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The Purpose Driven Life ~ Rick Warren (Part 2)

Join me as I continue to review all that I have learnt after reading Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life.

“Christlikeness is all about transforming your character, not your personality.” (Page 173). Character growth happened when you step outside of your comfort zone. As Warren points out, becoming more like Christ doesn't mean our personality changes because God made us all intentionally and uniquely different... it means that we are matured and transformed by our experiences.

In a world that seeks comfort, we trade the passivity of comfort for growing close to God.

(Romans 12vs2 MSG)

“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

(Philippians 2vs12 ESV)

"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

When you are born again, God gifts you with a new life that comes with responsibilities. Now this doesn't mean that you have to work for your salvation because you can’t add to the saving work Jesus has already done on the cross, but it does say you must work-out your salvation.

What does this mean? "It means living an intentional life, working-out your tasks and purposes on life, taking spiritual growth seriously and understanding eternal implications of your choices and actions.” (Page 186)

Living this intentionally means living away from the standards of the world.

“Many of our troubles occur because we base our choices on unreliable authorities:

culture ("everyone is doing it),

tradition ("we've always done it"),

reason ("it seemed logical"), or

emotion ("it just felt right").

All four of these are flawed by the fall. What we need is a perfect standard that will never lead us inthe wrong direction." (Page 187)

The perfect standard is Jesus, and we see this throughout Scripture

(Psalm 18vs30 NIV)

"As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him."

(2 Timothy 3vs16~17 NLT)

"All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work."

(Acts 24vs14 EXV)

"But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets."

We cannot settle for just believing. We must fill our minds, hearts and souls with it so that we can be transformed by God's truth.

We must remember the privilege we have of reading the Bible personally. In the 2000 year history the Church, it is known that only Priests were allowed to read the Bible for themselves. We now have the opportunity to have a Bible of our own.

But are we truly treasuring what this means?

"In spite of this, many believers are more faithful to reading their daily newspaper than their Bibles. It's no wonder we don't grow. We can't watch television for three hours, then read the Bible for three minutes and expect to grow.

Many who claim to believe the Bible "from cover to cover" have never read it from cover to cover.

never read it from cover to cover." (Page 188)

There is great work to be done in the Kingdom, work that takes our own effort.

(James 1vs25 NCV)

"But the truly happy people are those who carefully study God’s perfect law that makes people free, and they continue to study it. They do not forget what they heard, but they obey what God’s teaching says. Those who do this will be made happy."

(James 1vs22 NLT)

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

We must become the doers of the Word, which Warren mentions as the hardest step of all. Why? "Because Satan fights it so intensely. He doesn't mind you going to Bible studies as long as you don't do anything with what you learn."

Satan wants you to stay in passivity, but we need to be the seed that plants roots and grows.

We must be refined. This means we will have to endure trials. But it's not our own strength that keeps us safe, it's trusting hard in God's process.

(Romans 5vs2~5 ESV)

"Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."

Purifying our faith is not about what the external circumstances are, it is about the journey of the heart which is worth far more than gold. "A silversmith was asked, 'How do you know when the silver is pure?' He replied, 'When I see my reflection in it.' When you've been refined by trials, people can see Jesus' reflection in you." (Page 197)

(James 1vs2~4 MSG)

"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way."

Corrie ten Boom, who suffered in a Nazi death camp, explained the power of focus: 'If you look at the world, you'll be distressed. If you look within, you'll be depressed. But if you look at Christ, you'll be at rest!'

Your focus will determine your feelings. The secret of endurance is to remember that your pain is temporary but your reward will be eternal.

How do we walk in this rest? Through thankfulness. The Bible continuously teaches us how the importance of gratitude.

(1 Thessalonians 5vs18 ESV)

"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

"How is this possible? Notice that God tells us to give thanks 'in all circumstances' not 'for all circumstances.'" The Bible tells is to rejoice in the Lord, not in our pain. No matter what's happening, you can rejoice in God's love, care, wisdom, power, and faithfulness." (Page 199)

You know you are maturing when you begin to see the hand of God in the random, baffling, and seemingly pointless...

I don't know about you but I pray that I can learn that path of maturity. Not letting my circumstances bring fear or be ignorant of them, but to live in confidence of God. The confidence that can only come from God.

~ X ~

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