Are You Purpling?: The Battle of Wills
Now you’re probably wondering, “What in the world is purpling? Is that even a word?” My spell check says it is not, but read on and I’ll explain what I mean by “purpling.” You see God has two wills – His perfect will and His permissive will. We’re in one or the other at all times. We are either doing His perfect will or we are being allowed by Him to be in His permissive will. This is because He has given us free will.
So what do all these “wills” have to do with the color purple? To better understand, let me use an illustration. Remember the old-timey projectors at school? Your teacher would lay a transparency sheet on the projector, and the image, usually a math or English problem, was then projected onto a screen. The teacher could then demonstrate what they were teaching to everyone in the room. So imagine your will, the path you’ve taken in life being drawn out in blue on a transparency sheet. And imagine God’s will for your life being drawn out in red on a transparency sheet. Now if those two sheets were lying on top of each other, being projected onto the screen, how many purple paths would you see? For some of us, the answer would be not too many – just occasional blips of purple here and there. For some of us, the answer would be a decent amount – quite a few purple paths throughout your life. For all of us, the answer would be “not enough.” Our will, the blue path, is in God’s permissive will. His will, the red path, is in God’s perfect will. Purple paths are obviously where our will and God’s will perfectly align. That is what I call “purpling.”
I believe purpling is where people are going to be the most content, the most at peace, and feel the most joy. Does the purple path mean we’re going to be problem free and without pain? Should it be nicknamed Easy Street? Not hardly! In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus talked to His Father about the purple path. Even though Jesus, in great distress, asked if there was another way, He was clearly willing to do His Father’s perfect will when He said, “My Father, if it is not possible for this painful thing to be taken from me, and if I must do it, I pray that what you want will be done.” (Matthew 26:42b) Jesus didn’t want to be crucified on the cross, but He did this for us because that is what His Father needed Him to do. So why do I think contentment, peace, and joy will be found on the purple path, even though I just talked about how we will experience pain, suffering, and hardship at times? Because how can we truly lose when we are in our Father’s perfect will? God rewards us. At times, we will be rewarded on this side of eternity, but the amazing eternal rewards come when we travel home to Heaven. During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said “Rejoice and be glad, because you have a great reward waiting for you in heaven.” (Matthew 5:12a) Therefore, if we look ahead, we know what is coming to us, and in that truth, we can feel contentment, peace, and joy. Besides, if traveling the purple path has its hardships, imagine what the blue path will eventually bring.
So how do we start purpling more often? I wish there was a formula we could follow or a magic wand we could wave, but there isn’t. Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27) So for starters and most importantly, a person has to be a follower of Jesus, as He is our shepherd. We become followers when we accept Him as our Lord and Savior, but we often forget about the “Lord” part. To make him Lord of our lives, we need to prioritize Him. Thus, we need to regularly study the Bible, so we actually know what God’s will is according to His Word. Praying and asking God to direct our paths is vital. Psalm 23:3 says “He gives me new strength. He leads me on paths that are right for the good of his name.” For example, when we don’t know what decision to make or how to confront a problem we need to ask God for help and direction, and we need to trust in His timing. But maybe one of the most critical things we need to do, although possibly one of the most difficult, is listen to God. I don’t know about you, but I tend to talk to God more than listen to God. I also tend to be more of a Martha, than a Mary, as I get caught up in serving or doing and I forget to be still and listen. In Luke 10:38-42, the story is told about how Martha was busy being busy and was frustrated with her sister Mary for not helping her, so she complained to Jesus. But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things. Only one thing is important. Mary has chosen the better thing, and it will never be taken away from her.” God says in Psalms 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God. I will be praised in all the nations; I will be praised throughout the earth.” God wants us to quiet ourselves so we can listen to Him and discern His will for our lives. This will not only work out best for us, but it will bring glory to God, like Psalms 46:10 says. And bringing glory to God is definitely purpling. So going forward, I challenge you to read the Bible, pray about everything, listen to God, and trust the Lord of your life so you can create more purple paths in your future than you have had in your past.
*Scriptures are taken from the New Century Version of the Holy Bible.