 60:1). There is a command in this Psalm; something that you need to do yourself: arise. But there is a purpose in your rising. Are you living a Godly, purpose-driven life or simply going with the flow, living by the world’s dreams and standards? It is purpose that produces joy.
Obedience is Better than Sacrifice
Hebrews 10:5-10, New International Version (NIV)
5Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
6with burnt offerings and sin offerings
you were not pleased.
7Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—
I have come to do your will, my God.’”
8First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. 9Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
The writer of Hebrews is describing how the old covenant was brought into fulfillment through Jesus. Jesus offering His own body as a sacrifice for our atonement, was the result of Him deciding to do the will of His Father. This means that the main sacrifice for Jesus was doing the will of the Father. In the old testament, there were many rules and regulations related to sacrifices and offerings; everything had a purpose. But the book of Hebrews reveals that what God really wants is a heart of obedience: no matter how many rituals you perform accurately, God’s true desire is that we should lay it down: our will for His.
Jesus was the perfect example of humility and obedience. He denied who He really is and decided to be likened to mankind. Not only did the Almighty Himself agree to be born in the flesh, through a woman, but He spent His entire earth-bound life declaring the praises of Abba Father by walking in His will (obedience). Jesus woke up each morning with one purpose in mind: to do the will of His Father. What is driving your everyday life? There was only one thing driving Jesus: bringing glory to the Father in everything He did.
In John 4, where Jesus meets the woman at the well, Jesus sends His disciples to find food and askes the woman for water. When the disciples return, and encourage Him to eat, Jesus responds saying, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about…My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work” (John 4:32-34, NIV). Jesus, while in human flesh, says that there is a higher level of eating – that is, to do the will of the Father.
Many of us are lacking joy. The joy that the disciples experienced was doing the will of the Father: spreading the good news, preaching the gospel, and bringing the kingdom on earth. We often wait our whole lives for something to bring us joy, but there is a kingdom principle that many of us are missing. Joy is not found in what you receive; it is found in what you give. What was fulfilling and feeding Jesus was doing the will of the Father. Do you wake up each morning planning what you can get, instead of what you can give? Brokenness is increasing, but you have the Answer. You have something to give and the world is waiting.
Joy is not found in what you receive; it is found in what you give.
Arise and Shine
The fig tree that was not producing fruit was cursed by Jesus (Mark 11:12-26). What do you think happens to light that doesn’t shine or salt that loses its flavour? We need to arise and shine because Jesus said we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth (Matt 5:13-16). It is your responsibility to arise and shine. If you fail to shine, consider how great the darkness will become.
Jesus’ mind was set on the things of the kingdom, not Himself. Do you have the kingdom at heart while doing whatever it is that you do? Do you want what you want for the kingdom, or your own gain? When Jesus called His disciples, His command to them was to deny themselves, and follow Him (e.g. Peter). The problem is that many of us just follow without being willing to deny ourselves (laying our life down), and that means that Jesus is just an addition to, not the centre of, our lives. You will never have a purpose-driven life if your entire focus is set upon meeting the world’s standards and your personal needs.
Perhaps the true purpose of your business is to provide a platform for ministry, or perhaps the reason why you are intelligent and wise, is because you are intended to be like Daniel who used His gift of wisdom to expand the kingdom (offering Godly council to Kings who sought it out). It is time for us to ‘arise’ into our true authority as ambassadors of the kingdom: denying the world system and declaring Christ. The Word tells us to, “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to [us] as well” (Matt 6:33, NIV). You are positioned where you are to display Him. Let your daily choices and actions be a testimony of Christ.
You are positioned where you are to display Him.
Abba desires obedience more than sacrifice. When you do His will, you are not only pleasing Him, but finding true fulfillment within yourself. You will never lack joy when you are in the will of God. Real joy is found in doing the works of the kingdom.
Giving as a Source of Joy
There is a deep sense of satisfaction in giving. “For God so loved the world that He gave...” (John3:16). Jesus came and gave Himself completely. The disciples also gave themselves for the sake of the kingdom. Giving in the eyes of the world means to lose, but giving for God is grounds for multiplication. Those who gather and retain cannot receive more. Whereas, more is given to those who release. If you want to be blessed become a blessing as the Bible tells us, “give, and it will be given to you…For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38, NIV). The key of the kingdom is that if you want to receive, you need to learn how to give. If you want power, start blessing people. Stop waiting and start finding ways to meet the physical and spiritual needs of those around you.
Giving in the eyes of the world means to lose, but giving for God is grounds for multiplication
Jesus came and gave himself, and so we must do the same. We become joyful when we meditate on and apply kingdom principles, when we focus on the will of the Father and make efforts to advance His kingdom, when we deny ourselves and obey Him, and when we give without measure. If you taste that type of joy, you will understand why Jesus said there is ‘greater food’. The joy that comes from manifesting Christ, is a joy that no one can take from you.