PJ’s Daily Devotional for Wednesday, January 25, 2017.
The reasons behind a person’s actions matter. Would you agree that it is not always what you do that matters the most, but why you did it? I believe this a reality that is reflected in so many areas of our life and culture. One common example from a court of law is the difference between involuntary manslaughter and premeditated murder. The motive that lead to the crime is what is on trial in that case. Obviously, there is going to be consequences and punishment regardless of the motives (the act in and of itself has been established), but the punishment and stigma for someone doing something on purpose with premeditation is significantly greater.
On a lighter note, years ago one of my little children took a glass of red fruit punch and poured it out on the carpet. There was no malicious intent, but it wasn’t an accident either. My reaction, and thank goodness there was family over to temper my knee jerk emotion, was not one of happiness. It was like time slowed down as I saw the staining power of the Niagara Falls of red fruit juice flow freely from 3 feet up, and I reached out (like I had an Inspector Gadget arm) and said “NNNNOOOOOOOOO!” In that moment, I was thinking something along the line of, “we may not cry over spilt milk, but we do cry over intentionally spilt red juice on the carpet!” (note: we needed new carpet when we moved in 7 years ago, but 3 children and 1 dog later we definitely need new carpet!)
We react to people and situations differently when we think it was ‘on accident’ versus when we feel the person did it ‘on purpose’ and with premeditation. This everyday understanding applies to the spiritual life in 2 ways.
Listen to Paul from Galatians 2:16, 20-21, “We know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified…. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”
- Jesus Christ gave His life ON PURPOSE so that every human on earth will have a legitimate opportunity to be saved—accepted, justified, redeemed, restored into right relationship with God—through the shed blood of Christ’s crucifixion. Jesus premeditated His sacrifice willingly with the Father as a gift of God’s love to humanity to redeem the creation. God’s gift is available as grace through faith!
- All Christians (you and me and all who claim Christ as Lord and Savior) are called to live ON PURPOSE for Jesus Christ by willingly taking on ourselves not only the effects of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ (the atonement of sin and imputation of righteousness through faith), but also the motive for which Jesus went to the Cross. We are motivated by faith in the grace of God, in thankfulness for what Christ has done!
Most contemporary Christians understand and embrace point one above (we rejoice in our salvation through faith alone), but do we understand point 2? We need to wrap our minds around point 2—we are called, saved, and transformed by the love of God to live differently; to live ON PURPOSE just like Jesus Christ modeled for us. We are not saved just to flaunt our “fire insurance”; rather, we are saved to be witnesses of the hope we have in us!
We are to make premeditated decisions on how we are going to react to people and situations so that our words, responses, and behaviors are experienced as a gift of God’s love to each person we encounter. We are to be ON PURPOSE witnesses of the love God has for them that would cause Jesus to die ON PURPOSE for their redemption. We are the living testimonies of what Jesus Christ willingly did to give every person we encounter (yes, all of them!) a chance to be saved.
Are you living ON PURPOSE to the reason you were saved?
Are their people you are not trying or are struggling to live ON PURPOSE with?