This is the Gospel: Day 12

Our Redeemed Purpose

by

Today's Text: Mark 1:14-15, 1 Peter 2:9-17, Ephesians 2:1-10, Matthew 28:18-20, 2 Timothy 1:8-10

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.

- 1 Peter 2:16, ESV  -

I have a hard time prioritizing. Right now I want to: make the bed, research biblical timelines, write, nurse my baby, plan dinner, learn how to identify constellations, do a facial mask, vacuum the wood floors, practice juggling, fix my manicure, sleep, hike with the dogs, eat curried chicken salad, and figure out the Rubix Cube. But for real. With all this noise in my head, I try to sift out what I should actually do.

Do you do this, too? Amidst all the delights, sorrows, and to-do’s of this life, what are we actually supposed to be doing? My first off-the-shelf answer is the one imprinted on my heart from learning the Westminster Catechism.

Q: What is the chief end of man?
A: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

This is such a good answer. I mean, it’s the answer. But for years I’ve struggled to understand it. What does it mean to glorify God?

Martin Luther King, Jr. said:

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’”

This is a good answer, too. We glorify God by doing excellent work with a good heart. In fact, think there is a lot of “doing good” involved in our redeemed purpose. But as we know by now, we are saved by grace through faith, so our good works are nice, but they just aren’t the point.

In digging for the point, I keep coming back to my favorite biblical metaphor of the Gospel: Christ as the bridegroom and the Church as His bride (Revelation 19:7).

When we get married a lot of things change. I’m a wife now. Wifing is not a to-do list. It’s not just pillow talk, laundry, and pot roasts. I almost wish it were; I could check all my wife boxes and know that I had achieved wifely success. Instead it’s messy and complicated. It’s a whole shift of who I am. I have to constantly make tiny corrections to my little ship of love to stay in sync with my husband.

I am not his wife because I do his laundry. I do his laundry because I love him, and I’m his wife. What I do is because of who I am; it doesn’t make me who I am.

In the same way, I am a Christian not because of what I do, but because of who I am in Christ. We can use fancy words to further make this distinction: “ontology” is the study of being, and “epistemology” is the study of knowing. Being and knowing are different things. We need both!

It’s one thing to know the Gospel is true, to know how to be a wife, or to know the Church is the bride of Christ. But it is another category entirely to be redeemed by the gospel, to be a wife, and to join the Church in being the bride of Christ. One is looking at the ocean and knowing about it, the other is jumping in and swimming.

Our redeemed purpose is to know God, to be his people, and to do His work.

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  • Often we say we are Christian and sometimes we don’t fully realize what that means: that we love Christ and believe in His saving power.

  • Latoya Irving

    Praise God

  • Kate Vrugteveen

    Wow! God is great. ❤️

  • I love how God gives us so much purpose ❤️

  • This message really hit home today (so much so that I’ve been moved to write my first comment!) I’m in college, and I’ve been shaping my studies and future plans all around a specific career path. Lately, though, I’ve been feeling called to rethink that path. Logically it’s the best one: I’d get a free masters degree, get a high salary, get to work safely in the United States. But, I feel like, if I go down this path, my work would not do good, and God keeps telling me that every day. He keeps telling me that He’s given me my gifts for a very specific reason, and I’m finally listening to Him. It’s so scary, but I need to work for Him and not myself.

    • Kira

      I feel this so sincerely. I’ve been planning out life since I was 12 around a specific career, but switched majors last semester. I, too, said goodbye to comfort and security… I cried repeatedly as I watched the future I’d spent so much time planning fall to pieces as my heart continued to accept it was not the future God had for me. Since switching my major, God has taken every opportunity to put people and opportunities in my path that prove that THIS is the way he wants me to go. I’ll be praying for you, Sydney, as you embark on your own journey into the “unknown.” But in all actuality, He knows what’s ahead, so how unknown is it?

    • Beej

      Sydney, you sound intelligent and brave. I wish you many blessings in whatever choice is in your bright future!

  • Well said! Loved this

  • Krista Bethany ❤️

    This passage was amazing

  • This whole passage was so amazing and deep and true

  • BlessedandFavored

    It connects me to purpose driven work, that I will continue to do for the kingdom

  • God, let this word be written in my heart.

  • I loved what you said here: “I am not his wife because I do his laundry. I do his laundry because I love him, and I’m his wife. What I do is because of who I am; it doesn’t make me who I am.” We serve God because we love him, but so often we try and find identity in what we do instead of who we are. This was a great reminder – thanks so much for sharing.

  • This was powerful for me. I feel called to contribute in my church, but I haven’t found where I excel at yet. I pray that God shows me my skills so that I may use them for His glory, but I’m not great at picking up on His signs. He has a place for me in the church, I know that, I just need to find where. :)

  • Powerful!!!

  • Jennifer

    The first paragraph hilariously hit home.. thank you

  • I’ve been struggling a lot about what God wants to do with my life (because I’m going to college very soon) and it’s so confusing to me. But this was helpful in letting me know that even if I pick the wrong choice, God can and will, still use me for His work.

  • This was beyond wonderful

  • Good word. Being and knowing are completely different!

  • Mady Degner

    More then what society says, about what we live for, I haven’t been living for Christ as I should, I’ve been living to please my parents, when I fail with them (which is what I do most of) I feel like I have no purpose. I’ve bought into the lie that the purpose if life is to please people. Wow, I wish I could drop all my studies, my heartache and just find what God has for me. I feel like I’m so close, I really feel it. This was a great reminder to pray through questions I have for God about how I understand myself.

    • Taylor

      Mady, I went through a similar time when I realized a lot of what I had been doing, including the college path I took, was to please other people. I wanted to quit but something kept pushing me on despite and I’m really glad I did. God will use you exactly where you are regardless of how you got there.

  • This spoke directly to me. Im just not getting back into church. I went growing up, but during and after college I just kind of stopped. All those years though I knew I was missing something. Church. If our purpose is to know God and do His work, you must have the church to help guide you in those areas!

  • AnaLucíaOrantes

    Love the ocean’s metaphore… thank you

  • this came at me in perfect timing as I was just feeling discouraged last night about having/feeling lack of purpose in life and what I’m doing right now…so this has helped bring a fresh, new perspective.

    • Rachael

      I agree! I have been struggling to find joy in the mundane and seek God in everything and it is really taking a toll on my heart. Last night God used dear friends and my fiancé to speak the gospel to me. Reading this today has been so encouraging! I’m glad it brought you new perspective, too!

  • Amen! Just now doing this day. Thank you for writing this! So so beautiful and on point. Challenging and encouraging to me.

  • Man, this devotion spoke so clear to me today–on point! I love this part, "what I do is because of who I am; it doesn't make me who I am." The Lord has been speaking to me about why I do His work. Honestly, many time when He has me to do something, I do it with a since of obligation, especially when it is something that it uncomfortable. My immediate though and heart going into it is .."let me get this over with." How sad & wrong! I feel, many times, I miss the point of WHY the Lord was asking me to do it. I miss the beauty of truly reflecting His love and sharing His heart for people. So, to take it a step even further with this quote, I am reminded that I I do things with LOVE because of I am. Pray for me, sisters–to walk in the power & love of the Holy Spirit, as God commands in 2 Timothy 1:7.

  • Our redeemed purpose is to know God, to be his people, and to do His work. AMEN!!!

  • I grew up in the church and I need to remind myself my identity is in Christ, not the politics of church. This was so awesome to read. Thank you.

  • I so needed this. I’m a light in a very dark place at work – but I struggle to be like Christ all the time there. It’s not a great work environment and it’s so easy for me to get pulled into a wrong attitude or gossip. I know the Lord has me there for a purpose – could use some prayers o stand strong and do my job to glorify Him! So blessed by SRT.

  • I can’t help but laugh while I rejoice in this! This summer has been a season of waiting for me, and I’ve often found myself struggling to understand why I’ve needed to wait. I’ve prayed for direction. For PURPOSE! And here it is, laid out in black and white. I have a new prayer now… take me Lord to where I can know and glorify you!

  • I needed this today… Now to act on it!

  • Meredith

    I’m tired of just looking at the ocean. Here is to jumping in and truly experiencing all the joy!!

  • Christina Soukup

    “Our redeemed purpose is to know God, to be his people, and to do His work.” I loved this. Thank you!

  • Katie Walder

    Love this! It’s time to jump in and start swimming :)

  • Antimony

    Knowing vs. Being. One is easy and “sterile”. It doesn’t require involvement. The other is intimate, messy, complicated. I’m a nurse. In nursing school I learned all about bodies, organs, diseases, treatments, etc. I learned how to give meds, put bandages on, treat illness. But nursing is so much more than that. I didn’t just learn to “know” something. I learned how to “be” a nurse. Makes so much sense in this setting!! But applying it to a relationship with God …

  • Kasey Summers

    This is so so good! I am a daughter of THE King therefore that is why I do what I do. It’s not I work to be a daughter of the King. I already am. My life is an expression of my gratefulness, not striving to be good enough. I did NOTHING to deserve my salvation. Jesus did it all. For us to desire to take credit for our salvation… even some… is to diminish what Christ did on the cross. He did it all and He deserves ALL the glory!!! Psalm 29:2 Psalm 115:1

  • Sarah York

    beautifully said. thank you for sharing!

  • its not what I do that makes me who I am, its who Jesus has made me into that causes me to do what I do. .

  • D.Anunda

    Yessss! I love love love this! The metaphors and quotes made it easy to see Jesus and ourselves in light of Him. Yes

  • It really is how funny how God works sometimes. This devotional came at the exact time I needed it. I have been struggling with making a huge decision about my future career. I have drawn very near to God these past few months and I have come alive in the scripture. I am praying to him with an obedient heart asking him to use me to serve others. I have two roads to choose from ahead of me and I am not sure which road God wants me to take. He has been so generous to open us two doors but I need his wisdom to choose the path he has set out for me. I come to all of you asking for your prayers.

  • Our chief end is to glorify AND enjoy God forever!
    It can be easy to overlook the enjoyment part, but it is SO important!
    We can glorify as a work or discipline but it is SO much richer (and more fun!) when we do so with great enjoyment!
    "The JOY of the Lord is my strength! " Let's glorify God and enjoy God forever!!!

  • Stephanie Garey

    So so so good!! It brought clarity to a few things I have been wrestling with! I chuckled at your wish list because mine is EXACTLY the same! Thanks for sharing!

  • Lauren Forde

    Oh to really know this! A frequent prayer I beg for is to really deeply know His love for me. I reach. I grasp. I strive. I know it in my head, being ‘saved by grace’ is engraved in my brain, but I want – I NEED – it to be engraved in my heart; to know it in my soul. I really loved the message version of Ephesians 2:7-10 “Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish!” … “You are no longer strangers or outsiders. You BELONG here…” He embraced us, made us alive, brought us near, gave us a place to belong and it was all His idea! He wanted to do it. He was pleased to do it. I truly look at the ocean and know it, but oh how I long to jump in and swim. To be pulled in, consumed, in over my head. Today’s study was good for my soul.

  • Love that last metaphor. Jumping in the ocean and submerging myself in the cool water of salvation this hot August morning.

  • Even if I don’t want to do something, I need to do it for the Lord. Even if it’s hard, the Lord has a plan. But I am a Christian not because of what I do, but because of who I am in Christ as I do those things. Help me be the bride of Christ. Help me swim in your ocean of grace instead of merely gazing at it.

  • A PEACH IN ITALY

    I love this: "One is looking at the ocean and knowing about it, the other is jumping in and swimming."

    I'm an ocean girl. I love the waves. I make a point to go to the beach at least once a month to refresh. I feel God the most here. I usually just grab my bible, pop up a beach chair and enjoy reading at the beach with the sound of the waves crashing in the background. Every now and then I'll pop off my flip flops and walk the shore listening to worship music, feeling the sand and ice cold water in between my toes. I can spend HOURS doing this and I come back feeling so relaxed. I call these my introvert days.

    During one of my beach trips, God called me to go sea kayaking. It was wonderful. To interact with the ocean, to feel the waves underneath you, feel the water spraying your face and see the sea life around you was amazing. It took my beach days to a whole new level.

    I think that's how I view my walk with God. I used to be just an observer, taking in what I learned from church/ bible studies and limiting my relationship with him to just that. It was nice, pretty, but I didn't really KNOW Him. Then events happened in my life that caused me to actively seek Him for myself. Ladies it's the most beautiful thing. To actively know Him. To talk and interact with Him. To surrender myself and put my trust in Him.

  • What a great reminder to me this morning. I slept in late and jumped up remembering all the things that I have to do today and I dragged myself out of bed. I looked at my phone and was delighted to see this devotional. I am so happy and thankful to know that the Lord has always had a purpose for me. 1 Peter 2:9 and Ephesians 2:1-10 are some of my favourite passages of Scripture. Just knowing who I was before and who I am now because I have been saved by grace through faith is just a comforting and amazing feeling. I no longer have to feel like I am worthless or have no hope in this world. This summer has been a challenging season for me as I accepted a summer job that was way out of my comfort zone. But it is through this job that I have grown and seen how God has worked in me, allowed me to grow and really just see His purpose for my life. "I am a Christian not because of what I do, but because of who I am in Christ". Amen.

  • Thanks for sharing, Beverly! This too has been the cry of my heart for some time now. Praying for you; have a great day!

    • Beverly

      I intimately understand the weight of this struggle. Saying a prayer for you too, Nikki!

  • How amazing is it that God not only saved us, but that He gives us the opportunity to take part in His purposes! Because of our new status in Christ (His righteousness transferred to us), we can know and experience working for the kingdom. “I can glorify God by doing excellent work with a good heart.”
    Jonathan Edwards used to say it well-“Lord, stamp eternity on my eyeballs.” My we be people who have our gaze fixed on the horizon of eternity so we can see our work for what it really is–worship. “Proclaiming the excellencies of Him who called you out if darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:17

  • What power, and freedom! Then in my humanness I can ask is this attitude or thing I am doing going to bring glory to God? If it is, so great , but if it isn't I can look at my Lord and get back to the One point of reference. Such amazing FREEDOM. Glory to God for His grace and mercy. Redemption
    for attitudes and actions.

  • Leenda324

    Looking at the ocean v. jumping in and swimming…maybe the greatest metaphor for the Christian life EVER!!!

  • This just confirms my life motto: That everything can be done as an act of worship to God. I just have to do it to the best of my ability and with the right heart.

    • Sarah

      Yes!!! That is what I should always think of. Everything can be done as an act of worship to God. Everything.

  • Love It!

  • "Our redeemed purpose is to know God, to be his people, and to do his work." Yes. In that order. So often, I strive to 'do His work' first. For me, to do and be visible is so comfortable. To know and be still and trust and believe-that is harder. I pray to know-to know that God is a God of love. Who loves me. I lift up my doubts, my unbelief. My desire to control. And I lay down my anxieties-I pray that the Holy Spirit chips away at each and leaves me with pure, personal faith and a knowledge and love of God. Big prayer. Big fears. But bigger God:)

    • Jess

      Yes! Amen.

    • Cindy J

      yes. ..exactly! control. … no Grace in it. .. praying right along with you Sarah and Jess! Jesus send your Spirit to melt our hearts for more of you and less of self! praise your name and let it all be for your glory!

  • Caroline @ In due time

    I am a Christian not because of what I do, but because of who I am in Christ.

    So good! Yes!!!!!!!

    http://Www.in-due-time.com

  • There are so many distractions in this life! My husband is going through an extremely difficult time with his job and health. I have eliminated the “extras” from our calendar for this fall so I can concentrate on protecting what little family time we have and make sure I am keeping up with my responsibilities in our home. As I clear away these things, all good things, I catch myself feeling like my purpose and value is decreasing. The real call upon my life is not how much I am doing for God but Who I am in Christ! What a fantastic word today to help me keep my focus on what my true purpose is.

  • I’m in a relationship (dating) right now that is really struggling. I’m at a loss with what to do in it, it’s hard to try and figure out what God is saying. Any advice is appreciated.

    • Sarah

      I pray that you seek God. Listen to whispers from Him. I pray that you receive comfort or guidance. It is a hard thing, to date. Praying for you, Hannah.

    • Lyle

      Hi, Hannah! I am praying for you right now! I have heard it said (and you may have, too) that finding direction for our lives comes from three sources: the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, and the counsel of godly believers. Listen to these three sources of wisdom as you seek God’s will for this relationship.

    • Alexis

      Hannah, make a list of what is good in the relationship and another list of what is not. If the things on the “not” list are more numerous, or sever or something you could not live with or related to your Christianity then you will have your answer. Pray before during and after. My prayers are with you.

    • Kristie W.

      Hannah, I completely agree with Lyle. Search the Word for His Promises to you, ask Him to put a godly mentor in your life who can speak honestly with you, and be willing to hear them out. Listen closely to what the Holy Spirit is saying; He is your helper (John 16:13). Stay in a place of humility & obedience to God at all times, He will never lead you into a place of trouble but will make your life even better than what you ever imagined it could be!

    • scootermae

      Hannah, I agree with searching scripture, praying and making a list. You mentioned how the relationship is struggling. That can mean many things and often times those things are a distraction from Christ. I am in a difficult marriage right now and we have struggled from day one. (We are both believers and yes Christian marriages can have huge struggles). However, I have some resources, etc I could share with you that really searches the heart and the components of relationships. If you are interested in emailing, contact me at [email protected]. I would be happy to share more.

  • Tina Everett

    This was amazing!!

  • Nailed it. Just exactly what I needed to hear from God today.

  • Yes! This spoke to me so much.

  • Amen and amen. Lord, help me know You, be Yours, and do Your will.

  • smithwendy62

    Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God….Amen

  • Kelly_Smith

    The wife analogy is spot on! I always have a hard time with the works/faith dance. At what point am I doing these Christian disciplines out of love and at what point is it out of obligation? The truth is, I don't always feel like doing laundry or listening to a long explanation about the history of The Eagles through the decades. But, I do it to maintain the relationship. Honestly, sleeping was more alluring to me this morning. I came to the table out of obligation, but also because I love to connect with God in these quiet moments. Nancy Leigh DeMoss says, "It is easier to breathe life into a dead routine than where there is no routine at all" (my paraphrase). "I am a Christian not because of what I do, but because of who I am in Christ." This is also true: I do what I do because of who I am in Christ. It works both ways. Sometimes your heart drives the action and sometimes your action drives your heart.

  • God is so funny & spot on. Before I even picked up my phone to read SRT, my morning devo, while still in bed, I had a zillion things on my to do list swirling in my head. Sadly, I am not sure this straightened out my list but it has given me a fresh way to look at it & a resolve to tackle it in a godly manner. May His light of grace (& humor) shine on you all today.

    • Angie

      It was the same for me this morning Sandy! I actually laughed as I began reading. His timing is perfect! Now on to accomplish that long list…

  • I’m getting ready to leave for my job as a teacher soon. I so want to be a servant to my students and not get too caught up in their behavior. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big one for respect and order but I need to remember that a mumble in the hall does not make them a bad student. I want to love and respect them so they want to love and respect me. Today Lord, help me remember Your lavish love for me and help me put my mind on loving well as worship for You and so those little ones see a glimpse of You and begin to understand how amazing they are.

    • Deb

      I am a teacher, too. Thank you for those words today, JennyBC! They were exactly what I was thinking, also.

      • Lacey

        Today is my first day back at my school, and I was thinking the same thing as I read this! In a broken system sometimes it’s difficult to “honor the king” but this was such a great reminder of our calling.

        • MNmomma (heather)

          I go back in a couple of weeks – and this reminder is soooo important! We have the gift of loving on these kiddos each day and being Jesus' hands and feet….not just with our kiddos, but co-workers too ;)

        • Amy

          Thank you, Lacey, for your words. I was broken as a teacher, but am returning this year with a joyful heart. I pray that I remember to honor the king and remember my calling.

    • Kristine

      This is my first year as a having special ed students in my class and I am already struggling, just one week in! I feel so unsupported. Thank you for this encouraging word. Lord, help me shine your light and love to my students. Help me see them as You do.

      • Danielle A

        My daughter is special needs. I know it’s demanding, but my husband and I are thankful for teachers like you. Keep up the great work.

    • Stacy

      I'm encouraged to see so many Christ loving teachers out there, will be praying for you as you start the school year. Thank you for the teaching and loving you do.

    • Amy

      I also teach, and return soon. I pray for you and your students.

  • I really like the quote from Martin Luther King Jr. "If your a street sweeper do it like Michael Angelo paints." "Whatever we do in word or deed do it all to the glory of God." Col.3:17 I like that reminder that what I do is to be for God's glory.

  • How wonderful to read this and to relate to it so perfectly . This spoke straight to my heart I think that’s why I love these devotionals so much as they are so relevant to me. Written by such amazing women. Thank you xx

  • Amen! To know Christ and to make Him known… that's our purpose. The desire to know Christ stems from an understanding of how much He loves us… and involves an active, intimate, ongoing relationship with God. As we draw closer to Him we grow more in love with Him, and we begin to make Him known to others – consciously or unconsciously through our words, behavior and our life. Know Christ AND make Him known – we cannot have one without the other… And may it all be motivated by love!

    • cjackson924

      Sheena I love this! I am apart of a campus ministry at my university and "To know Christ and to make Him known" was a phrase that we used quite often last year! It is so important to establish our routes and draw close to Him so we can show God's love to others. I love the passage in 1 Peter that describes how we should live our lives so that everyone knows we are God's children and can see him through our words and actions.

  • Kat Froderman

    Wow. I more than needed this. I need need need need NEEDED this. I need to read this devotional every day for a while.

  • Nicole Contreras

    this was wonderful

  • Alexis C.

    “Our redeemed purpose is to know God, to be his people, and to do His work.” Amen.

  • Rebecca, you hit the nail on the head when you said doing your husband's laundry isn't what makes you his wife, but you do his laundry because you love Him. So often we make obedience to God's commandments and living in grace an either/or proposition, but that's like saying I can love my husband in my heart, or do the laundry, but I can't do both. Being secure in our relationship with God frees us to obey Him from a place of love and delight.

    • SharonT

      This is my same thought, Hannah! Reading Rebecca's explanation help clarify how grace and obedience work together in one's life. It's a beautiful dance.

      • hannah

        Sharon I love that picture of the dance, with God leading. He take a step, and when we take a step in unity with Him, we get to enjoy the music on a whole different level. Thanks for writing that!

    • Pam B

      Beautifully said Hannah!

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