From Our Hearts to Yours
It’s difficult for us as Christian women to know our purpose. There are so many voices shouting at us, suggesting all kinds of goals for us. But God’s Word rises majestically above the clamor, and the good news is that God doesn’t ask a thousand or even a hundred things of His women.
He only asks us to focus on ten essential things that help us fulfill His grand purpose for us as women who love Him, who love and serve others, and who reflect Him to the world. His list, found in Titus 2:3-5, contains these essentials on which to focus our time and energies:
- Be godly in your behavior.
- Be truthful and kind in your speech.
- Be disciplined and self-controlled.
- Be devoted to your husband.
- Be devoted to your children.
- Be discreet and wise in your actions.
- Be chaste and pure inside and out.
- Be focused on your home.
- Be kind and good to all.
- Be a teacher/encourager of good things.
It’s profoundly liberating to know your purpose in life. And, from this list it’s not as mysterious as we might think. To drift aimlessly through your precious days is tiresome, frustrating, and unrewarding. It would be a great tragedy to wake up one day and realize all you could have accomplished if you had focused on some worthy goals along the way. You may already be living in your purpose, and sensing God leading you in specific arenas to display Him. If so, focus your time and energies on it.
But if you’re a little behind or uncertain, spend time examining Jesus’ life. Pay close attention to His focus and confidence as He lived God’s purpose on a daily basis. Notice how He fixed His gaze on God’s plan for Him. And be encouraged! As a woman who is seeking God’s plan, you are already evidencing purpose. You are reflecting Jesus as you live out His instructions to “seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33).
Make 2013 the best year ever for your marriage!
Elizabeth and Jim just released their new book, “A Couple After God’s Own Heart,” which teaches secrets to a great marriage by learning from biblical couples, such as Abraham and Sarah, Boaz and Ruth, Joseph and Mary, etc. Get started by taking their fun free challenge, “5 Ways in 5 Days to be a Closer Couple.
The New Year is a great time to take a long look in the mirror. As you pause to consider your heart, ask: Do I want my life to make a difference? Do I want to live for God? Do I desire to positively influence those in my family, my circle of friends, my church, my workplace, and my community? If so, then following Jesus’ example and living a focused and disciplined life is the answer and the way. To reflect Jesus and live out His purposes, embrace discipline as an essential element.
Don’t be like Eve, who failed to follow God because of a lack of self-control. She focused on what she did not have and her doubts of God, rather than His commands and provision (Genesis 3).
Instead, as women after God’s own heart, we can follow the Old Testament account of Abigail as an excellent example. Take time to read her lesser known story today in I Samuel 25. Abigail faced frightening circumstances and a disobedient husband, yet her reactions were defined by a razor-like focus – a focus on gratefulness, a disciplined life, and heed to God’s wisdom. She modeled for us wisdom in both word and deed.
You also can be a walking model of the disciplined behavior as you seek God’s guidance and wisdom each day.
A Prayer to Pray: Lord Jesus, May I seek to live a pure life, full of your wisdom. Help me to be devoted to walking by Your Spirit. May self-control and selflessness become a reigning quality in my life so You are glorified. Amen.
Make 2013 the best year ever for your marriage!
Elizabeth and Jim just released their new book, “A Couple After God’s Own Heart,” which teaches secrets to a great marriage by learning from biblical couples, such as Abraham and Sarah, Boaz and Ruth, Joseph and Mary, etc. Get started by taking their fun free challenge, “5 Ways in 5 Days to be a Closer Couple.”
We are often distracted from a focused purpose by daily concerns. But, think about it. If God has placed a purpose before you, He will be faithful to grant you His provision to progress in this purpose. Paul wrote that “God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). If Jesus is your personal Savior, you, along with all believers, have this promise of provision for all your real needs. You can always count on God to supply all that is required to sustain you.
Let’s look at a simple list of God’s purpose for us in Galatians 5:22-23, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…” Don’t we all hope to exhibit such character and obedience to God?
But, let’s face it, most of the times we stray from this standard because of sinful attitudes and reactions, not mere distraction. God knows sin can hinder the fulfillment of that plan. He has also made provision for you and me in the area of sin and temptation. As the apostle Paul explains, “God is faithful; he will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). And, best of all God has provided us with His ultimate approval and the removal of our sin condition through Jesus Christ. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)
Let this truth refresh your heart! God will not always remove your temptations because they make your faith in Him stronger as you resist. However, He does promise to keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up under it. Whatever you do, don’t try to deal with your temptations alone. Through prayer, the assistance of God’s Word, and support from others, God provides the way for you to remain faithful when you are tempted. Count on it!
In addition, the fruit of the spirit is just that — a birthing of righteousness in our lives sourced from His power, similar to the fruit born from a tree. What magnificent promises of provision! He has a purpose for you, and you can move toward fulfilling it without fear or anxiety because of His guaranteed 100 percent provision – for all your needs. Whatever your need is today, whether it’s financial, physical, emotional, or spiritual, boldly take that need to God. Then stand back and behold as the Father helps birth in you the spiritual fruit purpose by supplying all your needs according to His riches in glory by and because of His Son, Jesus.
A Prayer to Pray: Jesus, I trust and thank you for your payment for my sin condition. Help me also to trust in your provision for temptations that pull me from the abundant life you have planned for me. May I look out and believe that you always provide an escape that benefits me and those around me.
Find more encouragement to follow in Jesus’ footsteps in my book, A Woman Who Reflects the Heart of Jesus.
We are at the cusp of a New Year filled with the potential for new highs and lows, new joys and new fears. If we take time to read through the Gospels, we cannot miss an important lesson in how Jesus prepared for a new season of His time on earth. Jesus made it His habit to pray before important events and about important decisions in His life. For instance…
Jesus prayed as He began His ministry—Jesus’ baptism was a significant milestone in His life. It heralded the beginning of His public ministry. How did He approach this momentous occasion? We find Him offering up His first recorded instance of prayer:
“When all the people were baptized… Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended” (Luke 3:21-22).
Whatever work God has given you to do pales in comparison to what Jesus did. Nevertheless, it is your ministry (see 1 Corinthians 12:7, 11, 18). And your ministry merits— and requires—your prayers.
Jesus prayed as He chose His disciples—Jesus had many followers, but He desired to choose 12 as leaders, as apostles, as “sent ones.” These men would be given special authority to deliver His message to the world. Their selection would mark the beginning of the focused training of 12 men who would take the gospel to the ends of the earth. This was definitely a historic occasion. How would Jesus choose from all those who followed Him? Again, prayer was His answer:
“He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day… He chose twelve whom He also named apostles” (Luke 6:12-13).
Jesus prayed before going to the cross—In this last scenario, Jesus’ time on earth was coming to a close. His time of training His disciples was also over. He knew His death on the cross was ahead of Him, and He knew its implications for all mankind. So He moved with His disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane, His customary place of prayer, to pray. His impending crucifixion would be excruciatingly painful and difficult, and His soul was in agony.
The Lord’s anguish had little to do with fear of the physical torture of the cross or even His death. No, He was sorrowful because the full cup of divine judgment against sin would soon be His to drink. How did Jesus handle this horrendous situation?
“He… fell on His face, and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me'” (Matthew 26:39). And, as He prayed a second and a third time, His prayers changed to reflect the powerful strength of His resolve: “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done” (verse 42).
You and I will never know or experience anything like Jesus did as He prepared for, faced, and endured death on a cross. But we do suffer—physical pain, emotional pain, lacks in our lives, difficult circumstances, challenging relationships, an uncertain future and more! To prepare for, face, and endure life’s challenges, you know what you need to do—pray!
Jesus shows you and all Christians the importance of praying when you need to make decisions and gain direction for your life. He prayed when He had to make an important decision or a special or trying occasion presented itself. His habit of prayer teaches us how to tap into God’s power and grace, too. Jesus’ desire was to follow the Father’s will completely, and prayer was a vital part of His decision-making. The same is true for you as you seek to do God’s will.
As you think about your life and the New Year ahead, what important event is about to occur? What guidance do you need for your future, or a child’s future? What strength is lacking for an impossible but necessary decision? Follow the Lord’s example and, like Him, pray. God has given you an effective resource in prayer. As one of my favorite prayer verses bids:
“Let us… come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
God bless you and keep you as you pray for God’s will for you in this New Year!
If consistent and powerful prayer is missing from your life, visit the Free Resources section of our website for the simple guide, “Prayer for Living after God’s Own Heart.” You will find deeper study in my book, The Heart of A Woman Who Prays.