The Purpose Driven Life was a devotional book written in 2002 by Rick Warren. The main premise of the book was asking the questions, "What on Earth are you here for? What is God's purpose for your life?" Knowing our purpose for something helps give meaning and value to our activities and when we don't feel like there is a purpose for something, we can feel lost.
For the apostle Paul, he lived a purpose driven life. But this life wasn't necessarily driven by Paul's purpose or even God's purpose for Paul's life, but for God's purpose. Period.
What is God's purpose? How does Paul live his life on that basis? How may God be inviting us to a life based on His purpose?
1) What is God's purpose? in 2 Timothy 1:9 Paul writes, "He has saved us and called us to a holy life - not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace."
God's purpose is to save us from our sin, by His grace (not because of what we have done but what Christ has done on our behalf), for a holy life.
This is the gospel: God's purpose is our presence and participation in the kingdom of God, with Christ as our King for all eternity. The kingdom of God is perfect community, perfect justice, perfect peace, perfect love. Jesus taught us to live and pray: "Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." This is how we are called to live and help to usher in God's kingdom while we are on earth.
2) How does this purpose drive Paul's life? Paul identifies himself as an apostle, a herald and a teacher (2 Timothy 1:1, 11). Because he knows who he is, he knows what he is to do.
His ministry is to serve (2 Timothy 1:3), to suffer (2 Timothy 1:8,12) and to pass on the faith (2 Timothy 1:6, 12, 13-14).
One of Paul's purposes in writing this letter to Timothy was to encourage him and to remind him what the ministry is all about (to serve, to suffer, to pass on the faith).
Paul reminds Timothy that there are two things that will help him to minister effectively: 1) the Spirit of God (2 Timothy 1:6) 2) the sound teaching (2 Timothy 1:13) that he learned from Paul, that is grounded in the personal knowledge of Jesus Christ. Paul's confidence comes from 2 Timothy 1:12, "I know whom I have believed and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day. "
3) How may God be inviting us to a life based on His purpose?
Just like Timothy, we too are called to serve, to suffer, and to pass on the faith. We too have the Spirit of God to empower and to lead us. We too are called to hold on and grow deeper in the sound teaching of God's word and live it out in holiness, faith and love.
May we live a life driven by God's purpose.