My husband and I were high school sweethearts and married at the tender ages of eighteen and nineteen. At the time, we could not figure out why in the world our parents were freaking out. In our minds, love was enough and age didn’t matter. We’ve now been married for twenty-five years, so I’m comfortable in saying we’ve defied the odds.

If you’ve ever experienced new, young love, then you understand the fresh rhythm the heart welcomes. It beats to a new time signature. Everything a person does is exciting and one cannot wait to see them every single day. After Paul and I became engaged, his parents promptly sent him out of state to Bible school for one semester to make sure marriage would be the appropriate course for his life. Now that I’m a parent I totally get it, but at the time my heart was ripped out at the thought of saying goodbye for four months. There would be little interaction. Remember, cell phones, social media, and email weren’t a thing back in 1990. Snail mail was still all the rage.

We wrote each other almost every day pledging our love for eternity. Us, dramatic? No way! (I’ll spare you the story about him sleeping in his favorite U2 concert t-shirt to make sure his smell was all over it, so that I could sleep in it, unwashed, every night until his return.) I know, right? I digress… back to the snail mail.

I remember running to the mailbox each and every day to look for a letter from him. I was so excited to read his words over and over again until I received the next letter. You might be asking yourself how my cheesy love story relates to activating purpose. Have you ever weighed the differences between religion and relationship?

I had, and still have, a relationship with my husband. Believe it or not, I look forward to text messages throughout the day and hearing his voice on the phone telling me he’s on his way home from work. I love and value our time together.

According to Merriam Webster, the following are first definitions for religion and relationship:

  • Religion: the belief in a god or in a group of gods
  • Relationship: the way in which two or more people, groups, countries, etc., talk to, behave toward, and deal with each other

I believe in my husband Paul, I know he’s there and that I can call him when I need him. But, anyone who knows Paul and has his number can be assured of the same thing. He will answer if you call his cell. The difference is this: I not only believe in his existence, I know Paul intimately and deeply on every level. My conversation with him will be different from yours. I know his favorite foods, favorite colors, bands, you name it… I know him well. I’ve made an effort to love him by connecting with every facet of who he is, and He’s invested in me just as deeply.

You see, God the Father created us, Jesus died on the cross for us, and the Holy Spirit, when invited in our lives, dwells within us. Our triune God knows us intimately and has invested in us. He wants us to do the same when it comes to Him. I should want to read the words in the Bible in the very same way I wanted to read the letters Paul wrote to me way back when. And to make that happen, I must invest in a relationship with my God. We cannot love someone we do not know and His word helps us bridge the gap. The Scripture teaches, shows love,  and gently admonishes us as the Holy Spirit fills us with hope.

To activate purpose, we must discern that serving Christ is more than following a religion.

(You can tweet that to encourage someone!)


Let’s turn to Isaiah 65:24

Isaiah was a southern prophet. His name literally means “Yahweh is salvation.” He preached God’s message to the southern kingdom of Judah, and the words of God Himself spoken through Isaiah are still very much alive and applicable for us today.

It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.

-Isaiah 65:24

Father God already made an investment in your life when He chose to create you and fill you with purpose. He hears you every time you speak, even if you don’t feel like He does. He answers when you don’t think you hear Him. It’s all part of the great mystery of this amazing God we serve. Activating your purpose means investing in a relationship with Him.

For today’s homework, look up Isaiah 43:1-3, write it, and then personalize it. After you do, take a picture of it and share it on social media with the hashtag #ActivatingYourPurpose. I’ll give you an example of personalizing the verse, so that you understand what I mean. By the way, I usually use the New King James Version. Here’s the verse as it reads in my Bible:

But now, thus says the Lord who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel; “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.

-Isaiah 43:1-3

Now, here’s my personalized version:

But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jennifer, and He who formed you, O Jennifer: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.

Doesn’t that make you long for a relationship with Him?

Christianity is so much more that religion.



For more information on this series, click here to read the introduction or scroll down to see what’s ahead and catch up on previous posts.

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