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The Power of a Positive Purpose

He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
–Philippians 1:6

In his book “Laugh Again,” Chuck Swindoll retold a story by G. W. Target entitled “The Window.” Two men, both seriously ill, shared a hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up for an hour each day to drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to stay flat on his back. Every afternoon when the man by the window could sit up, he would describe to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window. The man in the other bed lived for the times when his world would be broadened by the activity and color of the outside world. The window overlooked a park with a lake. Ducks played on the water while children sailed model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amid colorful flowers. As the man by the window described it in exquisite detail, the man on the other side imagined the picturesque scene.

Days and weeks passed. One night, the man by the window died peacefully in his sleep. The nurse called the hospital attendants to take his body away. The other man asked if he could be moved next to the window, and the nurse made the switch. Slowly, he propped himself up on one elbow to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall.

People who tie their happiness to that which is visible are doomed to disappointment. To maintain our joy, we need a positive purpose in life that is bigger than our own peace, prosperity, and pleasure. And no one is a better example of this than the apostle Paul.

When the Christians at Philippi got word that Paul, the founder of their church, was imprisoned in Rome, they became very distressed. So Paul wrote them a letter of encouragement, assuring them, “Don’t worry about me. All of this is working for good because it’s helping me achieve my purpose in life.” Paul understood the power of a positive purpose. And he had the same purpose in life you and I have–to glorify God.

Now “glorify” is a word we throw around a lot in the church. We talk about glorifying God, but few of us really understand what that word means. The word “glorify” comes from a Hebrew word that means “heavy.” Remember the ’70s? We’d say, “Man, that’s heavy. It’s heavy, brother.” When we talk about glorifying God, we’re talking about making God appear to be heavy–substantive to those around us. Paul’s one purpose in life was to make God appear heavy, worthy of worship to other people. And that purpose in life dictated the way he saw every circumstance that came into his life. This week, we will discover that having a positive purpose can give you joy.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Power of a Positive Purpose” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2007.

Charles R. Swindoll, “Laugh Again” (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 1992), 50.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.


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