Dangers of Living Without A Purpose

Janet Aucoin January 14, 2022

As human beings made by God, we all have a purpose on earth. How do we know our purpose and learn how to live according to that purpose as a believer? And how does God’s sovereignty play into all of this? Listen in this week as Janet and Jocelyn teach through the story of Samson in Judges 13-14 and discuss the dangers of living without a purpose.

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Episode Transcript


Hesed Love of God - Joyful Journey

Purpose: the Creation Mandate - Joyful Journey


Determining Our Purpose - Janet Aucoin

Saul sermon series


Biblical Counseling Training Conferences


Janet: I don't just need to feel better. I need the truth. And ultimately that will make me better.

Alexandra: I just want to make it as totally simple and no-brainer as possible for ladies to see that the Bible is really applicable to their everyday life.

Jocelyn: When they understand theology, the application flows out of it quickly with joy.

Janet: It is a journey, but even the journey itself is joyful when I'm doing it, holding the hand of my savior and trusting him all along the way. This is the joyful journey podcast, a podcast to inspire and equip women to passionately pursue beautiful biblical truth on their journey as women of God. When you choose truth, you're choosing joy. Typically, I’ll be joined by either Jocelyn or Alexandra, but for our first full episode listen as all three of us discuss the topic of joy.

Janet: Welcome back. This is Janet and I'm here with my co-host Jocelyn, once again.

Jocelyn: Hey there.

Janet: Jocelyn, I have a question for you. So what happens when you don't understand your purpose in any given task?

Jocelyn: Well, I generally try to do everything

Janet: Oh, funny.

Jocelyn: Or nothing.

Janet: I was going to say I would probably go to the nothing, but way to go.

Jocelyn: And then at some point feel super sad. And knowing myself, my life dominating sin is I would land in despair.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: And feel no idea what I'm supposed to be doing. So I just give up and stop and then feel like what's the point of going on.

Janet: Excellent. And you know, that's true on the job. That's true when someone gives you a task and you're like, I don't even know why I'm doing this. How will you know if you're doing it well?

Jocelyn: Yeah, exactly.

Janet: How will you ever know if you've, how do you know how to make a judgment call? If you don't know why.

Jocelyn: No standard, yeah.

Janet: So how much more important if we're going to understand and live out our purpose in life. And yet how many of us could actually articulate that in a manner that's practical? What is my purpose in life: to glorify God and enjoy him forever? Yes. What does that mean?

Jocelyn: Yeah, totally what does that look like?

Janet: So I totally agree with it. And how could I do it without listing a bunch of do's and don'ts. I know Jocelyn, you did a great job in episode two, going through the creation mandate. So first of all, if any of you haven't listened to that, I highly recommend it because you talked about understanding our purpose, why we're created, how that's supposed to impact my daily life. So now what I want to do is talk about let's have a visual from the scriptures of what happens when you don't know.

Jocelyn: Yeah, that would be helpful.

Janet: So an unusual place, sort of, but we're going to look at the story of Samson. So tell me, what do you know about Samson?

Jocelyn: Well, my initial thought is like all my Sunday school lessons when I was a little kid, which were a little confusing because I was like, why are we talking about prostitutes in Sunday school? You know, I'm like, and what cutting hair off eating honey. Like, you know, it's just, if you don't understand Israel stuff...

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: Or Nazarite vows. And it's like, what in the world is this about? Like, let's just get done with this lesson so we can move on. As a grownup, I actually listened to a sermon series on it that really helped me think about this topic better. So I it's a little expanded since Sunday school, but it is a somewhat confusing story I think.

Janet: It is. It is. So what we know about Samson is it's at the end, it's the climax of the cycle of the book of Judges. And that climax is a great tragedy. He's very oblivious to his calling from God. Even though God continues to give him opportunities to see what he's supposed to be. And we're going to talk about that. But the book of Judges is basically, Israel getting into idolatry, abandoning God, as a result, being overtaken, enslaved, crying out to God saying, we repent, please deliver us. God graciously giving a deliver. They get delivered. They start into idolatry. They get enslaved. They cry out to God. This is what we do.

Jocelyn: This sounds like a fun cycle.

Janet: I know. I know. So this is where we are and Samson is near the end of that. So he represents not only a self-absorbed person, but a self-absorbed nation. And this time, like their deliverer, they're going to end up blind to what their calling is. So if you have your Bibles and your listening, if not, I'm going to read it, you'll just have to take me at my word. I encourage you to get out your Bible Judges 13. And in the end, it's actually going to make sense to your life. Starting beginning of Judges 13, "now the sons of Israel again, did evil in the sight of the Lord." Interesting that in the Hebrew, it says "the evil."

Jocelyn: That is interesting.

Janet: And that's because it was always referring to idolatry. Their never ending struggle. So it didn't just mean, well, they weren't perfect.

Jocelyn: An evil, yeah.

Janet: Yes, it was here they go again. They did the evil in the sight of the Lord so that the Lord again, gave them into the hands of the Philistines for 40 years. Now, if you look at the rest of the book, they're supposed to say, God, we cry out to you. We were enslaved. We were wrong. Please send us a deliver. They cried out. But you know what? They don't even cry out.

Jocelyn: That's so sad.

Janet: They're actually pretty apathetic. And we're going to see in Judges 15, they actually don't even want to be delivered from their oppressors.

Jocelyn: That's crazy.

Janet: They're very content. They're content in their bondage. Either they don't care or they don't know their purpose as a nation. But in the middle of that, there was a certain man of Zuora of the family, of the Danites whose name was Manoah and his wife was barren and he had born no children. Does that ring any bells?

Jocelyn: Yeah, totally. Sarah and Abraham.

Janet: Absolutely. And that should have been a clue for them as well. When you see barren and then they have children, God is usually letting you know he's at work. Then the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her behold, now you are barren and have born no children, but you shall conceive and give birth to a son. Therefore be careful not to drink wine or strong drink nor eat any unclean thing. For behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son and no razor shall come upon his head for the boy shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb. We're not going to get into everything about being a Nazarite, because we don't have time right now, but what we know is a Nazarite was somebody specially dedicated to God, set apart.

Jocelyn: Okay. That's helpful to know.

Janet: Sometimes, temporarily, they would take a Nazarite vow for a certain number of days and set themselves apart. But this is from the womb. And to show that set apartness that dedication, they were given special behaviors.

Jocelyn: Okay.

Janet: To show that purpose. And then he says he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines. So, the angel of the Lord tells us right there why he's a Nazarite, what is special about him. What those behaviors are a reminder and to indicate he has a purpose.

Jocelyn: Okay.

Janet: And can we just stop and say, if you don't see mercy in the Old Testament, here's a big picture of it.

Jocelyn: Yeah, definitely.

Janet: They're not even asking for deliverance and God sends them deliverance. Then the woman came to her husband saying a man of God came to me and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God. Very awesome.

Jocelyn: Very awesome.

Janet: I love that. And I didn't ask him where he came from nor did he tell me his name, but he said to me, behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son. And now you shall not drink wine or strong drink nor eat any unclean thing for the boy shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death. Is that accurate for what she was told?

Jocelyn: Well, I mean, part of it.

Janet: Yup.

Jocelyn: She left out a pretty significant part. And can you imagine a barren woman being told we're going to give you a baby and then take it from you to be used in a certain way.

Janet: I think about it like this, because we think. Oh, well, first of all, I think we initially think, well, maybe, you know, papyrus is hard and this, maybe she said it and they just didn't write it down. So we'll, figure that out in a minute. And why might she not have wanted to tell?

Jocelyn: Why did she leave that part out?

Janet: Yep

Jocelyn: I mean, that would have been hard. She was a barren woman finally getting a baby.

Janet: Well, because in our days, it would be like saying, you've waited your entire life. And now miraculously, you're going to have a son. And I want him to be the frontline fighter of ISIS.

Jocelyn: Exactly. Exactly.

Janet: Let him fight ISIS as soon.

Jocelyn: From the womb until the day he dies.

Janet: And You're like no thank you.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: So Manoah entreats the Lord saying, Lord, please let the man of God whom you've sent, come to us again, that he may teach us what to do for the boy who's to be born. So maybe she didn't tell him.

Jocelyn: He would have known and would have not needed to ask that if his wife had told him.

Janet: But maybe we're not understanding. So we'll keep reading.

Jocelyn: Okay.

Janet: God listened to the voice of Manoah. The angel of God came again to the woman as she was sitting in the field, but Manoah her husband wasn't with her. So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, behold, the man who came the other day has appeared to me. Manoah arose, followed his wife. And when he came to the man, he said to him, are you the man who spoke to the woman? And he said, I am. Manoah says, now when your words come to pass, what shall be the boy's mode of life and vocation? Clearly, he doesn't know.

Jocelyn: Again, he doesn't know.

Janet: So now we don't have to wonder did they just not write it all down? He doesn't know.

Jocelyn: He doesn't know.

Janet: And I love, it's such an interesting response because the angel of the Lord could have said he's going to be a deliver, but he says to Manoah let the woman pay attention to all that I said.

Jocelyn: I already said.

Janet: Isn't that interesting.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: And never tells she should not eat anything that comes from the vine or drink wine or strong drink. Let her observe all that I commanded. Interesting. I mean, the angel of the Lord could have told him, but one of the things I think we're going to learn or see again, in this story, God is doing a thousand things at once. Not only is he preparing a deliverer, he's exposing a mama's heart that might need to grow.

Jocelyn: Yep.

Janet: So he does all of that. I can imagine her desire to cling to him.

Jocelyn: Absolutely.

Janet: And not want to lose him. And maybe think if I just don't say it, maybe he'll decide to be a farmer.

Jocelyn: It won't be true.

Janet: Because really I have no one to take over the family farm.

Jocelyn: Yeah, true.

Janet: There's no one to carry on the family name. It was so important in their culture for hereditary purposes to have a descendant. And now, and yet she lost him. Disobeying God didn't protect her son. And I think we have to remember that.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: So at this point we know that, it appears, she never told Samson either. So what would it look like to grow up and not know his purpose?

Jocelyn: That's so weird. I think all the times I talked to my kids about their purpose. Like. It's like a daily reminder. It helps them to know what they're supposed to be doing or how to respond to hard stuff.

Janet: Yep.

Jocelyn: Like it's such a consistent, constant part of parenting.

Janet: It is. And I would imagine that they talk to him about his purpose of being a good Jew and following the Torah and obeying his parents. But just not even why he had specific special behaviors. So I also know Samson doesn't get let off the hook, because God gives many opportunities, many clues. So I'm just going to start reading different passages. We don't have time to read all of the Samson story. So in chapter 14, verse five, Samson went down to Timnah Timnah is part of Philistia, that's the Philistines. Samson is supposed to be delivering his people from the Philistines.

Jocelyn: Okay.

Janet: Instead he is hanging out there because they have great entertainment and beautiful women. And earlier we see in, chapter 14 that he tells his father and mother there's a beautiful woman down there. Get her for me. Can we just all talk about the parenting moment that would have been.

Jocelyn: I mean it would have helped to remember the purpose.

Janet: So maybe a child centered home as well.

Jocelyn: Yeah, probably.

Janet: Because they say, come on, can't you find somebody in Israel? No. Get her for me. So what do they do? Get her.

Jocelyn: Get her for him.

Janet: So he is headed to Timnah to become one with the Philistines. And along the way it says a young lion came roaring toward him. Now think about this. It doesn't say Samson always could tear him. It says the Spirit of the Lord came upon him.

Jocelyn: Interesting.

Janet: So that he tore him as one tear as a young goat that we had nothing in his hand and he didn't tell his father or mother what he had done. So sometimes I think we think Samson was always just really strong so that was normal to him. I don't see that here.

Jocelyn: Yeah. The Spirit of the Lord came...

Janet: I see.

Jocelyn: upon him mightily.

Janet: So that he could do it.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: So first of all, I don't know. Wouldn't you think that's weird?

Jocelyn: That is kind of not normal.

Janet: If I'm Samson, I just think that's weird. He knew enough to not tell his parents.

Jocelyn: Yeah, to keep it from them.

Janet: Because he's not supposed to touch dead things. I don't know what all he was thinking. He chose to hide it purposely. So we know that. That's not normal. And how interesting that the picture that is you're headed to Timnah and you tear something up. You're supposed to be fighting.

Jocelyn: You're supposed to be fighting those people that you're heading toward.

Janet: Yes. Later we see him, go and get honey out of this dead lion violating yet another one of the rules that he didn't understand. Because why would I avoid touching a dead thing, when in that dead thing is an aphrodisiac that will help me on my honeymoon? What in the world? So I'm going to do it. And he creates this riddle. We're now in junior high, it always cracks me up. It's like we have this man giving a riddle to these Philistine men because he wants to win and show them up. We're in seventh grade, apparently. And then they argue about it and the men are so upset that they can't figure out the riddle about the honey, that they blackmail his fiance who gives in, and now he's mad. So because you're in seventh grade, you're mad. What happens in verse 19, then the Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily so that he was able to go to Ashkelon another city among the Philistines, killed 30 of them took their spoil and gave their change of clothes to those who told the riddle cause that's what he'd committed he would do. Fascinating. God even used his sinful anger to start a fight with the Philistines. Fascinating to me, he's still stimulating Samson to his God-ordained purpose. Even though it's for wicked reasons, but again, did Samson notice I have strength I don't typically have? I have to tell you for a clue. This next one is one of my favorites. Chapter 15, verse four, Samson went and caught 300 foxes. First of all, what were the other 299 doing while he was catching the last one? And then he took torches. He turned them tail to tail and put one torch in the middle between the two tails as they let him?

Jocelyn: I know. How random!

Janet: I know.

Jocelyn: Tame foxes.

Janet: And then they didn't even run off right away. They waited for the other pairs to be made into theirs. So we have 150 pairs of wild foxes with torches...

Jocelyn: torches on their bums.

Janet: And then he lets them go. He releases them into the standing grain and he burns up the stock for the vineyards and groves. Again, he is destroying the economy of the Philistines, but he's doing it because he's mad.

Jocelyn: Because of spite.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Not because he's a deliverer.

Janet: Correct. Later. Now we're into chapter 15, verse 14 so much more we could say, but this is not my point.

Jocelyn: Highlights.

Janet: Can't get into all of it.

Jocelyn: Yep.

Janet: Now he's hiding, cause they're all mad at him.

Jocelyn: Clearly.

Janet: Understandably. And look at this, he, in chapter 15, the Philistines come to the Israelites and now they are wanting to pick a fight. This is where we wanted it to be. Now Samson can come out and lead the charge, but instead the Israelites say, Samson, we want to give you up because we don't even want to fight with them. Now their deliverer is ready to fight and the people don't even care. They're saying, can we tie you up and just hand you over please? And he says, as long as you don't kill me, sure. Go right ahead. Bizarre, but in verse 14, again, the Spirit of the Lord, look at how the Spirit of the Lord condescends to use him not because he's amazing, but because God is faithful to his word. And mightily comes upon him. So that the ropes that were on his arms are as flax, that's burned with fire. His bonds dropped from his hand. So even the unleashing of Samson is all God's work. Yahweh, the Spirit of God came upon him. And what does he do with it? He found the fresh Jawbone of a donkey.

Jocelyn: Which he wasn't supposed to be touching.

Janet: Exactly, now he's already violating it again, but he doesn't care. He reaches out, takes it and kills a thousand men and says...

Jocelyn: a thousand men, no biggie. With the jawbone of a donkey.

Janet: I know. With the jawbone of donkey heaps upon heaps, with the jawbone of a donkey I've killed a thousand men. At any point, did he stop. That's not me.

Jocelyn: That's weird that I can kill a thousand men with a bone of a donkey.

Janet: Huh? I wonder if there might be something else going on, but instead he says, if you don't give me water, I think I'm going to die. God, could you just give me some water? Goodness. And I would say the most obvious clue God gives him at that moment, condescends again. And it says in verse 19 of chapter 15, God split the hollow place that's in Lehi. So that water came out of it. Where have you heard that before?

Jocelyn: Yeah, I've heard in the desert, in the wanderings,

Janet: Yeah. Moses. And who was Moses? A deliverer.

Jocelyn: Yup.

Janet: Years earlier. Moses brought water from a rock. I'm not aware in scripture of any other time. Yeah. So Samson, get a clue. With this miracle. I want you to see your, I Moses like deliverer. I'm doing exactly what I did for Moses. There's a purpose here. So we don't have time to go through everything. But part of what we see is an angelic announcement that's ignored. A miraculous birth. A special calling that is not known. One lion ripped to shreds. 30 Philistines killed. 300 foxes gathered and sent to destroy the economy of the Philistines. A thousand Philistines killed with the jawbone of a donkey and a Moses deliverer type water from a rock. Samson! What does he do?

Jocelyn: Apparently this is just normal.

Janet: He has decided. What does he do next? Well, chapter 16, he goes back to Gaza. He goes to back to the Philistines and another city.

Jocelyn: That he's supposed to be fighting.

Janet: And instead of finding a woman to marry now, he just finds a harlot to sleep with. His sexual issues continue to be what desires are fueling him. Nothing to do with God. So at this point we don't have time to get into all of what God does with Samson. And most of the women listening to this are thinking, I don't even think I'm like Samson, but I think we are, we can be more than we know. Here are some just points to remember. What's the bottom line that we can take away from this so far. So many things we could say. When you live a life without understanding your purpose or choosing to live it, you will end up living a life of ugly self absorption.

Jocelyn: And it was ugly. I mean, we didn't even read some of the rest of the story that we would probably be really familiar with but it was so self-consumed and so disgusting, like as he went on, it got worse and worse and worse.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Just consumed with himself.

Janet: And it's not even appealing.

Jocelyn: No, it's gross.

Janet: It is. I don't know anyone who says, I hope my son is like that.

Jocelyn: Oh yeah, definitely. No one names their kid Samson.

Janet: And yet when we're that self-absorbed we don't understand how ugly it is.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: But it is.

Jocelyn: Yep.

Janet: And you'll spend your life grasping after things that you will lose. Samson's wife to be is given away to his best friend. Samson's mom loses Samson.

Jocelyn: After holding onto him so tightly that she wouldn't share his purpose with him or with his dad.

Janet: But what I think is even more beautiful. What do we learn about God? God still graciously pursued Samson and pursues us. So that we can understand. He gives us clues all around about what our purpose is. And I love this. God is still sovereignly in control. And you know what? Samson is used as a deliverer.

Jocelyn: Yeah, he did fulfill his purpose, whether he knew what his purpose was or not, because that says something about God, God faithfully delivers.

Janet: Yes, and I love that for one thing, when I have blown it, I don't have to be afraid that God's up there going what's my plan B.

Jocelyn: Yeah, you messed it up.

Janet: And now that she did that, I got nothing here.

Jocelyn: Janet always messing up God's sovereign plans.

Janet: Yes, so even though Samson doesn't have a clue God's purposes will not be thwarted by non-responsive man or disobedient moms.

Jocelyn: It does make you think, like, I wonder how much his life would have looked different. If his mom had embraced God's purpose for him and taught him and restrained him from being a little kid, you know.

Janet: And given him something bigger to live.

Jocelyn: Exactly. He lived for such a small little kingdom.

Janet: Yeah. Yeah. So I think Samson is not just about a man struggling with sexual desires. It's also about not understanding God's role and purpose in your life.

Jocelyn: And the tragedy that comes out of that.

Janet: Yes. It leads to death. Without that knowledge, all those rules, all the principles, all the behaviors of Christianity don't make any sense.

Jocelyn: Yes. Just like for Samson, he had Nazarite rules. He was supposed to be following, but without knowing his purpose, it was disconnected.

Janet: Yeah, why bother.

Jocelyn: You would have been weird. You know, all the boys in his area were not Nazarites they would not have been never cutting their hair or avoiding honey, or, you know, all that kind of stuff.

Janet: And who wants to be different.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: In junior high.

Jocelyn: Especially. Yeah.

Janet: Which barely you never grow out of. Yeah. And it's very tragic. And then I think about his mom who we don't know why. Maybe didn't tell him because of the fear of losing him and where that landed.

Jocelyn: And I mean, as a human mom, I can understand like, I long for children that I can never have. And then if God decided to give me a miraculous baby, now I would want to build a little fort. Around him. You know, I would not want anything ever bad to happen. So on the human side, I can understand.

Janet: I totally get it.

Jocelyn: A barren woman finally having a son and then to hear, oh, also the son is not going to be yours. Like he has a special job.

Janet: Yes, he's going to do an incredibly dangerous thing that typically results in death.

Jocelyn: Important, but not what you're wanting.

Janet: Right. And it led to destruction. So what's the, how do we need to be thinking about that? Even as parents and even in our own life, we have to realize God wants more for me than to just be pure and sex. And to, handle my relationships in a way that's godly, to be self-controlled in my drinking, be righteous in your speech. Yes. But why?

Jocelyn: Yeah, he does want all those things. But it's not just because we have a bunch of rules.

Janet: Right, and if I don't understand the context, the behaviors don't even make sense. Then I become either self-righteous or despairing.

Jocelyn: Yup.

Janet: The rules for Samson seemed very arbitrary. Especially touching a dead lion when there's delicious honey in it and here's, to me, the statement that I think about without knowledge of, and the commitment to a larger purpose Samson's knowledge of the rules, his Nazarite status and all the rules that went with it, that was not enough to sustain him when temptation came.

Jocelyn: Yeah, that's true.

Janet: And I think we see that. Here. In our own lives and even as we parent, I hear parents say a lot of times my kids were, they seemed fine. Then they went off to college. And that can certainly happen, but I think a lot of times that means maybe they never understood the bigger purpose.

Jocelyn: Which really is something that my heart just really grieves over because when your kids do get their purpose, they can see the point of the rules as a protection. And if you don't, if your kids don't see that, the second they're free from you, all the rules go out the door too, because you were stopping them from having fun. Their purpose was to have fun. It wasn't to live for any other...

Janet: Which is so small.

Jocelyn: Yes. So tiny, just like Samson, such a small little personal kingdom.

Janet: Right. Absolutely

Jocelyn: Filled with so much yuck, like think about all the really hard consequences that people who live a worldly life full of pursuit of pleasure, in the end, what happens to them and to their joy and to their wholeness just it's so full of consequences

Janet: And absolutely true in our parenting and think about in our lives, the areas where we so easily give into temptation, is it possible it's because we have not embraced or understood a purpose so much bigger and so much better that it would put that temptation in perspective.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: So what is that calling, if we have this calling and we don't want to be like Samson, let's be a little clearer.

Jocelyn: Yes. What is our purpose? Instead of living like Samson, what is the calling that God has given us?

Janet: I'm going to go all the way back to Genesis one. If we want to know, Genesis 1:26 tells us that we are made in the image and likeness of God. What does that actually. But God says there, let us make man according to our likeness in our image. What does that mean? And I will tell you, I've been told a lot of different things...

Jocelyn: Yep, so have I.

Janet: about what that means. I've been told it means we're volitional. Which means we have the ability to make decisions as opposed to instinctual. You know, cheetahs, don't sit around and think long-term what will this do to my health if I keep eating this, but we can make choices.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: And that's true. That is like, God, we have a mind, we have a will. We have emotions like God.

Jocelyn: Which are all true.

Janet: Absolutely.

Jocelyn: But I feel like that explanation falls a little bit short of helping us see the beauty of what more it could be.

Janet: Yes. Yes. So it involves all of those things. But, when I think about what the phrase means, it makes me think about this. Was it 10 or 15 years ago when Facebook came out.

Jocelyn: A while.

Janet: And initially only college people could be on it. We were over the college ministry. We weren't allowed on it because we weren't a student. It was their safe place to talk about us, apparently. So we weren't allowed on it, but I knew about it and I was counseling a college girl wanted to get her connected with other college girls. And so I'm talking to her and, you know, have you met so-and-so? I can't remember the names of the people doesn't matter anyway. And I said, have you met her yet? And she looked at me and said, yes, we just met yesterday. We're friends now. And I thought you sound like a junior higher, who says

Jocelyn: We are friends now.

Janet: We're friends now. And I looked at her and she's like, well, she friended me. And I was like, it's a verb? I didn't know you could do it to people. Well, we know what that means.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: They became friends on Facebook.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: So that had a specific meaning. And now that we are all on Facebook.

Jocelyn: All of the world gets to understand.

Janet: When someone says she friended me, we know exactly what that means. Now picture 500 years from now, they're reading a letter.

Jocelyn: Whose going to understand that?

Janet: And these scholars are all sitting around analyzing this letter from this college girl. And it says she friended me and they're going to have these debates. What do you think that means? I bet it means she went out of her way and did something amazing. And that was how you friend someone and they'll have all this. But the reality is it had a specific meaning.

Jocelyn: It was a click on a website.

Janet: And they know. So if we're going to understand it, we need to know what it meant to them not what all it could mean to us. So back in the ancient near east, Genesis, the book of Genesis was written while Moses and the children of Israel are wandering in the wilderness. So that was the culture he was speaking to. And in that culture, they had about five major kingdoms, Meads, Persians, Babylonians, Syrians, Egyptians, some of the big players. And they enjoyed fighting each other to see who would be the great king. Well, they're still doing it.

Jocelyn: Yeah. Kind of.

Janet: It's kinda not any different today. The middle east is still having all of their issues. But they did that back then too. And they even talked about in the spring when kings would go and conquering.

Jocelyn: At the time of war.

Janet: Yeah. So it's like, oh, it's spring. Here's what we do now.

Jocelyn: Let's go kill people and take land.

Janet: Yes. So let's imagine Babylon has decided it's spring I'm going to go conquer lands. They would go around the fertile crescent. So the only way to get to Egypt is to go through all of the other countries. So they're going to conquer Persia. Then they're going to conquer Turkey up there. Then they're going to conquer Israel. And then they're going to go to Egypt and conquer Egypt. At that point, they're now called the great king and the great king would have nations under him that would sign a treaty. They called it a vassal nation that was under them. And it was really important to the king because you know, he can't hang out in all those areas.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: So he would go back and sit on his throne. But what he didn't want is for them to forget who the king is.

Jocelyn: He's the big king.

Janet: He doesn't want them at some point to say, why are we sending all of our tax money to him?

Jocelyn: Yep, exactly. Why are we sending our best grain? Our perfume Ingredients.

Janet: So he doesn't want to have to go fight them again. So what he did was everywhere he went, he left a statue of himself that was be like this nine foot tall gold statue. And I always say in downtown of whatever country it was so that every time they walk by it, they see it.

Jocelyn: The town square.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: They were reminded.

Janet: And they look at that and they're like, oh yeah, we are not our own country.

Jocelyn: We belong.

Janet: We are under this king.

Jocelyn: We belong to him.

Janet: That status was the visible representation of the invisible king back on his throne in Babylon. And guess what it was called, I bet you know. You want to tell me.

Jocelyn: I do. The image and likeness of the king.

Janet: Yes. Yes. And I love that. So when they heard, God made us in his image and his likeness. They immediately knew.

Jocelyn: Exactly. They're talking about the statue that's in the downtown.

Janet: I am the living breathing statute.

Jocelyn: Yes. I was left behind by the great king.

Janet: Yes, the great king. And I love that God used a symbol of the great king to show them actually, I'm the great king of Kings and Lord of Lords. We know that phrase, right.

Jocelyn: That's what it means.

Janet: The great king and he's letting them know I don't have a golden statue. I have living and breathing statues, living and breathing images of who I am. And every time someone saw that other statue, they were reminded who they belong to, who they were to be loyal to.

Jocelyn: And who they represented.

Janet: And now, that's us, which is amazing. And it helps me understand a little more why the first commandment is don't make an image of me.

Jocelyn: Right. We are the images.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: We're supposed to be the living, breathing images of the one true king.

Janet: Instead of a statue. That's amazing. What did we do with that? We got this amazing job. but when you look at Genesis 11, before they're told about it in Exodus, but when we look at their, given this job in Genesis, be in my image and likeness, and God says.

Jocelyn: And God taught them about it and told them to fill the whole world with future other images of God. So, he taught them how to do it.

Janet: And I love that if you think about what it should've been in this picture just, helps me. They were to be the image and likeness of God. And I think about that, like a floodlight, they were the brightness of the Shekinah glory of God. They were supposed to light up the world. And then he says, be fruitful and multiply and fill the whole world. And what was that going to mean? I picture everybody wearing...

Jocelyn: More images.

Janet: Everybody holding a flashlight and the whole earth is then lit up. You think about Google maps and those places where you see all the lights, the whole earth was supposed to be lit up with the glory of God. And then we get to Genesis 11 and they say, let us build a tower and not get scattered. The worst thing would be get scattered. Let's not spread apart. Let's stay together. Let's work together and let's build a big tower up to heaven, and let's make a name for ourselves. So look at all the things there that's the exact opposite of what it means we made in the image of God. Let's make a name for ourselves, not God. Let's not scatter and fill the earth, but stay together where we can feel more powerful because we're not trying to represent God. We want to represent ourselves and let's try to be God. Let's build a tower up to the heavens. And it's always fascinating to me that God's response was to come down. Like it doesn't matter how far up they went, he's coming down. And when he comes down, it's usually not good when it says God came down and what happened, he confused their languages. And I love, it's just so poetic of God, they wanted to make a name for themselves and he gave them a name and the name was Babel. And the name means confusion.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: They've confused. Their purpose. And he's confused them.

Jocelyn: And as a result, their life has gotten pretty chaotic.

Janet: Yes. Yes. But they also scattered. So again, when God has a plan, it's going to happen.

Jocelyn: He did what he wanted them to do. He just.

Janet: But wouldn't it have been cool if we didn't have to have all the different languages.

Jocelyn: Yes. And we could still communicate.

Janet: So from the beginning, our purpose was to represent God, show people what he looked like to be loyal to him and to shine brightly.

Jocelyn: And that was based on our intimate knowledge of him and his love for us. It wasn't just some...

Janet: which Adam and Eve knew.

Jocelyn: Right. It wasn't just some educated, detached thing. It was like, they lived in God's love. They enjoyed him, they appreciated him. And then because they knew him, they could go out and bear his image. As they did his job, they were fruitful and multiplied. They had dominion over their area of authority. They subdued creation, brought it into his orderliness,

Janet: But we made a different plan. We had a different purpose, but God never changed. And he never changed his plan just like in the life of Samson. We will fulfill our purpose.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: One way or another. And God is so gracious to allow that we see in First Kings that he says, my whole goal is that the world would know who I am through you. We see an Exodus as he is taking them out of their enslavement, he doesn't first tell them how to live. He first provides for them. He keeps them safe. He protects them. He cares for them. He is patient with them when they're grumbling. And after they've learned all about his character, he says in Exodus 19, I want you to be a kingdom of priests. I want you to represent me and they should have been saying at that point, you're an amazing God. And you have done all of this for us. What do we need to do to represent you? Well, and then we have Exodus 20 and the 10 commandments. This is what it looks like.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: So those rules those behaviors are to help us fulfill our purpose, which is to represent God's values. What an amazing privilege and anybody that would tell you the Christian life is boring. Doesn't get with their life is.

Jocelyn: No.

Janet: You are representing the God of the universe everywhere you go.

Jocelyn: Or anyone that thinks that the rules are all just ridiculous and pointless, like the rules were born out of the purpose. They help us to do, to know how to do the purpose.

Janet: And they show what God is like.

Jocelyn: Exactly.

Janet: So just as that statue was that visible representation of the invisible king. We are the visible representatives of the invisible God to all of creation. Everywhere I go. When I walk into Meijer, because I was there, people should be more aware of who God is, what their relationship to him should be and what he's like. My presence is supposed to show people what God is like.

Jocelyn: Like in my kitchen, in my children's school, in my husband's work place, like everywhere, we are little, tiny, visible representations of the one, true God. We're living statues. And that purpose back in Genesis is still the purpose now. It's complicated because of sin and because of all the consequences of our rebellious choices, .But the purpose is still in existence

Janet: It's an amazing one and that humbles me. And I will say I was speaking with another counselor recently, who said, you know, I used to start my counseling really talking about our purpose so they would understand, but I've realized more recently, people have such a lack of an understanding of the character of God that knowing that purpose is not compelling if you don't know that God loves you.

Jocelyn: And if you don't know anything about God, then he's just whatever you've conceived in your mind. He is.

Janet: And that might not be worth, I don't want to represent,

Jocelyn: Why would I want to represent my wrong view of God? He was mean. He was ugly.

Janet: So I would say right now, go back and listen to the episodes on the Hesed love of God. Know what your God is like, and then know he said show everyone else what I'm like.

Jocelyn: Yes.

Janet: And I'm not the most accurate representative around, but that motivates me to get on my knees, to ask for his help. Now I'm in his word, not to say, check off the box, look what I did. I don't pray so that I can say I got my moments in now God has to bless me because I did right. I don't go to church. So people go, she never misses. I don't serve so people will say, isn't she amazing? Are you kidding me? I want to know all about God, because I'm his ambassador. And because he loves me like that, I want to live in a way that honors him. And now I want to love other people.

Jocelyn: And give me a context within which to do it. So, my work is the context where I live it out. It's not just what I do to go be successful. My parenting is the context. I don't just parent to get children who obey and who will go to college and never leave. Like the context of parenting for me is where I live out my purpose of letting who God is be well-known.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Accurately seen.

Janet: But I remember when you used to talk about, for the fame of his name,

Jocelyn: for the fame of his name from Psalm 145. Yes. I love that passage.

Janet: That's what we are living for the fame of his name. And because of that, there are demands on our behavior because I need to know what that looks like. You may even experience God's work in your life just like Samson, probably not miraculous strength, but in other ways, as God is putting you in situations where you can get a clue, what are you going to live out? Who are you going to live for? But if your idea of Christianity never gets beyond the rules and the regulations. And you never understand your larger purpose. You're going to fail.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Viewing Christianity as a set of do's and don'ts will not sustain you. When the world tempts you with that sweet honey, whatever that is, you're not going to have what it takes to resist. I love Thomas Watson's quote that the expulsive power of a new affection.

Jocelyn: Yesh.

Janet: If I want to get rid of these temptations, it's a new affection.

Jocelyn: Love something better,

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Love something bigger.

Janet: And then know I was designed for something bigger, the rules in isolation from their divine purpose are arbitrary. So purpose precedes behavior. So I have to say this then my behavior then shows in that moment, what is my actual purpose.

Jocelyn: So, if you want to know...

Janet: What you're living for,

Jocelyn: Yeah, look at what you're doing, because that will tell you, like, do you do all the right things until you can do whatever you want? Well there you go.

Janet: Or until it's too hard or until it doesn't seem to get me what I want, then I know. My purpose has been something different than this grand purpose.

Jocelyn: Which is really helpful. Like if you're willing to be honest with yourself and not just like, you know, try to whack yourself into shape, if you really want to understand what your purpose is, examine your actions for a week and see what did you do when you could do whatever you wanted and you weren't being compelled by something outside of you that you thought was going to restrict you.

Janet: Right. And then what you're going to find is you fall short, like all the time. And then I think about, what makes that okay. What allows me when I see how short I come to get back up, and then I love reading this verse in Hebrews 1:3 the son, Jesus, radiates God's own glory and expresses the very character of God. In other versions, it says is the exact representation of God. And I think, okay, he did it.

Jocelyn: He did what we can not do as humans.

Janet: And he did it for me. So when I completely fail again, I get to run back to that throne, which Hebrews tells me is now a throne of grace, if I'm in Christ. And I get to run and get help and understand from the beginning of time, this was God's plan for us and we were never able to do it. And when you understand that big picture, what you see through the whole Old Testament is prophet, priest, king, some good, some not so good. All of them to one degree or another, trying to live out their plan, their purpose, and not doing it. And ultimately God came and did it for us.

Jocelyn: And then here's the cool part about the gospel by understanding that the wrath of God is poured out on Jesus Christ, at the crucifixion, we are now able to come to God through Jesus because his wrath for our rebellion is paid. And so that's the gospel. The gospel is good news. Hey, good news. You can do the purpose that you were created for. You're not alienated from the rest of your life. You can be returned to live out the purpose that God created you for. Albiet at under the consequences of sin. We do have the curse of sin. It is a little harder to do the thing that we were made to do, but we're able to do it. And one day the glorious truth is that we'll be glorified and incapable of doing anything, but our purpose.

Janet: I really don't even have to imagine.

Jocelyn: I know.

Janet: But it's going to be amazing.

Jocelyn: It's going to be awesome.

Janet: Yes. So when I realize how far short I come, I run to Jesus and know he did it for. He did it in my place and now he'll help me to be able to do that. So then we have to just ask ourselves, do you understand your purpose? Do you understand the reason for the standards God has given you? Do you know how to fulfill your purpose? Do you want to fulfill your purpose? And if part of you is going, I wish I wanted that more than I would say spend more time understanding the character of God and the character of man. Because it's amazing. And it will draw me to that. But I do think, you know, we were talking earlier, Jocelyn, when you think about Samson and that sermon series that I hope we would be able to link to in our show notes. He was a rebel.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: And in America, that's kind of a cool thing.

Jocelyn: It's kind of really cool actually. Like, and my husband and I have been reflecting a lot on the warning that God gave to Adam and Eve to stay away from the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Because it understanding evil was not good for you. And it had this terrible consequence. It will cause you to die. It will kill you. And so, as my husband and I have been talking about this concept, it's helped us as an application of this topic to just be more careful with evil and to not messing around with it. Like it's caused us to examine our songs, like we had already given up a lot of wicked songs that we used to listen to, but it even made me just relook at some of the more, like what seemed innocent songs. Like if they talk about evil things, it's not okay. It's not something to sing about.

Janet: If they don't make evil sound evil.

Jocelyn: Right. If they're making evil sound like not, they're not making it sound terrible, but they're also making it sound like it's not a big deal.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: And so even like the movies that we watch, which we've already refined so much, but like we were willing to overlook tiny little things, cause like, oh, it's just a little bit of evil. It's not that big of a deal. Like, as we've thought about this more recently over the last couple of months, like rebellion in any form, it's a big deal.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: And rebelling against our purpose, rebelling against what God says is the right way to live. It is a big deal and evil is not little. And so it's helped us to really pursue holiness in a different way. Not because like, we need to be like holy people in our identity. Like, we want you to know that we're holy, like, dude, because we want to be holy. We don't want to know evil. We don't want to embrace rebellion.

Janet: And so what I see there is, again, God is not one, facet. He's all of that. And when we think about, on the one hand, it's a beautiful purpose that draws us because it's so much better than anything we have. He also gives us the warnings. If you choose to not follow this purpose, rebellion is not going to end well. And when I talk to people, I think we have a tendency to talk about our sin using terms that don't sound so bad in America. He's a rebel. Really just sounds like he charted his own course. It was not a...

Jocelyn: No one stopping him. q

Janet: That's right. I'll do it my way.

Jocelyn: That's what I was just thinking. I do it my way I get it done.

Janet: Yes. And I'm independent. That's America.

Jocelyn: We are so proud of our independence.

Janet: Yes. So I think one of the things I encourage us to think about is using biblical terms. Rebellion even sounds a little worse than maybe...

Jocelyn: Stubbornly independent.

Janet: Stubborn. Yes. It's like, I know I have a hard time being dependent on people, but, but I don't hate that. So I was meeting with one person and we were, and I've done this with several. Let's think about where you struggle with sin and not living out your purpose. Because in that moment, you're saying I know a better purpose. Representing the God of the universe and his values, that's going to mean dying to self. That's going to mean loving others more than me. Nah, I got a better purpose and it doesn't sound so bad. And then we read first Samuel 15:23. And I just want them to think about how God describes that rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and stubbornness is as bad as worshiping idols.

Jocelyn: That's kind of hard to take. Stubbornness is idolatry.

Janet: Yes. And but we say, well, stubborn American and go, okay, here's what you now need to start saying. I am dabbling in idolatry. Not a big deal. Right. I need to hate my sin and love my purpose. And they go together. I don't have to just sit around going to hate my sin. What helps me hate my sin is knowing purpose.

Jocelyn: Loving my purpose. Yeah.

Janet: But they go together. So it may be in my life thinking through where are the areas I give into temptation a lot, because there's something I'm loving that God hates. How can I grow to hate it? In one way, see from scripture, what God says about it, not what America says about it. And at the same time, saturate in the love of God, the character of God, the purpose God has given you, that is so much better, that will help you want to be holy and want to run from evil, not play with it. Not how much can I do before it gets really bad. Why would I do that if it's going to lead to death? So I don't want to be like Samson. I don't want to not know my purpose. And as a result, live a self-absorbed ugly life. And I don't want to reject my purpose believing I know better. And so that is my prayer for us today and for our listeners as well. So thank you for joining us this episode, and I pray that you'll be back for our next episode in a couple of weeks.

To keep from missing any future episodes, please sign up for our newsletter on our webpage joyfuljourneypod.com. From there you can also subscribe to this podcast on Apple, Google, or Spotify. You can also visit us on our Facebook page or Instagram at Joyful Journey Podcast. If you have questions or comments for us, you can email us at joyfuljourneyquestions@outlook.com. Joyful Journey Podcast is a ministry of Faith Bible Seminary. All proceeds go to offset costs of this podcast and toward scholarships for women to receive their MABC through Faith Bible Seminary.

Host Janet and her husband, Brent, also speak at a variety of conferences as a way to raise money for the seminary. If you want to look at what they offer or book them for a conference, go to their website.

Janet Aucoin


Janet is the Director of Women's Ministry at Faith Church (Lafayette, IN); Host of the Joyful Journey Podcast (helping women learn that when you choose truth you choose joy); ACBC certified; teacher in Faith Community Institute; Coordinator of FBS seminary wives fellowship, retreat and conference speaker; B.S. Human Resources, University of South Florida.