Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Purpose for Our Formation

UV `1475/10,000 The Purpose of Our Formation
This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.

Isaiah 43 v 21

This uni-verse declares the very purpose we were created, formed and redeemed by the Lord. The purpose is to show forth or manifest the glory of God, to direct all praise to the Lord. The word “formed” implies that He shaped us in our mothers’ wombs. He also formed us through all the experiences of our lives right from our existence in the womb till the tomb. He is actively involved in shaping our lives. The Lord helps us. He does not allow us to be confused or ashamed about our past, present or future. Nothing is wasted in God’s economy. He uses even our mistakes and painful experiences to shape us. In fact, pain is the chisel the Lord uses to chip away our rough edges and to shape our inner mind and character. Pleasure and blessings are the padding He uses to soften each blow. He is like a master sculptor and waits patiently as we fulfil His purpose – to praise Him. Our primary and pre-eminent purpose in life is to declare His praise verbally and non verbally.

We have been delivered by the Lord’s intervention from the hands of our enemies that we might serve Him without fear. We praise Him not out of a sense of obligation or fear but of love. Praise and thanksgiving opens a two way channel of communication with the Lord. Praise and thanksgiving opens a path to the stairway to heaven that Jacob saw in a vision: as we praise and glorify Him here on earth, the angels bring down blessings and answers to us. We are to praise and glorify God in whatever we do. We have been redeemed at a heavy price paid by Christ Jesus. Hence, we need to glorify the Lord in spirit, mind and body. We are chosen to declare or proclaim the praise of the Lord. Every situation and event in our lives is permitted by the Lord to elicit praise. Hence, we should set our faces like flint stone as we trudge towards heaven. We should be nonplussed as we face temporary setbacks for these too will give us an occasion and reason to glorify His name. We praise God not only with words and songs but by being zealous to do good deeds for His name’s sake. We praise Him as He has called us out of darkness into His marvellous light. As we praise Him, His presence dawns on us like the clouds part for the rising sun. We should offer a sacrifice of praise continually from our hearts. It is a sacrifice as we are naturally inclined to hog the limelight ourselves, to say we did it ourselves but now we point all our fingers upward to the Lord like the limbs or branches of the Menorah, the Lamp of Israel. The Lamb of Israel is the Lamp of the world. All seven days of the week we should burn in His praise in all we do. In all aspects of our life and work, we should bring forth His light. It implies that we should be practical and spiritual at one and the same time. We should bring about improvements, changes for the better and strive to do our best and excel in all we do so that we add credit and not detract from His glory.

In the last few days after comprehending the Lord’s purpose, I opened a Praisebook account in which I write down praise and thanks regarding ten aspects of the Lord or His actions towards us which have blessed me. Why did I choose ten? It’s as He has formed us with ten fingers that are always available for us to use. The Psalmist also mentions that we should praise Him with a ten-stringed lyre, each string is a metaphor for some dimension of our life and the Lord’s hand of formation upon us. Over a thousand days, I would have listed ten thousand reasons to praise and thank the Lord. As one reader commented, “ it will increase our spiritual bank balance.” Our natural spirit is the spirit of heaviness, of worry, anxiety and negativity. But when we replace that spirit of heaviness and moodiness with the garment of praise, we truly become a planting of the Lord, trees of righteousness to bear fruit on every branch or aspect of our lives.

Prateep V Philip

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