And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. Mark 1:35
Being a substitute teacher has probably been about the best thing that has happened to me since I became a believer in Jesus Christ. One of the main benefits has been finding out more about my purpose on earth as a Christian. The reason is simply because it has given me more time with God.
Before I was laid off, it was so easy to just be a busy little beaver and collect that paycheck every couple of weeks. It hasn't been so easy lately, but it's been so much better spiritually. I'm not saying everybody should be a substitute teacher, although for many of you that might not be a bad idea. In my state you can be a substitute teacher with only 60 hours of college credit.
Being a substitute teacher is very rewarding and the hours are great, starting at 7:30 a.m. and ending at around 3:00 p.m. This gives me lots of time to do what I love to do: study the Word, write, worship, and inquire of the Lord about my purpose in life.
What is Your Purpose in Life?
You may be like me if you mainly think of God's purpose for your life as what you are doing. What is your ministry? What job should you have? I even saw at the school library that T.D. Jakes has an article in Ebony magazine about how to figure out what you are supposed to be doing to be fulfilled in this life. I was kind of shocked at first.
But, hey, if it takes that to get 30,000 people go to his church and hear the gospel, it can't be all bad. Right? But what it told me was that whether you're a believer or not you probably have some curiosity about what your purpose is and more so as a believer. It's taken me a long time to figure it out, unfortunately. But I have known it was go glorify God.
I know for sure we are here not just to do things, but that what we do springs out of being what God designed us to be. I guess I'm saying you can be busy and not be anywhere near where God wants you to be in terms of fulfilling His call on your life. Therefore, I have been asking God to help me simplify my life and teach me to hear Him more clearly.
What is the Place of the Word of God in Your Life?
We may be able to gauge how closely we are walking with God by how much the word of God means to us in our daily lives. Personally, I think it's kind of hard to hear God when we're constantly engaged in social media or texting or emailing or looking up things on the Internet. We can deceive ourselves into thinking we’re hearing God when we’re just hearing chatter inside our head.
I know a lot of people will probably react to what I just said. I understand. I know God can use all those devices. He can use a donkey to talk to a prophet. And, yes, He gave humans the intelligence to invent all that stuff. He gave us the intelligence to destroy ourselves too. So what does this have to do with your finding your purpose in life?
I will stop short of saying turn off all the media and spend more quiet time alone with God, although I do think that's the best plan. I have discovered that the less time I spend with media and the more time I listen to God, the more peace I experience and the more connected I become with God. I am convinced that's where He wants us before we do anything else.
This article will appear in the Fellowship of Christian Job Seekers newsletter for June, 2014