Maybe this has been a tough year for you, and you are wondering, “Why am I here?” May be you feel ‘beaten up’, by the trials of life, or ‘spiritually dehydrated’ by the opposition you have faced. Either way there are times believers should be reminded of their purpose in the world. As Jesus uttered His high priestly prayer in John 17, He acknowledged the placement of believers in the world. In verse 11 Jesus said, “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, . . .”
Consider three reasons why the Lord has placed His people in the world. First of all, Christ left believers on earth in order that they might be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. The prophet Isaiah was tenderly aware of Messiah’s coming, when He declared in Isaiah 9:2 “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light. . .” It was Jesus’ plan for His followers to continually reflect that light in His earthly absence. Furthermore, Jesus desired that believers serve as the salt of the earth. In a world gone mad with moral decay, the only hope from total corruption are the churches faithfully preaching the Word of God scattered throughout the earth. Therefore, being His salt and light we serve as His witnesses for the spread of the gospel.
Secondly, the Lord has left believers in the world in order for Christ-like character to be formed in them. The Apostle Paul expressed such hope for believers in Galatians 4:19, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you. . .” In Colossians 1:27 Paul expressed his hope for the transforming work of grace in believer’s lives, describing it as “. . .Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Thirdly, another reason Christ left believers in the world is so that Christ might be glorified. There is no other way believers can withstand the trials and tribulations of life on earth. The old Irish pastor, Marcus Rainsford put it this way, “Not with our strength but in our weakness, not with our fullness but in our emptiness, not with our wealth but in our poverty, He conquers and overcomes the world, that He may be glorified;”
Dear friend, as we complete one year and begin a new year, it would serve us well to remind ourselves that by God’s divine design we were created both “on purpose and for a purpose.” And while our time to “occupy” remains, we must purpose to be salt and light, while being made conformable to His image, and ultimately for His glory.
Written by Pat Delaney, Field Administrator with Baptist World Mission