Consider these two lives …
Both were powerful men, prominent leaders, progressive change-makers who dramatically altered the course of world history. Both were exceptional orators … changing minds, hearts, and lives.
Both were heralded as heroes—literally impacting millions of people—their intentions becoming actions that sent ripple effects around the world. Both were motivated by a purpose and a plan, but each took a distinctly different course. The apostle Paul was motivated by a divine purpose … Adolf Hitler was motivated by a diabolical purpose.
Consider the contrast:
Paul’s purpose in life is best summed up in the words of Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” For Paul, all meaning in life was tied to one Person—his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. All his striving, struggling, and serving was for the glory of God. “Self” was sacrificed for the cause of Christ. Paul could remain strong through every trial he encountered because he knew the end of this temporal, physical life meant the beginning of an eternity in the very presence of Jesus.
Hitler, too, found all meaning in life tied to and wrapped up in one person—himself. “I shall become the greatest man in history,” said the infamous Fuhrer. “I have to gain immortality even if the whole German nation perishes in the process.”1 Hitler’s words of self-importance stand in stark contrast to God’s Word, “If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself” (Galatians 6:3).
Adolf Hitler sought to fulfill his purpose in life by serving his country as a corporal in World War I. Later he surrounded himself with a handful of like-minded men and became leader of the Nazi party. Emerging as a dominant political force, his influence soon became global, garnering him the title “Man of the Year” by Time Magazine in 1938.
Two lives with vastly different purposes!
Paul went on missionary journeys where he invited people to surrender their lives to Christ. Hitler occupied foreign territories where he forced people to surrender their lives to him.
Paul strove to bring life to the Jews. Hitler caused the death of six million Jews.2 Paul spread love. Hitler spread hate. Paul considered Jesus the Savior of the world. Hitler considered himself the savior of the world.
Paul’s purpose was to glorify God. Hitler’s purpose was to glorify himself. Paul died honorably as a martyr for the Lord. Hitler died dishonorably by the act of cowardly suicide.
God created each of us with the need for significance—to live out our God-given meaning and purpose in life. Yet we can look elsewhere—somewhere apart from God—to meet this need. Ironically, it’s easy to seek our purpose in life apart from the Source of life. The result, however, is that we seek in vain … for there is no purpose apart from the Giver of purpose.
The moment we choose to receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior—entrusting our lives to Him—He gives us His power to live with a purpose. This purpose is made clear through:
- Discerning the spiritual purposes of your life: to be conformed to the character of Christ and to bring glory to God. “Those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son” (Romans 8:29).
- Discovering the specific earthly purposes God has for your life and the gifts He gave you to help you achieve them. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10).
- Defining the essential goals that will help you achieve your purposes … goals that are specific, reachable, beneficial to others, and in line with the will of God. “So we make it our goal to please him” (2 Corinthians 5:9).
God carefully and consciously orchestrates our lives to bring us to particular places … at particular times … for particular purposes … so He can use us to make particular contributions to His kingdom.
With seven billion people on planet Earth, you may still be asking, “Can one life—my life—really make a difference?” The answer is a resounding yes! God made you purposely. You are part of His great master plan. No one who has ever lived, is living now, or will ever live can accomplish your unique purpose. The Bible makes this point clear, “The plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations” (Psalm 33:11). Decide now to make your life count—to live out God’s purpose for you!
Yours in the Lord’s hope,
“‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11)
When we do what God has called us to do, we are living for His purposes. As we commemorate Memorial Day this month, we remember that one of life’s most noble purposes is protecting the freedoms God has so graciously granted us here in the United States of America. Many men and women in our Armed Forces paid a high price to protect our personal and religious freedoms, and did so with a great sense of purpose to this calling.
During this time, we also remember loved ones who lived their lives purposefully … seeking God’s guidance in a manner that inspires us to live a Christ-centered life. We invite you to consider making a gift in memory of … or in honor of someone who has brought God’s hope into your life. Your support provides an opportunity to show your gratitude for your loved one … while helping us help others.
Our mission at Hope For The Heart is to help those who are hurting find biblical answers to challenges that stand in their way of being all that God desires. Gifts of any amount are deeply appreciated. This month, we are excited to invite you to join our new Monthly Giving Partners program. Your systematic monthly giving will allow us to best prepare for opportunities that God has placed in our path. Please join with us as we move forward in faith, knowing God is at work—bringing healing and comfort to those searching for hope!
Yours in Christ,
Director of Donor Relations
If you’re on Facebook, I invite you to connect with me at Facebook.com/June.Hunt.Hope. And if you’re not, take it from me: You’re never too old to start! See you there!