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Does My Life Have a Purpose?, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
September 7, 2023 9:00 am

Does My Life Have a Purpose?, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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September 7, 2023 9:00 am

In the rush of everyday life, we often find ourselves hungry for a bigger destiny. Pastor J.D. describes the only thing that can fill that desire.

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Today on Summit Life, Pastor JD Greer helps us discover our ultimate purpose. Why did you choose me as your servant? Is there something you needed me to do?

Nope. I chose you that you may know and believe me and understand I am the Lord and beside me there is no Savior. We are not chosen because God needed something for us to do. We're chosen because of something that God wants us to understand and wants us to testify to. Welcome back to Summit Life with Pastor JD Greer.

As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. You know, no matter how much you love your life, we all fall into patterns and even the most exciting job or family role becomes routine, even dreary. And the rush of punching the clock and getting the kids to soccer and getting dinner on the table, we find ourselves hungry for more, for a bigger purpose and a deeper meaning to our lives. Today on Summit Life, Pastor JD Greer describes the only thing that can fill that desire. It's the conclusion of our series called Question Everything and he titled this message from Psalm 57, Does My Life Have a Purpose?

Let's jump back in. You got a Bible, open it to Psalm 57. I'm going to give you three things from this Psalm that I think you can learn about your purpose from how David talks about his. Number one, God has a purpose for you, but it's not about you. God has a purpose for you, but it's not about you. You can see that in the refrain that David goes back to again and again, the only request that he makes, God would you be exalted in and through this situation. The ultimate purpose of your life is not about you. David says that the reason that God continues to work in his life is for the glory of his name. Psalm 23, which we quote a lot at funerals, there's a little phrase in it most people have never really looked at. Psalm 23, he leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. So what is the ultimate purpose that God has for us now? Bringing him glory. That's why he created you. It's why he saved you. So Paul would tell us that in everything we do, even something mundane like eating and drinking, we should do all of it to the glory of God. A little theologian named J.I. Packer said in a little book that has to have the worst name of any book I've ever read, Hot Tub Religion, says this.

It's a good statement nonetheless. He said, if it is right for man to have the glory of God as his goal, can it be wrong for God to have the same goal? If man can have no higher purpose than God's glory, how can God? If it is wrong for man to seek a lesser end than this, then it would be wrong for God too. The reason it cannot be right for man to live for himself as if he were God is because he's not God.

However, it's not wrong for God to seek his own glory because he is God. And he wanted a creation that was centered in love. So he gave us the brush and said, you put in the center of this creation.

And so we took the brush and we painted in not God, we painted in ourselves. We said, well, I'm going to be the center. I'm going to be the boss. I'm going to be the point.

I'm going to be in charge. That's what we now call sin. And that's why, that's why I told you when you look at a picture and it's got multiple people in it, the first thing that you do is you look for yourself in that picture. And if you look good, then it's an awesome picture, right? And if everybody else looks terrible, but you look good, it's awesome.

If everybody else looks great and you look bad, it's a terrible picture. And that's kind of a metaphor for how you think about life. If life's good for you, then life's good. If life is good for everybody else, but not you, then life is not good and God's not fair.

Even in our religion, even in our religion, how we approach God, we're self-centered. Let me, let me summarize some of your prayer lives. Give me, give me, give me, give me, give me, give me, give me, give me. God help me. God hurt her.

God smite her. Would you please help everyone to behave the way that I need them to behave so that my life is awesome. Hey God, are you listening to this? I'm the center.

I'm the point. You make it work for me. And when God doesn't do that, we get angry. Well, let's talk about how God pursued his glory after we rejected him. What do you do? What do you do when your prized creation hijacks the rest of your creation and makes it about them instead of you?

What do you do? Well, you know what? Governments in Jesus's day had a really simple answer to that question. You crushed the rebel. What did Jesus do when we had flaunted his glory? Did he come down and crush us? Set up an ark of triumph in heaven and have angels sing songs about how quickly he destroyed us? Is that what he did?

Well, let me show you. Philippians 2 six, though Jesus was in the form of God, he didn't count equality with God, a thing to be held on to. No, he made himself nothing taking the form of a servant. He did what?

What? He didn't play the God card. He lived as a servant. And then he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Instead of crushing the traders, he offered himself up to be crushed by them for their sin, for their treachery as they taunted him.

Most of us would have a hard enough time dying for a friend. But now here he is dying for his enemies, the traders, as they spit in his face and they mock him. In other words, God says, you painted me out of the picture. You shoved me to the side. You rebelled against me. And so here's what I'm going to do.

I'll show you. You can almost hear Paul yelling. Is he not worthy to receive glory from you? He's twice worthy of your glory. He's twice worthy of your glory once as your creator.

And secondly, as your savior. Listen, you will never understand your purpose until you get that. That it's not about you. What if there's sickness that's in your life? What if it's not about you? What if that missed opportunity? What if that's not about you? What if that difficult relationship is not about you? What if this chapter of singleness is not about you? What if it's about giving God glory?

You see, many of you are at a place where you want to get God back into your life. Some of you need to have what we call around here a Copernican revolution of the soul. You remember seventh grade science class? Copernicus was the guy that figured out that the earth was not in the middle of the universe. Up until that point, everybody looked out in the sky and saw the movement and thought, well, clearly we're at the middle. Everything rotates around us. The Copernicus said, ah, not so. Actually, the sun is in the middle of our solar system when we rotate around it.

You need that. It's called the Copernican revolution in astronomy. You need to have a Copernican revolution of the soul where you realize that Jesus did not come to be a very important planet in the orbit of your life. He came because he was the center and you're out of orbit. That's why your life has fallen apart.

And you don't come back to him by getting him into orbit, but by putting him at the center. God has a purpose for you. See, he has a purpose for you, but it's not about you. Number two, God has a purpose for you. And it's mostly about what he's doing in you. You see, God is more interested in your character than he is your comfort.

You want to know why? Because the longest you'll live here on earth is a hundred years. You're going to live in eternity a hundred trillion years, and that's going to be the first day. So what's going on down here is a warm-up act for what's going on up there. This whole life is a warm-up act for eternity. That's why he's more into your character because that lasts forever, not your comfort because that's just for a moment.

That's why he's more interested in your holiness because that lasts forever than he is your temporary happiness. Notice how many times in verse one, David talks about his soul finding refuge in God. See, you're my refuge in the shadow of your wings. I'll take refuge. There's a little kind of riddle here because where is David's refuge? Well, he's hiding in a cave. That looks like his refuge, but David's saying, nope, this cave is not my refuge. David's army is not his refuge. Saul's army is 10 times bigger than his army. David's skill with a slingshot is not his refuge. I mean, he is pretty good at that slingshot, and he can certainly knock down a giant or two, but now he's got 10,000 soldiers in front of him.

That's not a good refuge. It was not in David's innocence. You know, he keeps crying out to God for mercy. He's not like, God, I've been perfect.

You owe this to me. He's crying out for mercy, which means that he understands that he is messed up. His refuge was in God's steadfast love and grace. That is the cave he went into.

That is the rock of ages. He anchors himself too. That's where he lies down to sleep in God's steadfast love and mercy. David perceives that God's purpose in all of this is to teach David to make his presence and his mercy his refuge. That is God's purpose for you too. You see, God's purpose for you is not so much something that you do for him as it is the way you learn to depend on him. Because we have a God who has no needs. He did not create us because he needed our money or he needed something that we could do for him. He created us to understand something about him and what we become in him is more important than what we will ever do for him. I love how Isaiah says it.

Isaiah 43 10. You are my witnesses declares the Lord and my servant whom I have chosen. Why did you choose us, God? Why did you choose me as your servant? Is there something you needed me to do?

Nope. I chose you that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. I am the Lord and beside me there is no savior. We are not chosen because God needed something for us to do.

We're chosen because of something that God wants us to understand and wants us to testify to. And that is that God is the only reliable savior. That he is the only refuge.

So what God does is sometimes he attacks our places of refuge so that he can teach us that they are not permanent and they will not last. Like David, he will drive you from your country even though you're innocent. And he will put you in the wilderness so you'll learn to find your home, your security, and your identity in him. He will drive you from the things you feel like you deserve and that you really want. Not because he hates you.

He'll do that because he wants to teach you that he is a better home, a better source of identity, a better security than marriage, than a good job, than a life of prosperity. Like David, he will put you in a cave with fiery beasts circling outside just to teach you to depend on him. That your slingshot ain't going to work on this one.

That you're not going to be able to crawl out in this one. But God has mercy and that God can do it and that's where your refuge is. All refuges you see in life will fail. Every single one. Each of you have a refuge. You probably got half a dozen.

Every one of them will fail. Maybe your refuge is your own abilities. When life knocks you down you're like, you know what, I get knocked down but I get back up again. If it doesn't kill me it makes me stronger. Every time I get back up. See, something's going to happen at some point in your life where life is going to lock you down and you're not going to be able to get back up and you're going to die.

Right? And that refuge is going to fail you. Maybe your refuge is what you got in the bank within the stock market crashes or you die and nothing you have ensures anything in eternity. Maybe your refuge, maybe where you go, a refuge is where you go when your heart is scared. Maybe your refuge is just a way that you've learned to cope. Maybe you run to your bestie to complain and that just makes you feel so much better. Maybe it's in some escape like, you know, food or alcohol, pornography.

What you find is that those things fail eventually. You know as well as I do that when you numb the pain, when the numbness wears off it just comes back even worse. God will attack systematically your places of refuge to reveal your inabilities because God God lovingly wants his mercy to be your primary place of refuge. So God will put you flat on your back so that you will look the right direction because he wants your refuge to be him. Thanks for listening to Summit Life with Pastor J.D.

Greer. We'll get right back to the teaching in a moment, but I've got a question for you. Did you know that every Summit Life broadcast you hear is only possible because of the generosity of a gospel partner somewhere around the world?

That's right. Our gospel partners, our team of faithful, generous monthly financial supporters are the MVPs of everything we do. If you've ever benefited from a Summit Life broadcast or any of our other resources, you have a gospel partner to thank. And if you'd like to pay it forward, we'd be honored to have you join our team of gospel partners. The commitment is simply an ongoing monthly gift. And as our way of saying thank you, we'll send you our latest monthly featured resource, a study through Psalm 23 called Goodness in the Middle.

We want to bless you as you have blessed us. So please consider joining the team. Call us now at 866-335-5220.

Or you can find out more information and sign up at Veronica and I last year, my wife and I produced this parenting study called Ready to Launch. And in preparation for it, she and I read a bunch of different parenting books. And one of the things that we found that these parenting books have in common is almost all of them give you essentially a formula.

If you do A, B, C, and D, then your kids will turn out awesome. Here's the problem with that. First problem is God was a perfect parent. Could we not agree on that? And he had two kids, Adam and Eve, that rebelled.

And so did a third of the angels. So the idea that you're going to out-parent God, I'm just not sure if that's a realistic way to approach parenting. God did A through Z, and two of his kids still rebelled. But probably the bigger problem with that that we realize is that that way of thinking caused us to ignore the one thing we most needed as parents, and that is hope and the mercy of God for our children. You see, because at the end of the day, my hope is not in my techniques. Yes, I am trying to learn what the Bible says about good techniques in parenting. But at the end of the day, my refuge is not my abilities as a parent. My refuge is in God's mercy for each of my children. And I say, God, it is not what I can do with them, because I don't know how to do things with them.

I feel overwhelmed. But God, you're gracious and you're merciful. Would you pour out your mercy?

And that is a well that never runs dry. God wants you to find him as your place of refuge. God has a purpose for you, see, and it's not about you, and it's not about what you are going to do for him.

He has a purpose for you, and it's about what he's doing in you, because God is more interested in your character than your comfort. And once you get that, once you get that, a lot of your life is going to begin to make more sense, because you're going to see that God kept you sometimes in certain places just to say, make me your refuge. Do not make that husband your refuge. Do not make that job your refuge. Do not make that bank account your refuge. Make me your refuge. That's love. Number three, God has a purpose for you, and if you are surrendered to it, he will surely fulfill it.

Oh, I love this. Verse two, David says, God will fulfill his purpose for me. That's not a request.

It's a statement. Fulfill in the Hebrew tongue is gamar, which means to bring to a full and complete end, to completely terminate. David would make the same statement in Psalm 138. God will fulfill his purpose for me. And then he adds this.

I love this. He will not forsake the work of his hands. In other words, he will finish what he started. I'm always telling my kids, would you please finish what you start? We got coloring books, about a dozen of them around my house, where every single page has one patch of color on it.

And I tell them, I'm not buying you another stinking coloring book until you finish at least 10 pictures in this coloring book. Finish what you start. What David is saying is, I am the work of God's hands. And God will finish what he has started, that what God has purposed in my life, he's going to bring to a completion. God is a perfectionist, you see, when it comes to his purposes. And God will not let anything come in the way of what he is doing. So for David, that meant that God would save him from the wicked plans of others. That's why in verse three and verse six, he's like, their wicked plans are going to backfire and what they intend for evil to destroy me, God's going to turn around for my good to fulfill his purpose. For David, that also means that God would save him from his own stupid decisions. That's why David calls out for mercy.

You don't call for mercy unless you know you've messed up. David knows he's made mistakes. And he realizes that God is going to take even his mistakes, and he's going to weave them according to his purpose. That's one of the most beautiful things about God's grace.

You see, I'm 41 years old now. And I think about how God, I think about how God has got me to this place. And I look back over the last 25 or so years of being a Christian, I don't see a string of just really wise decisions and calculated shrewd moves. I see a guy who sort of bumbled along through life, made a lot of completely random decisions and sometimes bad decisions.

And God weaved it all for the purposes that he has for me. We got a guy who's in our previous service. His name is Dennis. He's in our prison ministry. Dennis is about to be released from prison this coming year. And he feels like God has called him to be, get this, an international missionary. I mean, talk about a transition from prisoner to international missionary.

That's about as good as it gets. Dennis said, he said, well, here's the irony I feel like in my life. He said, a decade ago, I made a really stupid decision that landed me in prison and I deserve to be here.

He said, it was a really dumb decision, worst decision I've ever made. He said, but nine years into my prison sentence, I meet, and he names a guy from our church who comes into that prison with a ministry. And that man introduces me to Jesus and Jesus totally transforms my life and gives me something even better than the life I had outside of prison. And now it gives me a purpose in my life to use me. He says, the irony is the worst decision I ever made led to this discovery of the greatest thing I've ever found. You see what God does?

I think I've told you this one before. My wife, Veronica, says that a lot of where she is now, you can trace it directly back to a really sinful decision that she made. Not marry me. That's not the sinful decision. She, when she was a senior in high school, she grew up in Virginia. And so up there, you know, it's like she applied to Virginia Tech and UVA. And I know you and I don't know much about that because those schools are irrelevant to us. But up there, if you, you know, like you love one, hate the other, no man can serve two masters.

You got to choose one. And so her whole family had gone to Virginia Tech. So it was clear where, thank you. It was clear where she was supposed to go. She got accepted into both of them. So the night before she has to turn in her acceptance letter, she gets in this, what she describes as a ferocious argument with her dad, who had gone to Virginia Tech. And she is so angry at her dad that the next morning, just to spite him, she turns in her acceptance letter to UVA and doesn't even tell him about it.

Just lets it be a nice little surprise when he gets the first bill later that summer. Just to spite him. She said, I was wrong in the argument. I was wrong in how I reacted. It was silly. It was childish.

It was stupid. It was sinful. But I went to UVA and God used a series of relationships there to bring me to Jesus. She said, and then when I was there at UVA and he was bringing me to Jesus, she said, he got me into some ministry relationships, which ultimately led to she and I meeting.

And then now we're married four kids and, you know, here we are at our church. She said, the worst decision I ever made led to the greatest thing in my life. You know, no, she didn't say that. Um, Jesus.

Okay. And I'm a distant second, but the point is that's not a license for you to go out and make stupid decisions. It's just saying that when you are surrendered to God, he has a way of taking even dumb stuff that you do and weaving it according to his beautiful plan, because not even you is going to mess up the purposes that God has for you. Do you understand what I am saying?

You see the irony. Listen, the irony, the irony is it's only when you say, I don't want to be the center of the universe that God reorders the entire universe to fulfill his good purpose for you. When you think you are the center of the universe, then nothing's going to work out for you. When you make him the center of your universe, he realigns the entire cosmos to accomplish his purpose for you. We've talked about this promise for the last few weeks.

So let's look at it as we bring this series to a conclusion. Romans 8 28, Paul says, we know that for those who love whom? God, all things work together for good. For those who love God, not themselves. You see for the people that love themselves and put themselves and their purposes at the center, ain't nothing going to work out for them, but you put God and his purposes in the center and all of a sudden God works all things together for good. He does it for those who are called according to his purpose.

And what is that purpose? Is that purpose something that he needs you to do for him? Oh no, for those whom he foreknew, he predestined to be conformed to the image of his son. God's purpose was to make you like Jesus. It wasn't something he needed you to do for him. It's something he wanted you to become in him.

It's been about your character, not about your comfort. And he predestined that it's going to happen. Those he predestined, he called. Those he called, he justified.

Those he justified, those he glorified. That's Paul's way of saying God's going to finish what he starts. He's going to see it through. Once he puts you on that train, he's taking you all the way to the station of glorification. So you can be confident, Paul says, Philippians 1 6, that he that began this good work in you is going to complete it because he always finishes what he starts. When you surrender to God's purpose, the power of this promise becomes your refuge. You see, then like David, you can lie down to sleep even in the midst of fiery beasts. You can rise up with joyful song even in the midst of heartache. And out of that dark cave, that cave of joblessness, that cave of pain, that cave of singleness, out of your discouragement and your depression, we're going to hear songs of praise. Why? Because Jesus Christ has become your refuge and his mercies never come to an end.

They are new every morning. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and he will never leave you or forsake you. There is nothing on earth, not height, nor depth, nor principality, or power, anything that would separate you from his love. So right regardless of what cave you're in, your soul is resting in the rock of ages.

So who's at the center of your universe? Is it you, your desires, your goals, or have you put God in his proper place as the focus of it all? An appropriate ending to our teaching series titled Question Everything, Finding Biblical Answers to Life's Difficult Questions. You're listening to Summit Life with Pastor JD Greer. If you missed any part of this study in Psalms, you can hear every message again free of charge when you go to While you're there, feel free to explore all of the amazing and free resources that we have on our website. As you do, I want to give a special shout out once again to our gospel partners, our team of monthly financial supporters who make every resource and every Summit Life broadcast possible. With each gift, we send this faithful crew a premium resource as a way to say thanks. This month, our featured resource is Goodness in the Middle, an eight-part study through Psalm 23.

And our goal is to help you take one of the most popular chapters in the Bible and really understand the message that Christ is our Good Shepherd. You can become a gospel partner or a one-time financial partner today by giving us a call at 866-335-5220. Once again, that's 866-335-5220 or by visiting us online at While you're on the website, don't forget to sign up for our weekly newsletter. Get ministry updates, information about new resources, and Pastor JD's latest blog post delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up when you go to I'm Molly Vidovitch, and next time we'll begin a brand new teaching series called Goodness in the Middle. See you again Friday right here on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-07 10:47:10 / 2023-09-07 10:58:10 / 11

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