If you’ve spent any time with me at all, you know I’m a big fan of asking the “WHY” question when it comes to our motivations for living. In fact, I’m convinced that no one sticks with a pattern of life that is effective without really understanding WHY it is effective.
Getting to your “WHY” is at the heart of being able to be motivated enough, consistent enough, and faithful enough to see your foundational beliefs actually change your living. Too many times we say we believe something without much depth of understanding and it shows up in how quickly what we say we believe has so little connection with how we choose to live. And that, my dearest, is why we lack credibility with our kids when we tell them how they should live. They don’t see it in our lives, so why should they do the hard work to have it in their lives? That’s a fair question, don’t you think?
Look at our lesson today in Isaiah 45:11-17:
Thus says the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker: “Will you question me about my children, or command me concerning the work of my hands? I made the earth, and created man upon it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host. I have aroused him in righteousness, and I will make straight all his ways; he shall build my city and set my exiles free, not for price or reward,” says the LORD of hosts.
Thus says the LORD: “The wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of Ethiopia, and the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over to you and be yours, they shall follow you; they shall come over in chains and bow down to you. They will make supplication to you, saying: ‘God is with you only, and there is no other, no god besides him.'” Truly, thou art a God who hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Savior. All of them are put to shame and confounded, the makers of idols go in confusion together. But Israel is saved by the LORD with everlasting salvation; you shall not be put to shame or confounded to all eternity.
All this week we’ve joined our dear St. Isaiah as he’s served the People of God in teaching them the fundamental WHY behind his consistent call to the People to BE faithful to God and to God’s call on their lives.
And today is no different.
Isaiah wants God’s people to realize just what is at stake if they are faithful to God and His purpose, His WHY, for His people. Nothing less than the vindication of God’s wisdom for us. But none of this is for God’s benefit. God doesn’t “gain” from our obedience or love, and He isn’t diminished by our rejection of Him. No, God is complete within Himself and needs nothing. All of the WHY behind the wisdom in doing the hard work to know God and to serve God is ALWAYS for my benefit. Always.
And God’s WHY for His people always starts with Himself. He is the Creator. This is His world. We are His people, the creation of His Hands. Of course, this means that His ways are the ways of wisdom. His creation always experiences the best of existence when we embrace His way of living rather than demand, pridefully, our own way. God also reveals His WHY for His creation in the reality that He chooses to use people to accomplish His will. We aren’t left out by God. God uses you and me to communicate His love, His wisdom, and His message. And He does this precisely because He wants you to embrace your true value and worth! He made you for Himself, dearest. Your WHY is ALWAYS tied to His view of WHO you are! And when you are blind to that reality, when you are blind to your place in His kingdom, in His Church, you naturally stumble with your motivations, strength, and priorities.
God tells His People that the whole world will come to them to seek the ultimate reason for living BECAUSE God’s People know God’s WHY!
Today, how is your ability to be faithful? Is your strength holding up to the challenges of everyday life? If you will start investing your best strength in getting to know your faith and practicing your faith daily, you’ll be energized by God’s WHY for your life and you’ll be Orthodox on Purpose!
P.S. Dear Lord, You are the God of Purpose and Faithfulness. And You call me to a purposeful faithfulness in my everyday life. But I forget WHY You do this and then I forget WHERE I am and WHO I am. Lord, have mercy on me and help me to keep Your wisdom at the heart of my life so I won’t lose my way. Amen