I don’t remember exactly when, or who it was, but at some point in high school, I was asked an interesting question:
“Does everything you do have to be on purpose?”
I was not raised in a household centered on God. My brother and I were both given full behavioral jurisdiction. Our bedtimes evaporated at a young age, and our homework was never checked. I don’t remember ever having a curfew. I even had my father tell me one time that it would be okay to “experiment” with drugs if the opportunity arose.
By the grace of God — for I cannot explain it otherwise — our grades were spectacular, we rarely got in trouble, and I never “experimented.” I was a good kid. Other parents were jealous.
After beginning my walk with Jesus at 16 years old, my desire to always do the right thing only increased, because I discovered that God has a standard for his kids. Though I understood that it is impossible to match this standard, it was something to shoot for. I forfeited parties, frivolous spending, hooking up with girls for a night, and the like — many activities that people find normal for a high school or college kid to indulge in. I started living my life on purpose.
The Scriptures presented above reminded me of how important it is to do things the right way and to follow through. Moses has just finished establishing the laws for sacrifices. Aaron listens, and then follows procedures. Everything is cool until his sons step in. They decide to add “profane fire” to their sacrifice (maybe they’re trying to impress their father?), and they’re instantly killed. (See Acts 5 for a very similar situation.)
I don’t expect God to kill you if you decide to skip church this Sunday. These cases are extreme, and they have to do with God establishing something to last, and he doesn’t want a legacy of people screwing it up right away and just saying to them, “Well, kids will be kids.” He does take our level of reverence seriously. He wants us to live our lives on purpose.
My record is not unblemished. I’ve done tons of stupid things. But I think it’s important to think about our day to day decisions and realize that you can have a fulfilling life if you at least strive for righteousness. There is great joy in obedience. Live it and you’ll find out.
So if anyone asks you if you do everything on purpose, you can say, “Why yes, yes I do, because I love the Lord.” It might sound a little tacky, but at least you’re being real about it.