Proof or Purpose
Photo Credit David Turner
Hey y’all, Shari here!
I don’t know about you, but when people doubt or misjudge me, I want to prove them wrong.
I want to show them that what they thought about me was false. As a result, my behavior would often stem from proof, rather than purpose. You’re probably thinking, Well, that isn’t so bad. Until it is.
I will never forget when my father put me out of the house. Someone told me that he said, “She probably won’t even finish high school.” I set out to prove him wrong. I would be a success no matter what!
Well, that led to some unethical choices, and I believe it elongated the path to purpose for me. See working from proving motives rather than purpose motives will take you off course. Look at Jesus for instance. His earthly ministry is about to begin, but first, the Holy Spirit leads him into the wilderness to be tempted.
More than one gospel writer chronicles this event, but I am particularly reading the account that Luke gave. In chapter 4, we find Jesus having fasted for 40 days when the devil arrives to tempt Him. The enemy doesn’t bring women, gambling, drugs, or booze. He asks Jesus to prove Himself.
If you are who you say you are do this, or that, or the other thing. Three times the enemy asked Jesus to show and prove. Three times Jesus said, “Nah, I’m good.” He reminded the enemy three times what God had said about humans.
People shouldn’t only live for their belly. People should worship only the Lord. People should not test God in daring, presumptuous ways. Jesus was the Son of God. His ministry was just getting started. Working from proof would have dictated that He call the enemy’s bluff and raise the ante.
Working from purpose dictated that He share scriptural reasons for why He wasn’t going to do anything the enemy suggested. Think about it. He was alone with the enemy. He could have done it to silence him. But then the account of Jesus’ temptation would have read differently. And we, who read it now, wouldn’t know the way to beat the tempter’s snare, and we probably wouldn’t be saved today!
Jesus knew the glory was His. He didn’t need to prove something that was a natural fact. Not only had He spent 40 days talking to His Father to get through a long fast, but He knew what God’s word said about Him through reading scripture.
So Jesus was free to work from purpose, not proof. He could set the example we would need and complete the mission of salvation.
How many times have you gone off course because you were trying to prove something to someone? How many times have you made the wrong decision trying to prove you are who you say you are? Well if you are, then act like it is a natural fact and refuse to prove it to anyone.
The other piece about becoming free of proving yourself is your faith. Jesus was free to not prove Himself to the enemy because He believed that His identity would be solidified by God.
When He was on the cross and they again tempted Him to jump off purpose to prove who He was, Jesus did not even answer in so much as a word. “Others he saved, but He cannot save Himself,” they said.
Jesus believed that what He was doing would save others, but He also believed that God would save Him, raising Him from the dead. Jesus had to believe the plan for His life would work, even though His situation looked dark.
Isn’t it often in the roughest times of our lives that we feel the need to prove ourselves most? Well, it make perfect sense. If I am struggling in some way, then I had better pipe up and prove I am a boss so no one mistakes me for a slouch.
What’s moving you, proof or purpose? What is the why behind your desire for success? Are you staying with that guy to prove to others that you are lovable, that you can get married? Have you chosen a career that doesn’t fulfill you because having lots of money is one way you can prove you made good? Are you pursuing that degree to prove you are smart to people who have doubted your intelligence?
Is your motivation to bring glory to God or to ensure that everyone knows you made good? I guess the million-dollar question really is, will you let God order your steps, refuse to act from proof, and decide instead that every move you make will originate from your purpose?