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 a 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 asked 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 unconsciuosly, 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, jewelry, cars, hairstyles, bumper stickers, 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.
What is your view of life? You may be basing your life on a faulty life metaphor. To fulfill the purpose God made 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 standards of the 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 a temporary assignment. These ideas are the foundation of purpose-driven living.
Life on earth 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 Abraham by asking him to offer his son Isaac. God tested Jacob when he had to work extra years to earn Rachelle as his wife.
Adam and Eve failed their test in the Garden of Eden, and David failed his test 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 as when you open a 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.
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.
When you understand that life is a test, you realized that nothing is insignificant in your life. Even the smallest incident has significance for your character development. Every day is an important day, and evry second is a growth opportunity to deepen your character, to demonstrate love, or to depen 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 you to pass the test of life, so he never allows the tests you face to be greater than the grace he gives you to handle the. 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 makes 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 earth and our energy, intelligence, opportunities, relationships, and resources are all gifts from God that he has entrusted to our care and mangement. We are stewards of whatever God gives us. This concept of stewardship begins with the recognition that God is the owner of everything and evryone on earth. The Bible says, "The world and all that is in it belong to the Lord; the earth and all who live on 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 a while.
The first job God gave humans was to manage and take care of God's "stuff" on earth. This role has never been rescinded. It is a part of our purpose today. Everything we enjoy is to be treated as a trust that God has placed in our hands. The Bible says, "what do you have that God hasn't given you? And if all you have is from God, why boast as though you have accomplished something on your own?"
At the end of your life on earth you will be evaluated and rewarded according to how well you handled what God entrusted to you. That means everything you do, even simple daily chores, has eternal implications. If you treat everything as a trust, God promises three reward in eternity. First, you will be given God's affirmation: He will say, "Good job! Well done!" Next, you will receive a promotion an be given greater responsibility in eternity: "I will put you in charge of many things." Then you will be honored with a celebration: "Come and share your Master's happiness."
Most people fail to realize that money is both a test and a trust from God. God uses finances to teach us to trust him, and for many people, money is the greatest test of all. God watches how we use money to test how trustworthy we are. The Bible says, "If you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven?
This is a very important truth. God says there is a direct relationship between how I use my money and the quality of my spiritual life. How I mange my money ("worldly wealth") determines how much God can trust me with spiritual blessings ("true riches"). Let me ask you: Is the way you mange your money preventing God from doing more in your life? Can you be trusted with spiritual riches?
Jesus said, "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted much, much more will be asked." Life is a test and a trust, and the more God gives you, the more responsible he expects you to be.