God’s Intentions Define My Purpose
Clay Nash and I were having one of our insightful discussion over some post-conference meeting dining. I was pointing out that my idea that “potential is the greatest enemy of purpose,” and he mentioned that I should include the word “intention” in my discussion.
Of course, he read the essentials of the point immediately, and the Greek word for “purpose” has within it the origin or intention of what reaches fullness or highest.
When I say, “potential is the greatest enemy of purpose,” I am referring to the reality that I can be and do many things foreign to God’s intentions for my life. I can diminish the fullness of my destiny by pursuing distractions to my purpose, engaging my priorities in something other than what God created me to be and called me to do.
For example, I could have become a concert pianist. My mother certainly wanted me to learn to play the piano, I had the aptitude, and she paid for the lessons. I wish I had stuck with the preparation, but I chose other instruments. And, I was much more interested in athletics than I was sitting with an effeminate guy with a lisp whispering little somethings in my left ear. (She had no idea what a he was, and the small town would have run him off on a rail if they had known what he was thinking to do to their little boys.)
But, if I had given myself to eight hours of practice, pounding out the lessons until my fingers bled, if I had spent the days I was outside hitting the baseball and shooting baskets at the park working on the keys, I could certainly have grown up to play in a concert hall. I was adept with other instruments, and I love music.
I did not. I was part of my potential but never part of my purpose.
While preparation should be broader than specific applications of spiritual capacities, and character is much more important than gifting, the greatest enemy of my purpose comes in the distraction of my focus from what God wants to what is possible. God’s intentions for my life are most often left unfulfilled when I engage in what is available more than submitted to His prioritizations.
I can marry any number of women without marrying the woman who makes my life fit my ministry. I can walk through doors that lead me to do great things in church-anity without walking the line that leads to my assignment. I can be attracted by bright lights and promises of reaching my potential when God wants me in a cave or lonely desert place in preparation to become a voice crying in the wilderness.
Potential is hell’s way of distraction me to accept a substitute, and the devil is an ancient master at persuading people to accept an alternative to the will of God.
Intention and Intentionality
God’s intentions must become my intentionality. That is, His priorities are worthy of the investment of my highest. Or, as Oswald Chambers said it: “My Utmost for His Highest.”
As a spiritual father, I am not the least bit impressed by talent and gifting because that is the part with which you have nothing whatsoever to do. All the talent in the world and gifting from God means nothing if you are Judas. All the potential for kingdom fame and fortune mean nothing but distraction if you are not dead to the world and your ambitions.
I am not impressed by what you can do but how you can sustain a strategic pathway of purpose that centers your soul upon God’s intentions for your life.
Paul could have, but Paul didn’t. Simon Peter could have, but Simon Peter didn’t. John could have, but John didn’t. Jesus could have, but Jesus didn’t.
The temptations of Jesus were distractions from purpose aimed at potential. Jesus was tested in His intentionality concerning His Father’s intentions. And, He overcame by leaning back on His Father’s revelations without using any of His talents and giftings.
We tend to expect God’s most gifting to reveal God’s highest when the Bible ignores the talent and gifts when judging the person. Jesus judges each of us by how well we get Father what He wants, not by the great showing we make about doing great things.
Beware any motivation toward greatness than avoids investment of your highest in God’s intentions. Greatness is the fatal flaw of the many who cry, “Lord, Lord.”