Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year's Day: Purpose, Fulfillment and Affirmation


Perhaps unlike any other day of the year New Year’s day stirs up and evokes a desire and aspirations for something more in us. We may or may not do anything about those stirrings within us. Nonetheless, they tend to arise in us or at the very least we hear about family and friends who have those stirrings as they go into the new year. It may be something selfish for ourselves or something altruistic for others, but either way these two share something in common. What selfishness and altruism share in common is a deliberateness to do something.

We create an action plan to bring to fruition the purpose for what we believe we need to or want to do in our lives. The plan may have some markers along the way
or at a particular point when we will be able to declare that we have indeed accomplished or fulfilled the purpose of our intentions. Lastly, they involve some form of acknowledgement or celebration to affirm for ourselves and for others the fulfillment of what we purposed in the beginning.

Purpose, fulfillment and affirmation

Does this sound familiar? Does it sound like a no-brainer because, after-all, we all do these things, right? Does it have a scientific familiar ring? Does it have a theological familiar ring? The fact is that one can be as clueless and opposed to science and theology and still live his or her daily life repeatedly doing things with a purpose, fulfilling that purpose, and then declaring and affirming that they have fulfilled what they purposed to do in the beginning. Purpose, fulfillment and affirmation are innate and inherent latent manifestations in human beings. These actions of the heart, mind, soul and strength are part of the life of a food server and a doctor, but they are also how Jesus defined love towards God by believers:


cause and effect

These actions are often summarized and synthesized by some, as cause and effect. This may be true, but this is only partially true. The truth is that unlike the cause and effect, which is often cited and much touted by some particularly in the realm of nature, says nothing about the human response to that cause and effect. In other words, and as is often the case, it is a mere detached observation. There is no involvement, no engagement, no inference and no conclusion drawn beyond that cause and effect. Merely to adhere an affirmation sticker to that cause and effect is not the same, as what is heard for example, in project management sessions and in Bible study fellowships, of taking ownership beyond the cause and effect. There is an even more ancient, fundamental and intimate life in which there is a greater and fuller embrace beyond cause and effect.


It may be tough enough to maintain unity beyond a single purpose, fulfillment and affirmation, but it becomes so much more difficult when it involves simply one other person such as in marriage life. Yet, marriage between a man and a woman is the first and oldest challenge and call to find unity through purpose, fulfillment and affirmation between two humans. This is genuine, authentic diversity as in between to radically different genders; different minds coming together to be one.

What, if anything, this might say not only about what we understand about God or how we search for God and how we know God suddenly seems neither incomprehensible nor unattainable.

Although some saints in Christ (as they have learned from those who lead, teach and preach) are quick to cry that it is all a mystery and as such not able to be understood; this is not the message of the apostle Paul. Even though Paul often uses the word mystery he uses it to declare that those things which had been hidden and not revealed and understood have now been made known to the saints in Christ.

This is is what the apostle Paul revealed to the saints in Christ in the church in the city of Ephesus in chapter one of his letter to the Ephesians. I encourage you to read and re-read the chapter. What Paul declares in that chapter is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Even more, Paul also reveals not mere labels of these living entities, but he specifies the role and relationship of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; the God who is one, towards human beings.

purpose - - - in the Father

What the Father did, even before the foundation of the world, Paul states, was that he purposed to redeem and adopt a people for himself.

fulfillment - - - in the Son

What the Son did was to fulfill the kind intention of the will of the Father.

affirmation - - - in the Holy Spirit

What the Holy Spirit did is he affirmed, that is, he sealed those who are continually coming to believe in and put their trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior.

God is one

When Moses pronounced that the Lord is our God, the Lord is one, (Deuteronomy 6) his point was no more to simplify God for Israel than to give a numeric, quantified primer on God as one, two, three, four, etc. It was a glimpse in the revelation of the will of God as to his unity. It was a unity which has resonated throughout the ages and which Paul states has been revealed in the purpose, fulfillment and affirmation of the work of God.

Specifically, it was to impress on Israel that what God said was to be obeyed, what Moses said was to be obeyed, what the prophets said was to be obeyed, what Jesus said was of the Father was to be obeyed, what the apostles said was of the Holy Spirit was to be obeyed, and what the saints in Christ read in the word of God, the written word, is to be obeyed. This is unity. This is one without variation in and from the God who is one; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.


Something which I have observed over the years is how much of our struggles involve trying to flee. Even more, we conjure up schemes which themselves reflect the unavoidable and inevitable purpose, fulfillment and affirmation inherent among humans, but which often take on a much bigger and more convoluted makeup than whatever it is from which we flee.

The Holy Spirit is as simple as He is profound in his ways. He is ultimately the last one sent into the world to finish the word of the Father and Son; the God who is one. Despite the mockery of the unbelieving the truth is that the Holy Spirit represents the ultimate in intelligence. Of course, what should be the response to such simple, profound and undeniable intelligence of the unbelieving, but to flee in search of extraterrestrial intelligence, or in lieu of that, artificial intelligence.

The Holy Spirit is an intelligent living entity and the purpose, fulfillment and affirmation which he has made known through the written revelation, as I stated at the beginning, is nothing new. Do not be deceived. This intelligence is not limited to so-called religion or so-called religious settings, but the difference between whether the Holy Spirit, that intelligence, as Jesus said, is with you or in you is whether or not you respond to Him. This intelligence is common to the sheepherder just as much as to the engineer.

Intelligence, like authority when it is questioned, compels anyone who would engage with intelligence or to question authority to draw their own inference and conclusions. This is not something which one person can do for another person. It is for every individual to examine with a purpose, fulfillment and affirmation of their own those things which are before them not just on New Years day, but throughout their lives. Intelligence is knowledge and as such, not inanimate, but life. It is not to be dismissed as a mere cause and effect and to walk by and away from it. No wonder Jesus said, the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.

Whether or not we acknowledge or accept it how and when we purpose to fill and affirm our intentions is a reflection of the intelligent God in whose image we have been created.

So, yes, by all means. Be deliberate. Plan whatever you purpose to fulfill and affirm in 2016. Happy New Year’s day!! Rejoice in the Lord.

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