To God’s elect, […] who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood (1 Peter 1:1-2)
Life is full of big questions: Why am I here? What is my purpose? Do I matter? The Scriptures are very interested to answer these questions. They provide us with hope, knowing that we are not alone and that our lives are not utterly meaningless. So what is our purpose? What makes our lives count?
I have often heard it said that God has created us to love him and be in relationship with him. More than anything we could or would do, we were created in order to sense God’s love and give it back. We are beings created for the purpose of intimacy. At the core, our lives count the most when we are connected to our Creator.
I want to affirm this wholeheartedly, but Peter does make a bit of a different statement here. He says that the reason God chose us and the reason that the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives, is in order to make us obedient to him and to be cleansed by his blood. So this would appear to suggest that there is a major component of our identity and existence as human beings and believers tied up in following God’s commandments and living according to his will. Now this is not suggest that mere doing things or being obedient trumps relationship. In this text the calling of God and the action of the Holy Spirit are prerequsite to the idea of obedience, and we know that those who have not given their lives to Jesus do not have the Holy Spirit, so relationship logical must come first. But I sometimes wonder if Christians see this relationship with God as something that benefits them and makes them feel warm and fuzzy, but then never get any thought to the idea of obendience. Relationship is the first step, but the purpose of God’s calling us to be in relationship with himself is to be obedient to him. So if you have accepted the call of Jesus on your life, then the warm fuzzies are not where it should end. I believe the assertion (entirely correct as it is) that the main purpose of our lives is to be in relationship with God can be heard as saying that relationship and feeling good is where it ends. But God calls us to go deeper. And when you think about it, a lack of obediene belies true relationship anyway. True relationship can never be self-serving — true realtionship is always about acting on the other’s behalf and doing those things that will please and honour him or her.