“11 For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the Lord. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope. 12 When you call out to me and come to me in prayer, I will hear your prayers. 13 When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you. If you seek me with all your heart and soul.”
Jeremiah 29:11-13 NET
Your Father created you on purpose and for a purpose. In His Word He declares that He has good plans for you; plans of prosperity, peace and well-being; a future filled with hope. This portrays God in a way that many people (even Christians) don’t see Him. Religion focuses on man’s efforts to be accepted by God, whereas true Christianity focuses on Christ’s efforts – which made a way for man to be accepted by God through faith. Religion focuses on right doing, whereas true Christianity is about relationship with God, which brings about a heart change, which in turn leads to right doing. Religion has portrayed God as someone cold and distant; someone who has extremely high standards and is very judgemental; and if you want to interact with this God you would need to be a very good person. When people see God like this they misrepresent Him, and become harsh, cruel and judgemental towards others. I know – I used to be like that. But Jesus came to reveal the heart of the Father. That’s why Jesus said: “If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father!” (John 14:9). He perfectly represented God: our loving heavenly Dad who only has good plans for us, plans of prosperity, peace and well-being; a future filled with hope.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 not only reveals that God has good plans for our lives, but it reveals that God primarily desires to have relationship with us. God starts off by saying, “I have great plans for you” and then He goes on to talk about how if you call to Him, He will answer you, and if you seek Him, you’ll find Him. It’s important to get this: our primary calling is to enjoy relationship with God and everything else (including what job you’re called to) flows from knowing Him and enjoying a friendship with Him. Your vocation isn’t eternal – but your relationship with God is.
The reality is that you might reach a certain level of worldly success apart from relationship with God, but you will never enjoy it as much as you could have if you had done it in relationship with God. God doesn’t just want to fellowship with you on a Sunday or for a few minutes before the day starts; He actually wants to go to work with you. There is much more to your calling than a job and making money, and you will never reach your potential and walk in your destiny unless you seek to live in a growing relationship with God, where you’re doing life with Him, you’re seeking His leading in every situation and where you have the attitude of “not my will but yours, Father.”
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
John 3:16 ASV
Religion has led us to believe that the only reason Jesus came was for our eternity – and if that was all that there was to salvation, it would be more than we deserve and it would be wonderful! But there is so much more to salvation that forgiveness of sins and going to heaven. We read John 3:16 and automatically think that Jesus came to give us our fire-insurance so that we can go to heaven, but “eternal life” doesn’t mean “living forever”, it means much more than that.
“This is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent.”
John 17:3 GW
Jesus states that His purpose for being sent to earth was to save us from perishing and give us eternal life (john 3:16), and in John 17:3, Jesus defines eternal life as knowing God (a relationship). Jesus’ main purpose for coming to earth wasn’t to point out your wrongs and help you become a better person (John 3:17). His aim also wasn’t to get you to commit to living according to the Ten Commandments. His whole purpose was to make a way for you to have a friendship with God.