Character & purpose on point: A story redefined

In the book of Ruth, there is a beautiful story about Ruth and her loyalty to her late husband’s family and his mother. As the story goes there was a family with an elderly man named Elimelech whom was married to Naomi. They had two sons named Mahlon and Kilion. The sons’ wife’s names were Orpah (almost like Oprah but not) and Ruth. Sometime passed and Ruth’s father in-law, her husband, and her brother in-law all passed away. They were a man-less family. Naomi and her daughter in-laws started traveling back to Bethlehem and on the way there she blessed them and sent them back to their mother’s home and their family’s gods. At first, both daughter in-laws said no and cried, but Orpah decided to part ways and said goodbye to Naomi and Ruth. Ruth easily could have said “bye Felicia” to Naomi but she didn’t. Instead she told Naomi that where ever she goes, she will follow her, and whatever God she serves, she will too! Talk about being a loyal woman through and through. 

The ladies settled in Bethlehem and Ruth began picking grain at a field. The field and harvest belonged to a man named Boaz, who was a relative of her late father in-law. Boaz heard of Ruth’s character, how she was treating her mother in-law so well, and he showed kindness to her. He ordered his men to leave her alone (protection), and told them to help her and allow her to gather grain (grace). He granted her access and favor within his field due to her faithfulness and godly character. 

Boaz spoke with the next of kin in line to take Naomi’s family’s land and Ruth’s hand in marriage and he declined the land and Ruth. This allowed Boaz to marry Ruth and buy the family’s land. 

I love the story of Ruth as it exemplifies how one’s character can match their God-given purpose. What would of happened to Ruth if she had any bitterness in her heart and chose not to follow Naomi? She wouldn’t of met Boaz, married him, and had a son. Which by the way her son, Obed, was the grandfather of king David. So, her character matched her purpose.

Personally, I want to make sure my character matches my God-given purpose! I think it’s important for us to ask God on a regular basis to reveal my heart and my character to me and show me if there is anything that he wants to change. Have you done a heart check on yourself lately? Not your physical heart, but your spiritual heart. How you are on the inside, as a person. Have you asked God to reveal anything about yourself to yourself? Have you asked if there was anything on the inside that He wants to transform? Psalm 26:2 NIV says “Test me oh Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind.” I find that if the bible recommends that I ask God to examine my heart, maybe it is a good thing to consider and do. 

This isn’t to say that the heart is necessarily bad, but God wants us to check in with Him before pursuing something important in our life, such as taking a step towards our calling and purpose. If it is not the right time to take a step, we need to ask God for confirmation and clarity about what He would like us to do, and maybe even ask Him to reveal any blind spots to us so we can know where to start with any practical changes we need to make to live out our purpose. Some things of the heart can be transformed spiritually through prayer and fasting. Other things can be transformed through practical means, such as a perspective change, mindset change, counseling, and gratitude. It just all depends on what God reveals. 

I encourage you to ask God these questions: 

Dear God, 

Reveal anything in my heart that is not of you and please change me. 

What changes can I make to better fulfill my purpose?

Asking God to guide us enables our hearts to be transformed so that we can walk out our purpose with a healed, whole heart. It’s important to check our heart and motives before walking in our purpose and serving the people that we are called to. I don’t remember exactly where I’ve heard this saying but maybe you’ve heard it as well; - hurt people hurt people, healed people heal people. I believe this is true because we cannot give what we ourselves do not have. When we have peace and love in our hearts we will be able to freely give that to others. However, when hate, unforgiveness, or jealousy exist (no matter how much one may try to mask it), those will seep out. 

Proverbs 4:23 NIV says “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” 

So, we find that what we have on the inside of our heart – (character), will come out in all that we do. We can protect our hearts by checking in regularly with God. Allow God to renew and transform your mind and heart daily through His Word. 

When your heart, mind, and character are in line with God’s will, doors of opportunity will open for you to live out your purpose and to walk in your God-given calling.