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Fulfilling our Purpose

Do you remember being afraid as a kid? When I was younger, I remember being scared of a lot of things. I had legitimate fears, like snakes (which are still terrifying), and I had less real fears, like sharks in the lake when I was swimming. However, one fear always stood above the rest for me, and that was my fear of the dark.


I hated being out of the house after dark and always got a little nervous on the short walk from switching the lights off to getting into bed. However, I remember seeing my dad, and he was never scared of anything. If there was a sound outside at night, he would go out and check it.


What I now realize about my dad is not that he was impervious to scary situations, but rather he understood his role and fulfilled his purpose. When you hear a bump in the night outside your house, no one in the family feels a responsibility to go outside and check what it is except for your dad. He is not denying that this could be a scary situation or that it is not at least a little freaky to head out into the night. However, he understands that it is his job to go out and investigate.


In Philippians 1, Paul talks about playing his role and fulfilling his purpose:


12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.


In this situation, Paul is not denying the scary reality of being in jail. He is not pretending the chains do not exist or that persecution and suffering are fictitious. Rather, what Paul is doing is acknowledging a scary reality and still pressing forward to continue in his purpose of sharing the gospel. Just like your dad when he heads into the night, he is embracing a scary reality to fulfill his deeper purpose.


Sharing the gospel in many ways can be a scary thing. It can be hard even with the people we are closest to, as it forces us to go out on a limb that can be uncomfortable. However, just like Paul, we must embrace this scary reality and continue forward to fulfill our divine purpose.


Sharing the gospel is not simply a job for Paul, but rather it is a purpose given to every believer, and we should charge boldly with this divine mandate because when God asks us to do something, we can be confident that he will help us accomplish it as well. This week, we should acknowledge the scary reality that comes with sharing this gospel, and at the same time we should continue forward without fear as we take steps to fulfill our purpose and do the thing that God has asked us to do.


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