Our Purpose and God’s Voice

“Did you ever just know something?” I asked a missionary friend who had returned to the U.S. for a welcome respite. We were talking about the ways God speaks to people, and I was curious as to how he had experienced hearing God. “Yes,” he replied, “I do have that, and it’s growing in frequency the more I learn to discern the voice of the Spirit and the more I learn to try to keep in step with Him.” His was the testimony of relationship, for as we saw in last week’s post, we hear God as we draw near to Him. Over time, we open up more broadly, reveal ourselves more deeply, and grow in gratitude of this precious gift of friendship.

Yet there is order and purpose in our relationship with God, much like that of a parent and child. Hearing God then is also a matter of aligning with—and submitting to—His sovereignty. As my friend put it, we “keep in step with Him.” Jesus knew well His mission of submission: “to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work,”1 so to seek the Father’s direction, Jesus “often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”2 How do we know He heard the Father? We know it through His own words: “whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”3 We know it also through His deeds, for as He himself said, “I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.”4 Jesus sought God, Jesus heard God, and Jesus obeyed God.

So, what is our purpose; to what end might the Spirit speak to us? In his book, The Purpose Driven Life,5 Pastor Rick Warren posits five purposes for God’s people: we are planned for God’s pleasure, formed for God’s family, created to become like Christ, shaped for serving God, and made for a mission. In my mind, these five coalesce into one overarching life purpose—we are here to glorify God. Through Isaiah God cries out, “Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”6 Then when the Spirit speaks to us, we will recognize our purpose in His voice—to bring glory to God. Then may we “keep in step with Him” today.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth . . . He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me.—John 16:13-14 NLT

“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.”7

1 John 4:34
2 Luke 5:16
3 John 12:50
4 John 14:31
5 Rick Warren. The Purpose-Driven Life, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan).  
6 Isaiah 43:6-7
7 1 Chronicles 29:11 ESV

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