This week we’ll look at Part 3 of Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life. Even though this is a Christian-oriented book, the wisdom Warren treats us to is for everyone desiring to live a life filled with purpose and meaning.
Part 3 – You Were Formed for God’s Family
Chapter 15. “Formed for God’s Family: Because God is love, he treasures relationships. His very nature is relational, and he identifies himself in family terms: Father, Son, and Spirit. The Trinity is God’s relationship to himself. When we place our faith in Christ, God becomes our Father, we become his children, other believers become our brothers and sisters, and the church becomes our spiritual family.
Every human being was created by God, but not everyone is a child of God. The only way to get into God’s family is by being born again into it. The invitation to be part of God’s family is universal, but there is one condition: faith in Jesus. Being included in God’s family is the highest honor and the greatest privilege you will ever receive. Nothing else comes close. Whenever you feel unimportant, unloved, or insecure, remember to whom you belong.”
Chapter 16. “What Matters Most: Life is about love. Because God is love, the most important lesson he wants you to learn on earth is how to love. It is in loving that we are most like him, so love is the foundation of every command he has given us. God wants you to be in regular, close fellowship with other believers so you can develop the skill of loving. Love cannot be learned in isolation. You have to be around people—irritating, imperfect, frustrating people. Through fellowship we learn three important truths.
- Life without love is really worthless. The point of life is learning to love—God and people. Life minus love equals zero.
- Love will last forever. Love leaves a legacy. How you treated other people, not your wealth or accomplishments, is the most enduring impact you can leave on earth. Love is the secret of a lasting heritage.
- We will be evaluated on our love. One of the ways God measures spiritual maturity is by the quality of your relationships.
The most desired gift of love is not diamonds or roses or chocolate. It is focused attention. Whenever you give your time, you are making a sacrifice, and sacrifice is the essence of love. Why is now the best time to express love? Because you don’t know how long you will have the opportunity. You have no guarantee of tomorrow.”
Chapter 17. “A Place to Belong: While your relationship to Christ is personal, God never intends it to be private. Following Christ includes belonging, not just believing. We are members of his Body—the church. The church is a body, not a building; and organism, not an organization. Why you need a church family:
- A church family identifies you as a genuine believer. When we come together in love as a church family from different backgrounds, race, and social status, it is a powerful witness to the world.
- A church family moves you out of self-centered isolation. The local church is the classroom for learning how to get along in God’s family. It is a lab for practicing unselfish, sympathetic love.
- A church family helps you develop spiritual muscle. You will never grow to maturity just by attending worship services and being a passive spectator. Only participation in the full life of a local church builds spiritual muscle.
- A church family will help keep you from backsliding. None of us is immune to temptation. Given the right situation, you and I are capable of any sin.
You can spend a lifetime searching for the perfect church, but you will never find it. You are called to love imperfect sinners, just as God does.”
Chapter 18. “Experiencing Life Together: Life is meant to be shared. The Bible calls this shared experience fellowship. Real fellowship is so much more than just showing up at services. It is experiencing life together.
- In real fellowship people experience mutuality. Mutuality is the art of giving and receiving. It’s depending on each other. Mutuality is the heart of fellowship.
- In real fellowship people experience sympathy. Sympathy is not giving advice or offering quick, cosmetic help; sympathy is entering in and sharing the pain of others.
- In real fellowship people experience mercy. Fellowship is a place of grace, where mistakes aren’t rubbed in but rubbed out. Fellowship happens when mercy wins over justice.
You can’t have fellowship without forgiveness. Many people are reluctant to show mercy because they don’t understand the difference between trust and forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go of the past. Trust has to do with future behavior. Forgiveness must be immediate, whether or not a person asks for it. Trust must be rebuilt over time.”
Chapter 19. “Cultivating Community:
- Cultivating community takes honesty. You will have to care enough to lovingly speak the truth, even when you would rather gloss over a problem or ignore an issue.
- Cultivating community takes humility. Self-importance, smugness, and stubborn pride destroy fellowship faster than anything else. Humility is the oil that smooths and soothes relationships.
- Cultivating community takes courtesy. Courtesy is respecting our differences, being considerate of each other’s feelings, and being patient with people who irritate us.
- Cultivating community takes confidentiality. Only in the safe environment of warm acceptance and trusted confidentiality will people open up and share their deepest hurts, needs, and mistakes.
- Cultivating community takes frequency. You must have frequent, regular contact with your group in order to build genuine fellowship.”
Chapter 20. “Restoring Broken Fellowship: Here are seven biblical steps to restoring fellowship:
- Talk to God before talking to the person.
- Always take the initiative.
- Sympathize with their feelings.
- Confess your part of the conflict.
- Attack the problem, not the person.
- Cooperate as much as possible.
- Emphasize reconciliation, not resolution.”
Chapter 21. “Protecting Your Church. It is your job to protect the unity of your church. Unity is the soul of fellowship. Destroy it, and you rip the heart out of Christ’s Body. The Bible give us practical advice on how to protect the unity of the church.
- Focus on what we have in common, not our differences.
- Be realistic in your expectations.
- Choose to encourage rather than criticize.
- Refuse to listen to gossip.
- Practice God’s method of conflict resolution (Matthew 18:15-17a).
- Support your pastor and leaders.”
I can’t emphasize enough how this book will help you develop a “purpose-driven life” in every area of your life!
You can download a free copy of “Part 3 – You Were Formed for God’s Family” outlined above at my website Wisdom-Matters by clicking on the “Free Resources” tab.
Next week we’ll look at Part 4 of the 6-Part series on Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life because…Wisdom Matters!
NOTE: Please see my full disclosure policy on my usage of Hyper-Links for additional information.