AFTER GOD CREATED THE heavens and the earth, He formed a man out of the earth, out of the dust of the ground, and told the man to rule over all of His creation (the fish, the birds, the cattle, and over all the earth). God created both a man and a woman and blessed them, giving them the ability to reproduce. He told them to fill the earth and to subdue it. The Hebrew word for subdue is kabash (kaw-bash). It means: to conquer, subjugate, bring into bondage, force, keep under, bring into subjection. God wanted man to rule over the earth and to keep it under his authority. God gave man this authority and put all the works of His hand into the hand of man to keep it and preserve it, just as He had created it.
God was entrusting man with this great creation. The Bible says that everything God created was good. Everything He had spoken into existence, the earth, the heavens, the seas, the trees…all of it had a function and a purpose, and that purpose was good.
But during the subsequent fall of man in the garden, the authority God had given man was lost. Sin entered the picture and man became the servant of sin, no longer the servant of God. Sin began to reign in the earth. The earth was no longer subject to man, or under man’s authority. Chaos ensued and things began to fall apart. The authority God had given man began to quickly slip out of his hands. Sin is a destructive force. It not only destroys man, it also destroys and erodes the earth. The earth becomes corrupt when it is filled with sin. Our souls also become corrupt when we are stained with sin. Man loses his ability to stand in the gap as God’s ambassador when his soul is corroded with sin.
When a person becomes king there is usually a coronation ceremony with the ritual placement of a crown on the person’s head and a presentation of other items of royalty such as a signet ring or a scepter. These items signify the authority the king has as ruler over his kingdom and over his subjects. The ceremony may include taking of vows by the new monarch and some act of homage by the new ruler’s subjects, such as bowing or kneeling.
During religious coronations the new leader or king is sometimes anointed with holy oil as a sign of the bestowing of power. Once the authority has been given to the new king to rule, everything and everyone in his kingdom becomes subject to him. What the king says goes. The king’s word is final authority in every decision, and people usually defer to the king’s edicts and rules.
Just as all of creation bows to God, when God transferred authority over to man to rule on His behalf all of creation was to bow to man’s authority, recognizing that God had conferred His power and authority over to man. God had placed man on an earthly throne making him a ruler with subjects under him. All of God’s great creation was subject to man’s authority.
Whenever there is someone in a position of power there is also usually someone who sees this power and begins to envy it, often desiring this power for himself. The king has to always be on guard for those who will try to rise up and test his power, or worse, those who will try to usurp the king’s power. This testing of the king’s power can come from either inside or outside his kingdom. Unfortunately, not everyone in the kingdom is loyal to the king.
The serpent in the garden must have sensed a weakness in man when he approached Eve, testing her, to see if he might tempt her to eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree that was in the midst of the garden. The serpent may have been envious of man’s authority and resentful, desiring to have such authority himself. The Bible says that the serpent was more subtle and crafty than any beast of the field. The serpent decided to test the authority that God had given man and tempt him to sin against God.
As with Eve and the serpent, man will always be tempted to sin against God, to disobey His will, and to lose focus thereby not fulfilling the purpose God has given him to fulfill. But we cannot become distracted or lose our focus. Each of us has a purpose and a mission. The church has been commissioned by the Lord to introduce a lost and dying world to the Lord, and to be His emissaries in the earth. Our job is to bring the kingdom of God to earth to be experienced by all.
When I think of purpose I think of people like Zacharias and Elisabeth, John the Baptist, Mary (the mother of Jesus), and the prophet Jeremiah. An angel appeared to Zacharias, the priest, in the temple and told him that he and his wife Elisabeth would have a son. Now Elisabeth was barren, and both Zacharias and Elisabeth were advanced in age. Zacharias had prayed for a son and the angel told him that God had heard his prayers and that he would indeed bring forth a son, but this son would be different, special. This son would be the forerunner of Jesus, the Messiah. This son would be great and would turn the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. He would turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous. This son would help to prepare a people for the Lord — for the coming of the Messiah. This son would be called John.
John, who was often called John the Baptist, was the son of Zacharias and Elisabeth. John was chosen by God, prior to his birth, to prepare the hearts and minds of the people to receive Jesus Christ. The Bible said that John was baptized with the Holy Ghost in his mother’s womb. He was anointed by God for a specific purpose in Elisabeth’s womb.
John came preaching a message of baptism for repentance from sin. He warned the Jews that God would one day judge sin, and would pour out His wrath upon the earth and all of mankind as His punishment for sin. He told the Jews that Jesus was the only way to avoid God’s judgment of sin. When the Jews sent some people to ask John who he was, if he was that prophet, John said, “I am not He.” “He that comes after me is before me and He is greater than me, and I am not even worthy to unleash His shoe laces.” John knew that his purpose was to prepare the way for Jesus, and that when He came John was to step aside and allow Him to take over. John said, “I must decrease so that He can increase” (John 3:30).
John led a life of purpose. When he saw Jesus, John immediately recognized Him. He knew that Jesus was the Messiah. The Lord had told John, “The one you see the Spirit of the Lord descend upon, He is the one I have sent to save His people from their sins.” When Jesus was baptized, the Spirit of the Lord descended on Him like a dove. John saw this and immediately recognized Him as the Son of God. John’s reaction when he saw Jesus was, “Behold, the lamb of God!” John bore witness to Jesus.
Then there was Mary, who was the one the Lord chose to give birth to the Savior. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Mary he told her that she was highly favored of the Lord. The angel told her that the Lord had chosen her to give birth to a son, who she should name Jesus, and this son would be great. He would save His people from their sins. Mary was a virgin and she wondered how she would have a child seeing that she had never been with a man. The angel told her that the Lord would overshadow her, and she would conceive a son, and she should call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest. When Mary heard this her response was, “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to your word.”
Mary submitted herself to the Lord’s will for her life. And the Holy Ghost overshadowed her, and she conceived a child in her womb of the Holy Ghost and named Him Jesus, and He became great, was called the Son of God, and His death on the cross and subsequent resurrection from the dead provides salvation from sin. God’s will was performed through Mary, a humble servant girl.
The Prophet Jeremiah is another example of a life destined for purpose. God told Jeremiah, Before I formed you in the womb I knew you and approved of you. Before you were born I consecrated you. I have appointed you a prophet to the nations. I have put my words in your mouth and all that I command you to speak, speak, not being fearful or afraid. (Jeremiah 1:5-9).
Jeremiah was a prophet to Israel. He spoke God’s words to Israel, as they were given him by God. Jeremiah became God’s anointed messenger. God’s divine will would be performed through Jeremiah. God told Jeremiah to prophesy to Israel: to warn, to condemn, to chastise, to encourage, and to strengthen and build up.
Israel was a rebellious nation. But God loved Israel and delivered them out of bondage from Egypt and promised to make them a great nation, and to give them a good land, if they would obey Him and keep all of His commandments. But Israel did not obey God. They served other gods, preferring these gods over God.
God used Jeremiah to speak to Israel, to encourage them to follow Him; to warn them of God’s wrath if they refused to obey Him; to let them know that God would remove His hand of protection from them if they persisted in their disobedience to Him.
But Israel did not heed Jeremiah’s warnings. They persistently disobeyed God’s laws, continued serving their idols, and refused to heed any of God’s warnings. For this reason, God removed His hand of protection from them and their enemies came up against them and overtook them. They enslaved Israel and confiscated their land and property. Israel was violated by their enemies and they were left naked and exposed. God used Jeremiah to warn them, yet they refused to heed any of his warnings.
God’s plans for man have always been good. His desire is for man to live an abundant life, and that he prosper and be in health as his soul prospers. God desires for man to live together on earth in peace and harmony. And God also desires to have fellowship with man on the earth.
When we seek the will of God for our lives, we should be willing to put our will aside and accept God’s purpose and plan for us. We should ask ourselves, what is my purpose for being? Why did God create me?
Have you ever sought God’s will for your life? I’ve discovered that sometimes what we think is our purpose in life is not actually what God has purposed for us. Our desires, hopes, and dreams are usually self-seeking and are filled with the things we desire for ourselves. They make us feel better about ourselves. And sometimes they make us look better in the eyes of man. Who doesn’t want to appear to have it all together? And somewhere deep down inside, no matter who we are, we feel a sense of pride when others are a little envious of us and of how we appear to have it all together. We are not too shy to pat ourselves on the back, stick our chest out, and say “I did this.” But, this is not the attitude or demeanor of one who is living out God’s purpose for their life.
Open yourself up to God, surrendering fully to Him. Allow God’s purpose and plan for you to be the guiding force for everything you do. And remember, God’s ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. His ways and His thoughts are higher than ours. God’s purpose for us is always good. And His plan will always lead to His will being fulfilled.
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