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"Abiding in Him or Striving to be Purpose Driven?"

Updated: Jan 4, 2023

If I was to ever make a simple Year’s resolution it could be summed up with the word “abide’. Living out each day in simple faith and dependance in Him is really what our simplicity in Christ is all about.

Yet, there are many deceitful countercurrents in Christianity that promote an entirely different kind of experience. For example, one of the most seductive and insidious deceptions perpetrated against contemporary Christianity is Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life.” His book became a raging bestseller and churchianity devoured it hook, line and sinker. Tens of millions of copies were sold, and Warren was catapulted to such heights of celebrity status that many began referring to him as “The Protestant Pope". It’s phenomenal, overnight success speaks volumes about the mentality and focus of many churchgoers - all a resounding testimony to the persuasive power of deception.

Though his book resonated with the many performance driven believers I, for one, I didn’t swallow “The Purpose Driven’ Cool-Aid”. The primary reason is because it strikes at the very heart of our simplicity in Christ. It strikes at the core of what it means to abide in Him. It challenges what it means to rest in Him, look to Him and wait upon Him to direct our steps rather than follow our own understanding. Its fundament flaw lies in the fact that it invariably places the emphasis upon us, our self-striving, our self-determination our self-sufficiency.

Make no mistake about it, Warren’s widely embraced theology reinforces the driving motivation underscoring the performance driven life. The fundamental difference between Christianity and all other religions is their relentless emphasis on self-works and self-striving. It is this drive which is at the very heart of the purpose driven mentality.

When you boil the purpose driven life down you are left with a theology that often promotes self-striving, personal ambition and self-sufficiency. It is this very emphasis that provides the fertile soil for pride, self-promotion, and a multitude of dead works. These are no doubt impressive to many but not to God. No doubt, many who will come to Him in that day and proclaim, “Lord, Lord, haven’t we done many great works in Your name” will be among those who were purpose driven.

Yet, true fruitfulness comes only by abiding in Him each day. As Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4) It doesn’t come by being purpose driven, performance driven, or ambition driven or just driven. Can you imagine Jesus saying to all those who labor and are heavy laden "Come unto Me and I will give you My purpose driven yoke to bear" or to Mary, "Performance driven Martha has chosen the better part"?

In the history of mankind no one has witnessed a fruit tree straining to squeeze out fruit. Nature doesn’t work that way and neither does our spiritual experience in Christ. No Christian has produced a single piece of spiritual by straining to force it out through self-striving, self-effort, self-discipline, good intentions, trying to do what Jesus would do, will-power or being a purpose driven fruit grower. Trying to force fruit into our lives is about as fruitless as a drunk trying to drink himself sober. Genuine spiritual fruit in our character and our actions never comes through purpose driven determination, specific steps or any other form of "will worship". True fruit comes only by abiding in Him. It is by our intimate abiding in Him in daily faith that “faith working by love” is effortlessly and spontaneously produced and directed.

Furthermore, it doesn’t come from abiding in a denomination, faithfully attending a church, participating in exuberant worship, church entertainment, emotionally fueled excitement, involvement in church programs, reading a bestseller, observing religious rituals, acting religious, being a minister, exposing heresy, or by even being a watchman upon the wall. It comes only by abiding in Him 24/7. If you are not abiding in Him you are abiding in yourself, your own understanding, a vision, a dream, a ministry, a purpose driven agenda, a church centered life or some elusive quest.

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