But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God's purpose for themselves,
not having been baptized by John (Luke 7:30, NASB).
We hear a lot about the importance of “purpose-driven lives,” but is it enough to follow any purpose…or does it matter whose purpose we choose to follow?
The above verse in Luke tells us that the Pharisees and lawyers rejected God’s purpose for their lives. Why? Because they hadn’t been baptized by John. What does that have to do with it?
John the Baptist preached repentance. He was all about getting in people’s faces and warning them to repent. Simply put, he was telling them they were going the wrong way—their own way—and they needed to turn around (the meaning of repentance) and go the right way—toward God, rather than away from Him. Because these supposedly successful Pharisees and lawyers had not repented, they were headed in the wrong direction—away from God—and therefore they couldn’t help but miss God’s purpose for their lives because they had willfully chosen to reject it.
Are we any different? Of course not. We all begin our earthly journeys on our own paths. We may or may not consciously realize we are rejecting God and His purpose for us, but whether we are aware of it or not doesn’t change the fact that we are doing so. At some point, if we don’t want to end our lives being separated from God, we need to turn around and head in the right direction.
Fellow author and dear friend Susan Meissner posted a “Yogi Berra-ism” on Facebook that said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” I love Yogi’s statements and always get a chuckle from them. This one, however, is deeper than I’m sure he realized. In fact, it has eternal implications. If we have chosen to live like the Pharisees and lawyers spoken of by Luke and continue on our own way rather than repenting (turning around) and heading back toward God, we will indeed miss out on His purpose for our lives. And when we breathe our last, regardless of how many supposed successes or accomplishments we may have accredited to our name here on earth, we will have nothing to show for the gift of life that our great Creator has bestowed on us.
If we are to fulfill God’s purpose for us, we must first understand where we are going. If our path is taking us away from God, rather than toward Him, it’s time to turn around and go the right way. We certainly don’t want to “wind up someplace else” now, do we?