|Publisher:||B&H Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)|
|Age Range:||3 Months to 18 Years|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
There have been times in my life that I have struggled with my own identity. I have felt the pressure that I must have a title or assignment to feel significant. There were times in my younger years where I struggled with not living in a metropolitan region of America. I felt reduced. I felt insignificant. I felt like others did not recognize the value of where I served.
At times, this created a discontentment that was unhealthy. While the struggle was real, it became apparent that it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks relating to these kinds of things. What matters is that you know and live out God's purpose for your life. When you choose to live out God's purpose for your life, while titles and assignments and opportunities are nice, you will find joy and happiness regardless of the specifics, because you are living purposefully.
Recently, we conducted a professional survey with our entire church. In order to do this, we allocated ten minutes in each of the eleven Sunday services on all five of our campuses. One of the many questions we asked our congregation that day was the following: What topic would be of most interest to you during a Sunday sermon? We received responses from several thousand people.
Through the years, we have not conducted very many of these surveys, but we are very passionate to create ways to hear from our church members and find out where their needs are. We are here to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry. If we do not know what their needs are, we cannot know how to equip them most effectively. That is why we asked this specific question. Here is what we learned.
Other than teaching through books of the Bible, as I have done regularly through the years, there were two topics people asked us to address: finding purpose and marriage.
Needless to say, we have exhausted this survey to learn all we could about the uniqueness of our people and their personal needs. As we listened to their interests, we began to discuss how we could address these needs, one of which was finding purpose.
You cannot live fit spiritually if you do not live purposefully. Without purpose, people live aimlessly. I have become convinced the need to live with purpose is greater than the survey may have revealed. People want to know their life matters.
Therefore, in this chapter, I am going to give you four dynamic statements about purpose. I want you to think of them as declarations. When this chapter is finished, you will have four declarations that will empower you to live purposefully. You can declare these in prayer daily, but you can also declare them as a testimony to other people, to the world, and even to Satan, who always wants to distort our purpose. I promise you, this will really help you, as it has helped me.
The first declaration about living purposefully is ...
Declaration 1: I believe God has a purpose for my life.
One of the most well-known passages in the Bible is Romans 8:28–31. It says: We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified. What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
This section of Scripture amplifies this reality: I believe God has a purpose for my life; therefore, I am living with purpose. How do we know this?
You are living purposefully — whether you feel it now or not.
The word predestined is used in Romans 8:30. It means to decide beforehand or to predetermine. I believe that according to Romans 8:29, predestination is grounded in the foreknowledge of God. God knows everything from the beginning to the end; therefore, He knew before and He knows today who will be responsive to His call to salvation. As God set His pursuit toward those whom He knew would respond to His call to salvation, He sovereignly called us into a relationship with Him, endowing us with a purpose in life. Everyone God called into salvation is now set free from all sin, and God looks at us as though we had never sinned, all because of His abounding grace toward us. Upon our death, God will glorify us, freeing us for all of eternity from the power and penalty of sin.
Therefore, unquestionably, biblically, and theologically, you should know that you are living purposefully — whether you feel it now or not. You can declare with all confidence to everyone: I believe God has a purpose for my life!
Now that we understand more clearly some of this section, go with me in a further, deeper look, that is much more practical for your life. I think it will be encouraging to know ...
God Is at Work in Your Life
Yes, God is at work in your life. Did you know that Romans 8:28 informs us that in each and every part of your life, God is at work? These things work together or cooperate to produce a greater effect than they could individually. God works through all things in concert together.
God is always orchestrating everything in your life to work together for your benefit. He sets His heart toward all of us who love Him intimately and pursue Him passionately. God's intention and will is always good and always best for you.
I have to stop and qualify this, because it is very important for us to understand. Everything that happens to you is not good, but God uses everything for your ultimate good.
Not everything that happens to you is good. At times, we are affected by the poor choices we make. Other times, the sinful choice of someone else can influence our lives dramatically. Some examples of this could be a husband who is unfaithful to his wife, leading to a divorce that impacts every person in the family. Another example would be business partners affected by someone in the partnership that goes bankrupt and a domino effect occurs, cratering not just one person, but several. While everything that happens to you does not seem good, God uses it for your good and for His glory.
The great news is that God is absolutely sovereign and He shapes us through everything we face in life. Yes, God has a purpose for everyone who loves Him. Be encouraged because God is always at work in your life, for your good. God is always moving you to walk toward His eternal purpose of being like Jesus.
Our God who knows everything from the beginning has also predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. God is fashioning each of us into the image of Jesus. When we experience spiritual rebirth, God puts us into His family and sets His purpose into our life.
Regardless of who you are, where you are, or what you do in your life, if you are a Christian, God is always moving you to His eternal high purpose: Making you more like Jesus Christ. He created you to live your life with God's purpose always on your mind, becoming like Jesus Christ.
The only way you will ever feel fulfilled is to know that God is always sovereignly and lovingly using everything in your life to make you more like Jesus Christ, for His glory.
God Is Always for You
Romans 8:28–31 is powerful in every way. In fact, Romans 8:31 proposes a question: "What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?" Walk the rest of this day and week knowing that God is always for you! I believe God has a purpose for your life because God is always for you.
Keeping all these things in mind will help us understand our value, identity, and future. Therefore, I must warn you about something very important.
Caution: Your identity and future cannot be determined by a job, a title, or any human achievement.
If you attempt to define yourself by a job, a title, or some human achievement, you are on your way to experiencing an enormous disappointment, possible depression, and guaranteed purposelessness. If it takes any of these things to give you identity and purpose, you are in trouble, because life is always transitional and temporal. Your purpose is far greater than a job, title, or human achievement. Your purpose is to be like Jesus Christ.
Therefore, you can declare unashamedly and convincingly: I believe God has a purpose for my life. Living purposefully will make you more fit spiritually and it will provide much greater clarity as you navigate your way to a healthy you.
Standing on this declaration leads me to share a second declaration with you.
Declaration 2: I will pursue God's purpose for my life.
How seriously do you take your spiritual life? Resolve now that you will pursue God's purpose for your life with great intentionality.
After God watched His people sin, which led them to spend seventy years under God's judgment in a place called Babylon, He gave them another chance to pursue His purpose for their lives. Even after their second year in Babylon, God used Jeremiah to encourage them that even after disobedience and judgment, they could begin, right then, to pursue God's purpose for their lives.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, "'For I know the plans I have for you' — this is the Lord's declaration — 'plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'" This is a positive word from God, given through Jeremiah, that could shape them for the rest of their lives.
The Lord was so gracious to them that He led them to call out to Him in prayer and seek Him with all their heart. He was confident they would return to Him, because His purposes never fail, and He had a purpose for their lives. God used even this season of judgment for their good and for His glory.
Whoever you are and whatever your current circumstances, pursue God's purpose for your life. Through every season of your life, from good to bad to mediocre, pursue God's purpose. Now and in the future, pursue God's purpose with a great expectation that God is working in your life, believe Him for your future with hope.
Intentionally pursue God's purpose for your life. Conversationally — as with a trusted friend — talk to God about His purpose for you and your life. Passionately seek God with all your heart, knowing He will fulfill His purpose for your life. Expectantly believe God will renew you by living purposefully. Pursue God's purpose for your life.
Declaration 3: I believe nothing can hinder God's purpose for my life.
I'm sure you are familiar with the story of Job in the Old Testament. In a brief period of time, this wealthy and prosperous man lost his possessions, his children, and his health. His wife told him to curse God, and his closest friends betrayed him, saying that all these bad things were happening to him because he must be living in sin.
Yet, we know that what his friends said about him was not true. The Scriptures say that Job was a man with complete integrity who feared God and turned away from evil. He was regarded as the greatest man in the East, rising very early each morning to worship the Lord his God.
Even after these life-altering and devastating experiences, Job declared with great confidence these words in Job 42:2: "I know that you can do anything and no plan of yours can be thwarted." When Job testified that no plan or purpose of God could be thwarted, Job was saying there is absolutely no purpose or plan of God that can be clipped off, cut off, withheld, limited, restrained, or eliminated by anyone or anything!
Everything that happens to you is not good, but God uses everything for His ultimate good in your life and for His glory. He is always moving you toward His likeness.
The way you view God will determine how you view everything else in your life, including your problems, challenges, and even losses.
Even as it was for Job, it will be for you. Life is not easy; it is full of challenges and even some losses. Job deeply believed what we need to believe: I believe nothing can hinder God's purpose for my life! He trusted this because he knew God could do anything. Do you? While some people may experience a level of restoration as Job did, others may live to the end faithfully yet lose their lives as mentioned in Hebrews 11. For both groups, the ultimate promise is that God's eternal purposes will come to fruition.
The way you view God will determine how you view everything else in your life, including your problems, challenges, and even losses. Because Job so believed this, his future became meaningful, productive, and fruitful again.
Please understand this clearly — what God wants to do, He will do. God is unstoppable! Therefore, each of us should declare this personally: I believe nothing can hinder God's purpose for my life! Yes, God is able! He isunstoppable!
Declaration 4: I will serve God's purpose in my generation.
What will you be known for in your life? How will you choose to live between your birth and your death? How will you impact your generation?
These are important and powerful questions we need to take seriously.
Personally, I want to be known as King David was at the end of his life. Acts 13:36 says, "For David, after serving God's purpose in his own generation, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and decayed." Here is the bottom line according to this text: After David had done the will of God in his generation, he died.
God determines our length of time on this earth. We do not. I have lived long enough now to see young men that I loved dearly, who followed God passionately, die suddenly and tragically. To this day, I just do not understand. But here is what I do know: God determines our length of time on this earth. Therefore, I believe when we have served God's purpose in our generation, we die.
While God determines our length of time on this earth, each of us resolves what to do with the time He gives us. Choosing how you live and what you do with your life between your birth and your death is your decision. What I do know is that God wants each of us to live purposefully.
What purpose does God have for you in your generation? Are you serving God's purpose in your generation? Discover why you are here on this earth. Then, live it out purposefully.
In summarizing this chapter, you have been called to live purposefully. This is critical to being spiritually fit and pursuing a healthy you. Each day in prayer to God, begin to make these four declarations about living with purpose. I believe it will increase your faith, enlarge your vision, and impact the world around you.
Wherever you are reading this right now, if possible, say aloud these declarations of faith about living purposefully.
Declaration #1: I believe God has a purpose for my life.
Declaration #2: I will pursue God's purpose for my life.
Declaration #3: I believe nothing can hinder God's purpose for my life.
Declaration #4: I will serve God's purpose in my generation.
Friend, you are now on your way to a healthy you. Live purposefully. People who live with purpose change their world.CHAPTER 2
The process always precedes the product. When my eating is healthy and my physical fitness is productive, I feel better. I even believe I look better! Therefore, the process always precedes the product.
Many times in life, we are not pleased with the results we are getting. Being displeased with the results may be all we see, but the greater reality lies in the process that led to these results. If we want a different product, we must evaluate the process and adjust it as needed to obtain the results we desire.
Just as this principle is true in business, sports, or any realm of life, it is also applicable in our spiritual lives. Being fit spiritually ignites you to dream about how God wants to use you to deeply impact your world. Your vision for your life will never be any greater than your faith, and your faith will never be any deeper than your daily walk with Christ. The more fit you are spiritually, the greater the possibilities that await you in the future.
This is where the value of the process is deserving of our personal evaluation. Being fit spiritually cannot and will not occur if we do not live intentionally. The more intentional we are about deepening our daily walk with Christ, the more likely we will become fit spiritually. This leads to a growing realization that God desires for us to live freely. Freedom is not the power to do what we want, but the power to do what we ought. This freedom occurs as we permit God to remove the shackles of our past sins and mistakes, which in turn leads us to experience an inner spiritual cleansing and health that is imperative for us to become what God desires. When this occurs, we begin to live purposefully. This empowers us to believe again that God has a purpose for our lives and nothing can hinder the purpose of God for us.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Living Fit"
Copyright © 2018 Ronnie Floyd.
Excerpted by permission of B&H Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Section 1 Living Fit Spiritually
Chapter 1 Live Purposefully 11
Chapter 2 Live Dreaming 21
Chapter 3 Live Freely 29
Chapter 4 Live Intentionally 39
Section 2 Living Fit Physically
Chapter 5 Live Fully 51
Chapter 6 Live Orderly 59
Chapter 7 Live Reasonably 67
Chapter 8 Live Knowingly 75
Section 3 Living Fit Relationally
Chapter 9 Live Selflessly 85
Chapter 10 Live Lovingly 95
Chapter 11 Live Connecting 105
Chapter 12 Live Serving 113
Section 4 Living Fit Financially
Chapter 13 Live Wisely 123
Chapter 14 Live Responsibly 131
Chapter 15 Live Generously 139
Chapter 16 Live Indelibly 147
Section 5 Living Fit Emotionally
Chapter 17 Live Watchfully 159
Chapter 18 Live Respectfully 167
Chapter 19 Live Gratefully 175
Chapter 20 Live Wholly 183
Conclusion: On Your Way to a Healthy You 191