How to “Walk by the Spirit”
Lesson 6: Satisfying our Soul’s Need for PURPOSE and SIGNIFICANCE
For those of us who are in Christ, it turns out that there are two different ways that we might seek to get our needs met …for each of these six needs of our soul. Let’s start by talking about what happens when we seek to get these needs met in a way that feels right according to our fallen nature.
On the left here, we show that in our fallen nature, we engage in some sort of system of exchange that seems fair to us, in which things that we DO cause an outcome we desire to happen. In other words, we do things to cause favorable outcomes for us in the physical world. So how do we seek to get our purpose and significance needs met with our fallen nature? How do we seek to get a sense of purpose and significance? When we are walking in the flesh, when we are, as the King James version would say, being a “carnal” person (these are all phrases you will find in the Bible), …when we are being worldly as a NATURAL person, then we will seek to get our purpose needs met through our accomplishments and achievements.
In other words, the impact that we make for good in the society around us is what will give us a sense of purpose and significance. We do this by some system of fair or equitable exchange. This means we get our sense of purpose and significance from using our time, efforts, resources and talents to cause “good” things to happen in the world around us. For example, feeding the poor, teaching the ignorant, sheltering the homeless, etc. We get a sense of purpose by making these good things happen—and we make them happen through the equitable exchanges we engage in.
That is the way our fallen nature works. And some of us are saying, wait a minute, that sounds pretty good to me. Well, no one is saying these works are bad things. I just want to point out that, okay, I know it sounds good to you that would get a sense of purpose from doing them. It is natural that this would sound good to you, and it sounds good to me, too. But this SEEMING right and natural is an evidence that our fallen nature is alive and well. We actually cannot get our purpose needs properly met by doing good things.
As opposed to what? How else could we get our purpose need met?
As opposed to getting a sense of significance and purpose by realizing that God calls us by name, covers us with the blood of Jesus Christ, and elevates us to sit at His right hand in heaven, seated with Christ in the heavenlies. That is absolutely huge! There is NOTHING that we could do or accomplish in this world that would be more significant than that! No good work outdoes God’s work. And He has created us to be an image, a reflection, of who He is. Are you kidding? You are actually made by your very existence, to reflect the infinite, holy, majesty, power, and goodness of the Creator. Come on!! What is it, that you are going to do in this world that can compare to that? Nothing! We are heavenly royalty created in God’s image and we should embrace this.
So, again the question. If you are walking by the spirit and somebody says, where do you get your sense of significance, or purpose from, you will cite what it is at the top of this chart. If you are walking by the flesh, you are going to come up with something that looks like what is on the bottom of this chart. …And you will notice that you waffle back and forth, at least if you are like me, you do. You waffle back and forth. You will say, “Sometimes I feel significant because of all this great stuff I am doing.” Then you catch yourself and say, “What? Did I forget again? No!! How does that compare to what God has provided for me?” Notice, we did not do anything to get the stuff listed on top. That was given to me by a good God. All the stuff on the bottom I tried to work for.
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. (Rom 8:29-30) (NIV)