“Permit no man to define your purpose.”
That is the phrase that kept rolling around in my heart and mind one recent evening. I quickly wrote it down and meditated upon it.
As Christians, we have each been purchased by the blood of Christ. (1 Cor. 6:20) Our life is not our own, but now belongs to the eternal purposes of God. (1 Cor. 6:19)
may will judge you and critique you.
Some will even insult and revile you. But all those who would live Godly lives should expect to be persecuted. (2 Timothy 3:12)
But no matter the hostility that we may encounter and endure in our brief span on this earth, no man should ever surrender his God-given purpose into the hands of another. After all, no one except God possesses the power of perceiving and interpreting your unique makeup. Deep down, we all know this is true.
Man’s ability to judge others is deeply flawed and extremely limited.
In his infinite wisdom, Jesus warns His followers to avoid adopting a judgmental or critical spirit towards others:
Jesus then clarifies His command by way of an illustration:
The New Testament shows that Christ expects his followers to spend the majority of their time confronting their own unique shortcomings and less time finding fault in others.
Jesus clearly warns hypocrites to drop their self-righteous pretensions. How many today are obsessed with cleaning the outside of the cup while leaving the inside filthy and untouched?
It would be an error, however, to assume Christ intended for his followers to disregard Godly discernment.
Quite the contrary.
When the Pharisees condemned Jesus for healing a man on the Sabbath, He rebuked them saying: “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” (John 7:24)
In order for followers to Christ to effectively serve God, they must be able to judge others righteously.
In Matthew 18:15-17, Jesus provides the template for righteously judging others.
The Apostle James later confirms this command:
In this passage, James explains that God alone is mankind’s ultimate Judge. It is He alone that understands the ultimate purpose of your unique characteristics and talents. Even those closest to us only see a fleeting glimpse of our innermost complexities. This is God’s exclusive territory.
Jesus warned His disciple not to “fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul.”
Instead, Christ tells us to “fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt. 10:28)
A life spent attempting to please people is nearly as fruitful as one spent in judging them.
It is folly to seek eternal answers from finite sources.
Permit no man to define your God-given purpose. And likewise, don’t waste your time trying to define the purpose of others.
How much more unified the Body of Christ would be if we could understand these simple precepts.