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Intent and Purpose




His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Ephesians 3:10,11


There’s a ton of information about having purpose for our lives. There are books, blogs, and podcasts to help us find our purpose. And once we find our purpose, there are hundreds of checklists, suggestions, and follow-ups to help us with our choices that support and encourage our purpose.


Some people struggle a lot with the idea that they have a purpose. They think themselves inferior, undeserving of being chosen, useful to God or people. They think life is just something to be endured. To move from one disappointment to another, until they die unloved, insignificant, alone.


If you are one of those people, I know what that’s like. I too struggle with the idea that God has intent and a purpose for me. I still slide back into those thought patterns that say, “I’m not good enough. Think about all you’ve done. You were disqualified long ago, so why even try.”


But the truth is that God has an intent and purpose for you. And what’s his intent? His purpose? Get ready for a surprise that might just rock your world. His intent and purpose are for you and me to be a living diorama. Yes, a diorama. Bet you weren’t expecting that one.


The purpose of a diorama is to tell a story. But instead of using words, you use objects and pictures to illustrate a story. The diorama tried to explain something much bigger than what could fit in that small box. It allowed people to see and learn something important and valuable through an insignificant art project.


Remember making them in elementary school? You brought in a shoebox and made a scene inside. You made a background landscape from construction paper or paint. Then you added grass paint, construction paper, or something else for the ground. Finally, you added trees, animals, and people.


Having no artistic talent whatsoever, mine looked like a reject out of Frankenstein’s lab. I couldn’t cut a straight line with a laser-guided pair of scissors. I couldn’t make a fold if my life depended on it. Since I always, always, always used too much Elmer’s Glue, there were pools of it all over the place.


I once got a C+ for a diorama I made in second grade. I think the teacher felt sorry for me because I had tried to change my name to Wally at the start of school. We’ll save that story for another day.


No matter your artistic talent, or lack of it. No matter your failures and weakness, God says that the diorama of your life is to let his wisdom “be made known. All followers of Jesus are living illustrations so that he can “be made known.”


You might not feel worthy of this great calling and responsibility. And you’d be right. But none of that matters.


God’s promise is that we are made in the image of God[1]. And God doesn’t make junk[2]. And on top of that, Jesus died for you[3]. That makes you his adopted child[4]. You are a person of incredible, eternal value. Precious to God[5].


We have a choice: to believe God or not. With all the love in my heart, I tell myself and you that when we turn from God, choosing not to believe what he says about us, we’re saying one of two things.


  • First – he’s a liar, he didn’t really mean what he said.

  • Second – we know better, and this makes us God.


We need to humbly receive the gift of himself. His coming for us. His death on the cross for us. And why did he go to all that trouble? All that pain? All that suffering and separation?


The amazing answer is two short words. For us. To bring us back to himself. To reunite us back with him. That is his intent and purpose.


So, now that you know his intent and purpose, how will we respond? What will be our intent and purpose?


Noodling Questions


  • What are the things that push you down, thinking that you’re nothing?

  • How can you combat those negative feelings?

  • List three ways that God has recently used you.

[1] Genesis 1:27 [2] Genesis 1:31 [3] 1 John 2:2 [4] Ephesians 1:5 [5] Psalm 139:17,18

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