To some people life is like a movie. Some live life as though it is a big drama. Some think it is a comedy. Some people’s lives are action adventure, and some lives are horror movies. To others, life is like a roller coaster with giant highs and deep lows, but lots of thrills along the way. Some people view life as a three-ring circus. Some people walk through life as if it is a minefield, trying their best not to get blown up along the way. Others view it as a game of cards, trying to play the hand they are dealt and learning when to fold them and when to hold them. To others, life is a giant puzzle. To some it is a dance, and others see it as a symphony.
If you can understand how you view your life, you can better understand the things that are influencing your life, such as your expectations, your values, your relationships, your goals, and your priorities. If you see life as one big party, then your focus will be on having fun.
If you view life as an Olympic game, each game will cause you to see life differently. If it is a marathon race, you will value endurance. If you see it as a 100 meter dash, you will value speed and always be in a hurry. If life is a boxing match, you will fight your way from the cradle to the grave. If you view life as a game, you will value winning above all else. I know some people who think that they have to win at everything or they are not happy.
In Rick Warren’s bestselling book, The Purpose Driven Life, he clearly states that the Bible offers three metaphors that teach us God’s view of our lives here on earth. Life is a test, a trust, and a temporary assignment. Many of the thoughts shared in this blog are from this book. I recommend that you read this book, for it will be helpful in your relationship with God.
Life on Earth Is a Test. The Bible is full of stories where God tested different people’s character, integrity, faith, obedience, loyalty, and love. Words like trials, testing, temptations, and refining are in the Bible a multitude of times. Many passed their various tests with flying colors, such as Abraham, Daniel, Joseph, Esther, and Ruth, while many others failed miserably.
When we understand that life is a test, then we come to understand that every little situation we face is a test of some kind. God wants to see how we will choose in each situation we encounter in this life. Rick Warren states in his book that “we will be tested by major changes, delayed promises, impossible problems, unanswered prayers, undeserved criticism, and even senseless tragedies”. Personally, God tests my faith through problems, my hope by how I handle possessions, and my love through people.
When we understand that life is a test, we realize that nothing is insignificant in our lives. Even the smallest incident has eternal significance and is here to help develop our character.
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. James 1:12
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. I Peter 4:12,13
Life on Earth Is a Trust. The second Biblical metaphor is that our time here on earth is a trust. Our time, energy, intelligence, opportunities, relationships, resources, talents and money are all gifts from God that He entrusts to our care and management. We do not own anything, but we are simply to be good stewards of whatever God gives us to manage for Him. To understand that we own nothing and that God owns everything is a great truth that all Christians need to embrace.
We may have a deed to the land on which our home sits, but when we die someone else will immediately take possession. Even our cars have our names on the title; but, again, as soon as our soul and spirit leave our body, the car will belong to someone else. We think that our children are ‘our children’, but the truth is that they belong to God, for He had them long before we did. God has simply entrusted them into our care to raise them, to love them, and to help bring them up in the way of God.
Everything matters to God, even the little things. How we manage things here on earth is important. Every little choice has eternal significance. In the parable of the talents, a businessman entrusts his wealth to the care of his servants while he is away. When he returns, he evaluates each servant's responsibility and rewards each accordingly, implying that our LORD will do the same with us when He returns.
His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Matthew 25:21
At the end of our life, we will face our Creator and give an account of how well we handled what God entrusted to our care and management. That means that every little thing we do in life has eternal implications. Every dollar we spend matters to God. Are we going to use our money in obedience to the Holy Spirit? Or, are we going to use it for our own selfish pleasures? Whatever we have been given by God that is entrusted to our care needs to be managed in a way that is pleasing to the LORD. We should be good stewards of everything He has given us. Consequently, for those that have been given much, much more will be required of them.
And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished. But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required. Luke 12:47,48 NLT
Life on Earth Is a Temporary Assignment. The third Biblical metaphor that Rick Warren points out to us is that life is so very brief and that this world is not our home. We may have a mission here on earth, but it is a temporary one at best. In three weeks, I will turn 55 years old, and it literally seems like yesterday that I was just 15, planning my future. As the saying goes, time flies when you are having fun. I could change that to say, time flies whether you are having fun or not.
How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. James 4:14 NLT
Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered, how fleeting my life is. Psalm 39:4 NLT
As I walk through this life on planet earth, I like to remind myself that my body is simply my “earth suit.” It is carrying my eternal spirit and soul around on the earth. I know that my spirit and soul existed long before I ever came into this body, and it is a certainty that my spirit and soul will go into eternity when my body drops dead. My body will be buried in the ground, but my soul and spirit are destined for eternity. I think we all are somewhat aware of this, because God has put eternity in the heart of each of us.
Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11 NLT
This is why earthly, temporal things cannot and will not ever satisfy the heart of man. No matter how hard we try to make this world our home, we are never rooted and grounded here on this earth. We never quite fit in or feel as though we are home.
In the book of Hebrews, chapter 11, there is a fascinating list of heroes of the faith. The list begins with Abel, Enoch, Noah, and then Abraham. These men knew that this world was not their home, but they were just strangers and pilgrims passing through.
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. Hebrews 11:13
It would serve us well to never fall in love with this world so much that we begin to think that this is really our home, because it is only a very temporary home at best. I will never feel at home on earth, because I know that I am only here for a test, a trust, and a temporary assignment.
Ok, we have established the fact that life is a test, a trust, and is very temporary. But what is our assignment? Well, we all have a common purpose and mission, and that is to love, serve, and obey our Creator. We are to give Him all glory, honor, and pleasure. We were created by God and for God's purpose and pleasure.
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:11
Our purpose here on this earth is to know God and to make Him known. We can only do this through a relationship with Jesus Christ. As we receive the grace of the Lord Jesus into our life, then we can become a new person, as Jesus will come to reside in our heart. Then through His grace and by His power, we can use our time on earth to give Him the glory, honor, and obedience that He deserves. We can spend our time and our resources giving Him pleasure instead of seeking our own pleasure. This is everyone’s general purpose and assignment—to give Jesus all the glory and honor and pleasure of our life.
Furthermore, we all have individual assignments and missions. He created us all uniquely different, as we are all one-of-a-kind. We all have different abilities, talents, and gifts. Therefore, we are all called to specific ministries and assignments from God. In our DNA, we all have a mission or an assignment already programed into our being. God's master plan for our life is written in our genetic code. To live a full, rewarding, and satisfying life, we need to discover exactly what God has called us to do. We can begin to discover our specific assignment by finding out what we are passionate about and what gifts we have been given by God.
The nature of the Holy Spirit is fire, and His fire of passion will burn in your heart toward the things that you are created to do. Some people never discover their passions, and they work a job that they hate for most of their lives. When you are passionate about your work, then work is a joy and a pleasure. Doing what you are created to do becomes fun and exciting when you have a burning desire to accomplish your God-given assignment.
The second issue is to find what you are gifted to do. We shouldn’t do things that we are not good at doing. Instead, find out where God has gifted you and focus on doing the thing that you are good at doing. So to discover your specific assignment, ask yourself: ‘What am I passionate about? And what am I good at doing?’ For example, I am passionate about golf, but I am not a good golfer. So it would be foolish for me to decide that I am going to work toward becoming a professional golfer. Just because I am passionate about something doesn’t mean than I am good at it, nor does it mean that God wants me to pursue a career in the thing I am passionate about. I personally believe that you need a passion for something, and you also need to be gifted in that area, before you can discover what it is that God is calling you to do.
In order to be happy and fulfilled in life, it is important to do what God has assigned you to do. We are to grow in our relationship with God to the point where we can hear His voice and obey what He asks each of us to do each and every day while we are on this earth. Hearing His voice is the best way of discovering your God-given assignment. However, you must learn to hear His voice and to make sure that you are not hearing the voice of the enemy.
The main point is to keep an eternal perspective and be constantly aware that life is very temporary and that each and every little choice we make is important to God and has eternal significance.
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. II Corinthians 4:18
Life is a test, a trust and a temporary assignment.