My Purpose

Man working in a stone quarry.

Called for a Purpose

Called by God

1 This is what the Lord says to Cyrus1, his anointed one,
    whose right hand he will empower.
4 “And why have I called you for this work?
     Why did I call you by name when you did not know me?
It is for the sake of Jacob my servant,
    Israel my chosen one.
Isaiah 45:1,4 NLT – Bible Gateway

Perhaps you may remember from the Bible when the prophet Daniel declared God’s word to the king of Babylon that his empire would be “divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.2” King Cyrus was the person who conquered Babylon.

God chose to promote Cyrus for the good of Israel. The Israelites had been conquered by Babylon and forcibly relocated to the Babylonian empire. But God chose Cyrus, and he defeated the Median Empire, the Lydian Empire, and the Babylonian Empire. Then, he allowed the Israelites to return to their land, and he provided the money for their relocation and reconstruction efforts.

Why did God choose to use a Gentile to restore the Israelites? Why did God give Isaiah the prophecy, “I equip you [Cyrus], though you do not know me.3” A common message throughout the Bible is that God prospers the lost for the good of His children. For example:

16 “Evil people may have piles of money
    and may store away mounds of clothing.
17 But the righteous will wear that clothing,
    and the innocent will divide that money.
    – Job 27:16–17 NLT – Bible Gateway

More Than History

You may say, “Well, that’s a nice history lesson but what does that have to do with me?” You have the same banker that the exiled Israelites had. Where God guides, He provides. God is very particular. His Word states, “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to anyone else, nor share my praise with carved idols.4

God is more than able to “ …supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.5 So, no matter where He leads you or what assignment He gives you, with God, it is never about available funds or resources. It is always about faith and His will. When we know His will, and we know He has called us to the task, the depth of our faith in God determines whether God’s will is done through us or through someone else.

Good News

Every person called by God was called for a reason, for a purpose6. Our Lord has never promised that we will always see the successes that He accomplishes through our lives, but that’s okay. It’s not in our strength that God is glorified. He works in and through our weaknesses7.

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  1. Wikipedia contributors. (2023, August 29). _Cyrus the Great_. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. ↩︎
  2. Bible Gateway passage: Daniel 5:26–28 – Authorized (King James) Version. (n.d.). Bible Gateway. Retrieved September 3, 2023, from–28&version=AKJV ↩︎
  3. Bible Gateway passage: Isaiah 45:5 – English Standard Version. (n.d.). Bible Gateway. Retrieved September 3, 2023, from [8]Bible Gateway passage: Isaiah 42:8 – New Living Translation. (n.d.). Bible Gateway. Retrieved September 3, 2023, from ↩︎
  4. Bible Gateway passage: Isaiah 42:8 – New Living Translation. (n.d.). Bible Gateway. Retrieved September 3, 2023, from  ↩︎
  5. Bible Gateway passage: Philippians 4:19 – English Standard Version. (n.d.). Bible Gateway. Retrieved September 3, 2023, from ↩︎
  6. Bible Gateway passage: Ephesians 2:10 – New Living Translation. (n.d.). Bible Gateway. Retrieved September 3, 2023, from ↩︎
  7. Bible Gateway passage: 2 Corinthians 12:9–10 – New International Version. (n.d.). Bible Gateway. Retrieved September 3, 2023, from–10&version=NIV ↩︎
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Yes You Can

But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”

1 Peter 1:15-16 NLT

I read this familiar verse this morning and paused to meditate on it. I usually jump to the end where God’s Word states, “be holy because I am holy.” However, the first thing that struck me today was that this is a command, not some ethereal statement. The apostle Peter, by the Holy Spirit, wrote to tell us, “you must be holy in everything you do.” That’s a command.


What does “holy” mean? The Hebrew word for holy is “kodesh,” which comes from the root word “Kadash.” It means to be set apart for a specific purposei. For us to be “holy,” God’s will is for us to be set apart for a specific purpose, just as God, Himself, is set apart for a particular purpose. Our purpose comes from His purpose.

Our Holiness is a Command from God

As Christians, this passage of Scripture is not an item on a buffet; it’s not something we can take or pass by. Yet, few commands from God are more intimidating. In the two verses before this command, we gain an understanding of how we should prepare for such a demanding command.

So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then.

1 Peter 1:13-14

We Must Prepare to be Holy

For us to be holy, we must first prepare our minds. Our world is flooded with corrosive ideas, images, and intellectual fraud. We have no hope for holiness unless we get that stuff out of our thinking and exercise self-control. Christianity is a full-contact sport. If we stay on the bench, we will allow the world back into our thoughts. Only by actively living for Jesus can we build a wall to keep the world from entering our thoughts and actions.

To live for Jesus means that we recognize the world offers a pretty facade behind which is death itself. What we must do is embrace deferred gratification. A savings account is deferred gratification, earning a college degree is deferred gratification, and avoiding sex before marriage is deferred gratification.

To obey God’s command to be holy, we must embrace deferred gratification. We must release the treasures that the world offer and trust Jesus to provide better treasures1 and the salvation of our souls when He is revealed to the world.

The Process for Holiness

If we follow the process that Peter tells us. If we prepare our minds for action, exercise self-control, and trust Jesus by laying up our treasures in heaven instead of grasping things that have no eternal value, then we will be prepared to be holy, to be set apart for a purpose.

We know, from the Old Testament, that Jeremiah2 and Sampson3 were “set apart for a purpose,” and in the opening pages of the New Testament, we find that John the Baptist4 was set apart for a purpose. Also, we find that each of the children of God is set apart for a purpose5.


But how can we be holy? Why should we care?


Holiness is a component of God’s nature. He is God, and there are none like Him6. Since He is unique, He is, therefore, “set apart.” When we are reborn, God the Holy Spirit comes into us7 to be with us forever8. Before salvation, we were dead in our trespasses and sin9. The Holy Spirit provides the spiritual DNA that we never possessed before. We become alive. Just like the dry bones that sprang to life in the Old Testament10.

As we prepare our minds, exercise our self-control, and exchange our worldly desires for treasures laid up for us in heaven, we come into alignment with God’s will. God is like a spiritual chiropractor, adjusting our thoughts, actions, and desires11 so we align with His “set apart” purpose for us.


Only when our being is properly aligned can we begin our journey to holiness. But why should we care? I can give you two reasons, though I’m sure there are many more.

First, to accomplish the work God places in our hands to do, we need God. He never gives us anything that we can achieve ourselves. If we could do it ourselves, then He would be sharing His glory with us; He doesn’t do that. Secondly, if we desire to lay up treasures in heaven (deferred gratification), we need to be useful to God; that means we need Him “to set us apart for a specific purpose.” He did that before Creation, but we can’t enter that purpose until we can receive God’s call upon our lives12.

Yes, We Can

If we circle to the start of this post, we find God’s command, “be holy because I am holy.” Without the context surrounding this verse, it seems unreasonable and impossible. But as we have seen, we can be holy (set apart for a purpose) if we are willing to make the changes in our lives that prepare the Holy Spirit to align us to enter into the purpose God envisioned for us before He created the world.

Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

2 Corinthians 7:1

Let’s not allow this truth to roll off us like water on a duck’s back. I’m convinced that one of the questions Jesus will ask many of us when we stand before Him is, “Why weren’t you holy?”

Image by Martin from Pixabay

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i: Hebrew Meaning of Holy – Set Apart For A Purpose — FIRM Israel. Firmisrael. Hebrew Meaning of Holy

1: Matthew 6:19-20
2: Jeremiah 1:4-5
3: Judges 13:5
4: Luke 1:13-17
5: Ephesians 2:10
6: Jeremiah 10:6
7: Ephesians 1:13
8: John 14:16
9: Ephesians 2:1
10: Ezekiel 37:1-10
11: Romans 12:2
12: 2 Timothy 2:21

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