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Purpose 1:5

What is your life?
James 4:14b ( NIV )

We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.


The way you SEE your life SHAPES your life.
How you define life determines your destiny. Your perspective will influence how you invest your time, spend your money, use your talents, and value your relationships.
One of the best ways to understand other people is to ask them, How do you see your life?" You will discover that there are as many different answers to that question as there are people. I've been told life is a circus, a minefield, a roller coaster, a puzzle, a symphony, a journey and a dance. People have said, "Life is a carousel; Sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down, and sometimes you just go round and round" or "life is ten-speed bicycle with gears we never use" or "life is a game of cards: You have to play the hand you are dealt."
If I ask how you picture your life, what image would come to your mind? That image is your life metaphor. It's the view of life that you hold, consciously or unconsciously, in your mind. It's your description of how life works and what you expect from it. People often express their life metaphors through clothes, jewerly, cars, hairstyles, bumper stickers or even tattoos.
Your unspoken life metaphor influences your life more than you realize. It determines your expectations, your values, your relationships, your goals and your priorities. For instance, if you think life is a party, your primary value in life will be having fun. If you see life is a race, you will value speed and will probably be in a hurry much of the time. If you view life as a marathon, you will value endurance. If you see life as a battle or a game, winning will be very important to you.
What is your view of life? You may be basing your life in a faulty metaphor. To fulfill the purposes God made you for, you will have to challenge conventional wisdom and replace it with the biblical metaphors of life. The Bible says, "Do not conform yourselves to the standard of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God."
The Bible offers three metaphors that teach us God's view of life: Life is TEST, life is a TRUST, and life is a TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENT. These ideas are the foundation of purpose-driven living. We will look at the first two in this chapter and the third one on the next.
Life on eart is a Test. This life metaphor is seen in stories throughout the Bible. God continually test people's character, faith, obedience, love, integrity and loyalty. Words like trials, temptations, refining and testing occur more than 200 times in the Bible. God tested Abrahan by asking him to offer his son Isaac. God tested Jacob when he had to work extra years to earn Rachel as a wife.
Adam and Eve failed their test in the Garden of Eden, and David failed hid tests from God on several occasions. But the Bible also gives us many examples of people who passed a great test, such as Joseph, Ruth, Esther and Daniel.
Character is both developed and revealed by tests, and ALL of life is a test. You are ALWAYS being tested. God constantly watches your response to people, problems, success, conflict, illness, disappointment and even the weather! He even watches the simplest actions such as when you open the door for others, when you pick up a piece of trash or when you're polite toward a clerk or waitress.
We don't know all the tests God will give you, but we can predict some of them,based on the Bible. You will be tested by major changes, delayed promises, impossible problems, unanswered prayers, undeserved criticism and even senseless tragedies. In my own life I have notices that Gid tested my FAITH through problems, test my HOPE by how I handle possessions, and tests my LOVE through people.
A very important test is how you act when you can't FEEL God's presence in your life. Sometimes God intentionally draws back, and we don't sense his closeness. A King named Hezekiah experienced this test. The Bible says," God withdrew from Hezekiah in order to test hum and to see what was really in his heart." Hezekiah had enjoyed a close fellowship with God, but at a crucial point in his life God left him alone to test his character, to reveal a weakness, and to prepare him for more responsibility.
When you understand that life is test, you realize that NOTHING is insignificant in your life. Even the smallest imcident has significance for your character development. EVERYDAY is an important day, and every second is a growth opportunity to deepen your character, to demonstrate love, or to depend on God. Some tests seem overwhelming, while others you don't even notice. But all of them have eternal implications.
The good news is that God wants us to pasa the tests of life, so he never allows the tests you face to be greater than the grace he gives you to handle them. The Bible says," God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out."
Every time you pass a test, God notices and make plans to reward you in eternity. James says," Blessed are those who endure when they are tested. When they pass the test, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."
Life on earth is a Trust. This is the second biblical metaphor of life. Our time on eart and our energy, intelligence, opportunities, relationships and resources are all gifts from God that he entrusted to our care and management. We are stewards of whatever God gives us. This concept of stewardship begins with the recognition that God is the owner of everything and everyone on earth. The Bible says," The world and all that is in it belong to the Lord; the earth and all who live in it are His."
We never really OWN anything during our brief stay on earth. God just LOANS the earth to us while we're here. It was God's property before you arrived, and God will loan it to someone else after you die. You just get to enjoy it for awhile.
When God created Adam and Eve, he entrusted the care of his creation to them and appointed them trustees of his property. The Bible says," [God] blessed them,and said,'Have many children, so that your descendants will live all over the earth and bring it under their contril. I am putting you in charge."

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