I think I have heard the phrase “God has a purpose for your life” 1453 times in my life. It’s a pretty common phrase. God does have wonderful purposes for our lives. He didn’t just save us so we could have a “Get Out of Jail Free” card and float up to heaven when we’re done with this life.
There is more to just knowing God has a plan for my life. I believe that it is imperative to take steps to posture our heart for His purposes. What does that mean? It is to position our mind, will, attitudes, emotions, under the dominion and authority of Jesus Christ. I want to share with you three ways to do this from the wonderful book of Nehemiah.
The Word of God
All the people assembled with a unified purpose…They asked Ezra the scribe to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had given to obey…He faced the square just inside the Water Gate from early morning until noon and read aloud to everyone who could understand. All the people listened to the Book of the Law.
The word of God is truth. I talk about it a lot. Why? Because Jesus said that you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. If you want to position your heart for God’s purposes then you must align your heart to His word. You have to literally ask yourself, is this area of my life lining up to what God says? If you don’t read the bible consistently then how are you going to know what God is saying? The Israelites got serious and listened to the word closely for hours as Ezra read it to them. God told Joshua “Do not let this book of law depart from your mouth.” Are you reading the word of God diligently? Do you feel like your time in the bible is quality or are you just skimming chapters? Focus on the word!
Humble Yourself and Confess Your Sin
On October 31st the people assembled again, and this time they fasted and dressed in Burlap and sprinkled dust on their heads. Those of Israelite descent separated themselves from all foreigners as they confessed their own sins and the sins of their ancestors.
You know why Christians struggle? Why they stay addicted to certain types of sin? They don’t repent enough. In says in James 5 to confess your sins to your brother so that you can receive your healing. Repentance is not just saying you’re sorry. It literally means to turn to God. It’s devotional. When you seek Jesus and come into His presence you will be exposed. His heavenly light will illuminate the dark areas of our life. When that happens we must repent of those dark corners and turn to Him. Humility is the fuel for the sanctifying fire of God. Dressing in burlap, and sprinkling dust on your head was a sign of brokenness and humility in those days. To walk in the purposes of God you must humble yourself, confess your sin, and walk in holiness and purity.
The Vow of the People…Faithfulness
They swore a curse on themselves if they failed to obey the Law of God as issued by his servant Moses. They solemnly promised to carefully follow all the commands, regulations, and decrees of the Lord
Unwavering commitment. Not just from the leaders, but from all the people. The exiles entered into an oath to carefully follow God’s commands. When you carefully do something it means that you put attention to detail. You put your time and energy into making a quality effort. It’s hard to be nonchalant or lackadaisical when you’re trying to carefully do something. Pastor Russ preached a great message on diligence being about our quality of effort. The passage later says that they swore to obey all of God’s regulations and decrees. I’ve seen people at times cherry pick what they want to obey in the bible. Whatever is convenient. They’ll obey God as long as that obedience does not infringe on their happiness. We can’t do that. We have to make a decision to make Jesus King in every area of our life.
When we consistently meditate on the word of God, humble ourselves confess our sin, and commit to God in radical obedience, we take drastic steps in posturing our hearts for his purpose. In chapter 11 we read that the people occupied Jerusalem. Essentially they began to walk in the purpose that God had for them, but remember what came first. The word, humility and confession, and faithfulness. If we are to accomplish the purposes that God has for us we must walk in the ways the people did in Jerusalem during Nehemiah’s rule.
I’m Harold Dorrell Briscoe. Thanks for reading.