I can hardly wait to continue on my course. I don’t expect to be embarrassed in the least. On the contrary, everything happening to me in this jail only serves to make Christ more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die. They didn’t shut me up; they gave me a pulpit! — Philippians 1:20, The Message
The author of those words, the apostle Paul, knew his purpose for being alive, for existing on this earth. He didn’t necessarily know what he was going to be doing all the time, but he knew why God created him. And because of that, he was excited about life. Listen to him: “I can hardly wait to continue on my course.” Oh that we would all wake up every day feeling like that!
Paul was free—even in prison. He possessed a kind of freedom I wish we all could know. He had learned to be vulnerable, open, his weaknesses exposed, his faults on display, his failures open to public conjecture. But he knew why he was alive.
The logo for a missionary organization displays an ox on one side, an altar on the other, and the words, “Ready for Either.” Ready to work, ready to worship. Ready for life, ready for death. That is how Paul lived. He could be set free. Or he could be executed. The door could swing either way, and he was ready.
Paul had one goal in life: to bring Jesus closer to people. To allow others to see Jesus through his life, to let people see His glory and grace. It is hard to see God’s glory and grace in people who seem perfect, intimidating, and super successful. So Paul had to live his life in prison, and in public, letting the world see how Jesus overcame his failures, strengthened his weaknesses, and worked through Him in spite of his shortcomings.
Jesus had one goal during His life on earth: to show humanity the Father. He accomplished that through public ministry, or by just hanging out with people. His life was filled with joy when He healed and taught, or with sorrow as He wept for those who hurt. He was admired and worshiped. He was hated, He was rejected…and He was crucified. All so that we would come to know the Father.
“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us,” His friend John wrote. “We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14. NIV).
“Man, made in the image of God, has a purpose—to be in relationship to God, who is there. Man forgets his purpose and thus he forgets who he is and what life means.” —Francis Schaeffer