This week’s installment of Peace in the Storm continues on the theme of contentment. While there are several factors that can affect our feeling of contentment or discontentment with our lives, in my experience, one of the greatest is whether or not we feel like we are fulfilling our purpose in life.
Specifically, it seems to me there are two struggles we face in pursuit of our purpose: either (1) we don’t know what our purpose is, and we feel like we’re just wandering through life, hoping to figure it out at some point, or (2) we feel like we know what our purpose is, but we’re stuck in the mud and we just can’t get to “that place” where we’re supposed to be. Both are extremely frustrating and yield no peace in our lives.
In just eight verses from the apostle Paul, found in Romans 12, both of those issues are addressed. Not only does Paul sum up what our purpose is, but he also reminds us that this purpose can be fulfilled right where we are, right now.
Here are the verses:
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.
As God’s messenger, I give each of you this warning: Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are all parts of his one body, and each of us has different work to do. And since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others.
God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out when you have faith that God is speaking through you. If your gift is that of serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, do a good job of teaching. If your gift is to encourage others, do it! If you have money, share it generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
Romans 12:1-8 (New Living Translation)
So there is the foundation of our purpose: be a living and holy sacrifice to God. We tend to be looking for something more complicated, don’t we? But in truth, all God asks is that we give ourselves back to Him. (After all, all we are and all we have are from Him in the first place.) If we will entrust our lives back into His hands, then God (it’s important that we recognize Him as the operator) will transform us into the individuals He made us to be, and we can enjoy the experience of His good and perfect will naturally unfolding in our lives.
That is His purpose for you and for me. In it, we can be content.