It was the end of my son’s freshman year in college, and he defended failing two courses by pointing out that he pledged a fraternity second semester, saying “they owned me from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m.”. My response? “You have one job to do at college – that’s your school work!”
I work a daytime corporate job as an Integration Specialist, a title inherited from my predecessor, charged with responsibility for integrating new system processes with existing departmental processes when we converted to SAP in 2006. The primary, most heavily weighted responsibility on my job description is to provide on-site support to co-workers in my department for all SAP processes. This involves troubleshooting order entry, billing, and contract issues that my colleagues are unable to resolve on their own. It may involve 1-on-1 coaching, filling in knowledge gaps, reviewing documented procedures or business practices, developing training materials, creating documentation, or submitting a request to the SAP Support Team to investigate a system problem. It doesn’t really matter what the issue is … the bottom line is that I cannot help anyone else if I don’t know the system myself. I cannot troubleshoot what I do not know.
I had to learn how to use SAP. I had to be trained on order entry, billing, & contracts, and pull out and follow documentation on procedures I was unfamiliar with. My system knowledge of SAP business transactions grew by working through and resolving issues I had with administration of my own accounts, trying to bill my own contracts, figuring out problems with orders I entered. It took time “to know” the system before I could begin “to make it known” to co-workers unable to resolve an issue.
It is no different when we look at the first truth on the path to finding life purpose – we cannot make Christ known to a hurting world unless we ourselves first know Him.
Truth # 1 on the Path to Life Purpose
All believers share a basic common life purpose – To know Christ, and make Him known to a hurting world. That’s our job, our charge, our commission!
You might say you do know Christ, but let me challenge you on that a bit … there is a huge difference between knowing about Christ and knowing Him intimately. Really knowing Christ requires having a consistent, ongoing, growing relationship with Him – and that takes time. You cannot go and make disciples of all the nations, as Jesus commanded us to in The Great Commission of Matthew 28:19 without you yourself knowing Him first, without reading further for clues in verse 20 to what some of that knowing involves.
Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
See, there is only one way to teach someone the commands we have been given – that is to know, understand, embrace, and live out those commands ourselves. How can we know and understand these commands? It requires a daily discipline of being in the Word, meditating on scripture, listening to good Bible-based preaching, digging deeper into the Word with other believers.
It means developing a consistent prayer life of 2-way communication … devoting time to listen – as we might to our spouse, our children, those we are in relationship with, as well as time to talk things over with God. It is intentional time of praising God, asking Him to search your heart and reveal the ways you are out of step with His commands, His desires, His truth. It means inviting Him to have His way with you, asking Him to develop a godly character, selfless attitude, renewed mind and surrendered will. It is an expressed yearning for the Holy Spirit to guide you in the day to day living out of your faith, begging Him to draw you closer to Him so that you may honor Him in each decision of that day, that He may protect you from the lies of the enemy and convict you of wrongdoing in thought, word, or deed. The prayer life I covet is one where I consistently come to the end of myself, believing I can do nothing without Him, that if He doesn’t work through me, it will not be done. I want to set my mind on God’s promises instead of what looks impossible or hopeless as I fast forward through the expectations of that day. And this is just such a precious time to thank Him for his glorious gifts – love, forgiveness, mercy, grace, and salvation. Prayer – don’t leave home without it!
And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Do you believe God is with you always? When in your life have you experienced His presence, His faithfulness? What is your story of redemption, your times of reigning victorious over a situation or through a struggle with a heart surrendered to Christ? How has God worked in your life? Do you even recognize that He has?
I want to challenge you to set aside just 1 hour this week to spend time with God, a pen, and a journal. Write down everything you can think of, in that hour’s time, that answers one of the questions above. That is your story. That is what you can share to make Christ known to a hurting world. See, you can try to make disciples of the nations by telling others everything you know about Christ, but they will argue against your beliefs and question the validity of scripture. But no one can argue with your story – it is yours. Just put it on your job description as a believer in Christ, with responsibility to know Him and make Him known to a hurting world.