“As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”1 Peter 2:4-5
I was picking up my girls the other day from Grandma and Grandpa’s house, and they had part of a toy on their table that nobody could figure out what set of toys it belonged to. On its own, it was just a weird looking piece of plastic. Without knowing the other toys it belonged with, its purpose was a mystery.
The same is actually true of individual Christians trying to find purpose on their own. Apart from the church, you will never fully understand what God created you for.
Purposed to Proclaim
Peter writes about purpose in 1 Peter 2. “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4-5)
Rejected living stones that God finds precious and selects for a purpose – to build them into a spiritual house.
You can’t make a house with one individual stone. Until that stone understands that they are to be part of a house, its purpose, context, and existence will be a confusing mystery. The same is true of us.
Later in verse 9, Peter continues with one of the great purpose passages in all of Scripture. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
We are purposed to proclaim God’s glory.
And we do so as a race. A priesthood. A nation. A people. All singular things made of many people together. God’s individual purposes for each of us cannot be understood apart from his purpose for the church together.
The Crushing and Contradictory Mantra of Our Culture
A common mantra of our hyper-individualistic society is, “You do you.” In other words, find your identity, purpose, and value in whatever you want. But what our culture thinks is liberating advice is actually unbearably crushing and contradictory.
It’s crushing because our shoulders are not meant to carry the weight of determining our own reason for existing. We didn’t create ourselves. We need our Creator to reveal our purpose to us. Often “you do you” just sadly deepens purposelessness, hopelessness, and loneliness as people struggle to find any purpose for their lives beyond themselves.
But the mantra of “you do you” is also contradictory. On one hand, elements of our society teach that all of creation is just random. Everything that exists just evolved randomly, they say. There is no creator.
If that’s what they believe, how can anyone possibly determine their own reason for existence if at the same time we’re taught that all of life just exists randomly? How can we simultaneously be taught that nothing has purpose, yet then be told we need to discover our own purpose?
But we have a God who is our creator and infused us with purpose before time began. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
Your life isn’t random. You are created for a purpose. And that purpose is found among the people who God has redeemed and is forming for himself.
We can’t understand our individual purpose in life apart from God’s larger purpose of creating a people to worship and proclaim him to the world. Pursuing our individual purpose apart from God’s purpose of creating and forming a people will always leave something out of place in our lives.
Living Our Purpose Together at Rock Haven
This is why in the months ahead at Rock Haven Church Montevideo, we’re going to be focusing on this idea of “Living Our Purpose Together.” In particular, we’ll talk about three components of this idea:
- Living – The purpose God has for us incorporates all areas of our lives. We can’t live lives of purpose by living divided lives where we think we have one purpose on Sunday and a different purpose the rest of the week. God’s purpose is for us to live wholly integrated lives where every area of our life speaks to the transforming work he is doing in and through us.
- Purpose – God’s purpose for his church (or at least my summary of it) is to proclaim, reflect, and multiply the love, grace, and truth of Jesus Christ to each other and to the world. We’ll talk in more detail about how this gets worked out practically in our daily lives.
- Together – As I’ve talked about above, our purpose can’t be lived out apart from the community of believers. We’ll talk about how our purpose determines how we should treat one another. And we’ll talk about how our purpose moves us as a community – together – toward the hurting, lost, lonely, and forgotten in society.
If purpose is something you’re wrestling with – maybe you’ve doubted God has a purpose for your life, or maybe it’s something you’ve never thought about – I’d invite you to come along with us at Rock Haven Montevideo as we learn about living God’s purpose for us together. I’ll share some posts about this in the months ahead and we’ll also share more content at our Facebook page.
You can come to God and know that you are chosen and precious in his sight. Your life has purpose. And that purpose will only be fully understood in community with God’s people.
Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash