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Upgrading the Purpose-Driven Life

Emil Swift

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Years ago (back in the ‘80s), my “mentor" (Jim Durkin, Sr. ) preached that every Believer had to live a “purpose-driven life". He called one of his core teachings, “Purpose and Vision", and explained that without these guiding a Believer's life, that life would be driven off of God's course and become lost in a self-focused futility.

Even though Jim Sr. has turned out to be right, he still fell a step below what truly is required in a Believer's life. Nowadays, satellite GPS offers a great comparison:

Back in the ‘90s, it excited me to believe that I'd never be lost again. Not that I've been lost while driving often in the past, but it has happened. Then, in the mid-nineties, I discovered an expensive little book at the bookstore, filled with maps - maps of every road in every state of the United States, and of every road in the major cities. With that spiral-bound book hidden under my car seat, I felt confident I could handle driving through any city I might find myself. But I didn't count on room for error. When I studied the map book, sometimes I couldn't even figure out where I was parked, much less where I might go. At other times, I'd rely on a “co-pilot" to read the map book as I drove, until we were hopelessly lost. To my surprise, even when I read the map book and understood it, sometimes the roads in the real world and the printed roads weren't the same. And these errors don't even cover the many times I found myself in one vehicle while my map book remained under the seat in another!

Never did I dream that the day would come when my car talked to me. Not like the radio talked to me, but “intelligently". Through its GPS, cars and cell phones can “talk" to me as I drive - identifying my location, telling me how far until the next turn, telling me to “slow down" and “get into the left lane" as I approach the turn. It even tells me when I've arrived as well as the total distance traveled, time of arrival and whether the tie I'm wearing is appropriate for the occasion.

When Jim Sr. told us we would fail in our lives as followers of Jesus Christ if we did not live the “purpose-driven life", he hit the nail right on the head. Either we're going to live for self or we're going to live for God. Don't think it's too trivial when I point out that Jesus chose to live for us, not Himself. And furthermore, He chose to die for us as well. Having lived and died for us, isn't it reasonable for us to live for Him? Many have called this, “The Exchanged Life": Christ died for me and now I live for Him.

But now that we're in a new millennium, it's time to upgrade - not only our travel maps, but how we live our lives. From hence forward we can move from a “purpose-driven life" into the Presence-driven life!

The short-coming of the purpose-driven life, as Jim Sr. taught it, is that what guides us is a book. Oh - a very good book, the Bible, but still a book. I can study it, derive life-principles from it and put them into action in my life. Or I can carry it around with me, hide it under my seat, misread it and even have my “co-pilot" misread it. To sum it up, the basic problem is that the book isn't the same as a living voice coming at me from my dashboard.

Not that I have a dashboard in my life, but you see the problem? If I live by the life-principles I derive from my reading of the Bible, lots of things can hinder or mislead that process. But if I “live by the voice from my dashboard", that “voice" is with me to instantly correct me if I steer a wrong direction, guide me back onto the right track, tell me how far I have to go to my next turn and even if I have enough gas to get there.

In other words - my life can be “driven" by a book I study or a Voice to which I listen.

The Bible says that whoever has faith in Jesus to save them from sin and death, God supernaturally unites that person with Jesus, by His Spirit. From the moment of that person's trust in Jesus, the Spirit of God is alive within. The Bible says is 1 John (2.27) that the Holy Spirit we “received from Christ lives in you. You don't need anyone to teach you something else. Instead, Christ's Anointing [the Holy Spirit] teaches you about everything. His Anointing [the Holy Spirit] is true and contains no lie. So live in Christ as He teaches you to do. "

Those people in whom live the Holy Spirit, are able to be led and taught, corrected and comforted by Jesus’ Spirit within.

Let's look at that distinction once more. Your life can be guided and directed, by any of the following:

(1) Your own selfish desires;

(2) Your best interpretation of the Bible (at least, what you remember);

(3) The Voice of God, alive in you and giving you instant, point-of-need guidance.

O. K. Which is better?

Seriously, there's no better way to live life, to move from selfish living into, purpose-driven living - but ultimately to Presence-driven living!

© 2008 by Emil Swift

"KingdomScribes" is a ministry led by Emil and Michele Swift. Their website can be found at

The Swifts have been called by God to minister together uniquely to the Body of Christ and share a revelatory teaching ministry - gifted in the Spirit to teach mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven in a simple, direct fashion. Emil and Michele are “Kingdom Scribes" whose hearts are to raise every Believer into living and ministering in the power of the Spirit and the Word as “scribes of the Kingdom". A passion to engage the hearts, souls and spirits of their listeners has led the Swifts into a teaching style characterized by its lack of religion, rituals and church jargon. They minister in words easily understood by those to whom they speak.


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