“God made you on purpose, for a purpose.”

That’s something I tell myself sometimes.

There are two clauses there, and they’re both really important.

  1. God made me on purpose.
  2. God made me for a purpose.

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Evangelists present the gospel differently in different cultural contexts. We see that in Paul’s ministry—he adapted his presentation of the gospel for Jewish, Roman, and Greek audiences. As long as we’re not manipulating the information or leaving inconvenient parts out, I see no problem with honoring our audience in the way we tell the story. That’s why the Bible includes four gospels.

Some people are especially aware of their guilt before God, so focusing on God’s atonement makes a lot of sense to them.

Some people are especially aware of supernatural influences in the world, so focusing on Jesus’s authority makes a lot of sense to them.

In the American church today, I think we see a lot of focus on purpose.

This makes sense. Many Americans struggle to believe that their lives have purpose. They struggle to believe in the American ideal of self-determinism, they don’t see their work as contributing to the greater whole, and many people don’t engage meaningfully in civic organizations. They’re just afloat.

Many Americans are asking the question, “why am I even here?”

It’s a good question, and one that the Bible answers.

I quote Ephesians 2:10 a lot. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

However, any incomplete presentation of the gospel runs the risk of creating the works-based religion of the Pharisees or the power-seeking religion of Simon the Sorcerer—if we forget this one all-important premise:

God loves you.

Before we get to right living, spiritual authority, God’s provision, purpose, or anything else (all of which have a Biblical basis), we must first believe that God loves us. Accepting any of those other premises without God’s love to trump them all is very slippery ground.

God made you on purpose. He wants you. Even if you die a moment after accepting Jesus as Lord, before you do any of that good stuff, God still wants you. He was after you from the beginning.

Before we get to “God created you for a purpose,” we must embrace, “God created you on purpose.”

Since the creation of the world He wanted you. He created you on purpose.

If we focus on what God wants us to do before we embrace God’s love, we’re in just as much danger of creating a works-based religion as anyone else.

If we jump straight to our for a purpose, we may very well end up trying to earn God’s love with our usefulness. We’re no different than a Christian who tries to earn God’s love with his good behavior, or a Christian who tries to prove his worthiness by the supernatural power he can display, or a Christian who bases his measure of God’s grace on the kind of car he drives.

God has a purpose for you. But that’s not why He made you.

God, in His great love and mercy, employs us in the Great Commission. But He doesn’t need us. He’ll be just fine all on His own. What effort, what skill, what labor can I add to God?

God made you on purpose, for a purpose. And in that order.

God loves you.

Just the way you are. With your current resume, even!

Yes, He has a better lifestyle for you. Yes, He has spiritual authority for you to step into. Yes, He will provide for your needs. And yes, He has a special purpose just for you. And you should eagerly work towards those things.

Strive for perfection even!

But let me tell you that I am sure that “neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

God loves you. Full stop. Will you choose to believe it?

I recommend it. As beliefs go, it’s a proven winner.

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