In last week’s post on purpose, I spelled out what God says about you and I and laid the ground work for what is central to knowing our purpose. Go catch up if you haven’t yet… there’s even a video! Now that we have a proper lens and some biblical parameters, we can more effectively move forward in discovering God’s purpose for us.
First things first…
Go to God in Prayer
God not only desires for you and I to live a life of meaning and purpose but he also desires us. Yes, yes my friend, he wholeheartedly does!
God is not interested in just being the delivery man at the door, handing us our spiritual pepperoni pizza, and being on His way. He created us for much more. Jesus is about relationship and He wants to come on in, sit down at the table, and fellowship together. Living out a God-like purpose will require a God-like wisdom and strength that can only come from walking closely with the Lord. Prayer is our main sustenance at the table of fellowship with God.
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.James 1:5
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.Matthew 6:33 NIV
God loves you so and He is waiting. Waiting to speak truth to you and offer Himself, His wisdom, His encouragement, and His direction.
With so many competing voices coming at us daily, practicing solitude with the Creator of all, will be critical for sifting through the noise. As we spend time talking to and hearing from God in prayer, the Holy Spirit begins to reorient our hearts, minds and souls. This supernaturally clarifies our purpose and direction.
Be a Reader of God’s word
In addition to seeking God in prayer, knowing Him by reading His word will give us insight into our God and our purpose.
Like you, I desire to know God and His direction for my life. Heck, if you are leading little ones, a ministry, or any manner of humans, then you carry the extra weight of knowing which direction to be leading them as well.
The primary way God speaks to us is through His word. In that case, the best way we can identify God’s will for our lives is by knowing God’s will for God’s life. Regularly reading God’s story in the Bible, will help us see His will and our purposes more clearly.
Your word is a lamp to guide my feet
and a light for my path.Psalm 119:105 NLT
I want to pause here and remind us of this: God has already made clear, in the Bible, much of his will for those of us who choose to follow Him. So, knowing those instructions is probably a good place to start for knowing our purpose. Sometimes I overlook the basic calling to love God by loving those in my own home because I’m busy looking for other ways to “serve” God. You too? I get it.
The more we know and understand the Bible, the more we will begin to recognize when God is directing us towards or away from something. If we operate from an accurate understanding of who Jesus is and what He has done for us, then we are more likely to fulfill HIS purpose for us. This comes from reading His word.
Memorizing scripture not only molds our minds, but leads us to learn our Lord’s voice.David Mathis
Discover your gifts and strengths
Dear one, I am here to remind you that, God has given you gifts. I talked specifically about this last week. I vividly remember the first time I heard this! A very godly woman took the time to tell brand-new-Christian-high-school Krisi, that God had given her a gift. Read about that significant impact here. So, how do you know what your gifts are?
In answering that… we are going to start and end with the Bible, using a bit of a man-made tool sandwiched in between.
1.What does the Bible say about gifts?
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of usRomans 12:6 NIV
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. 5 There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. 6 God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.I Corinthians 12:4-7 NLT
Spiritual gifts are abilities that God gives to every believer in order to serve Him and His people. It is one way that the Holy Spirit works in and through us. For a better understanding of what these gifts are and their purpose go here.
2. What about natural abilities?
God also gave you natural abilities. Although spiritual gifts are not the same as natural physical abilities… God often uses our natural talents as a vehicle in which to exercise our spiritual gifts. For example, a Christian filmmaker may have the spiritual gift of evangelism that they express through the films they produce. For a real life example of this please go watch The Chosen… it is so very impactful.
3. Should I take a spiritual gifts test?
Yes… with caution. Let’s remember that these tests are a man-made tool to assess a God given ability. Therefore, we can go through the process of a spiritual gifts test as a helpful tool, all the while recognizing that it may also lump our natural abilities in there. We need to remember the whole “relationship with God” part of our purpose. God desires an intimate relationship with us where we regularly pursue and depend on Him. This will mean living way outside of our comfort zone at times… aka doing things in faith that are not natural to us. This is where our spiritual gift gets exercised without depending on our natural abilities.
At their best, spiritual gifts tests may identify spiritual gifts and natural talents. But at their worst, since they cannot distinguish between them, the tests could actually encourage believers to “serve” according to our natural talents rather than relying on the power and equipping of the Holy Spirit.Dr. Roger Barrier at Crosswalk.com
4. What do I do next?
GO AND DO. The best way to discover not only your spiritual gifts but how to live with purpose, is two things. First, get involved in the lives of others. Our gifts and strengths and passions are most satisfying when we are using them for God and His people. Amazingly, when we begin loving God by loving his people, our gift and purpose begin bubbling to the surface.
Second, get involved in your local church. This folks, will be more effective at recognizing your gifts than any internet test. If you get involved in the lives of others in your church and love as Jesus commanded, then you will discover your gift and be living out part of your purpose. (More on what this looks like next week)
BRING OTHERS IN. Ask your Christian friends what gifts, strengths and abilities they see in you. Ask how they see God using you. Sometimes we don’t see ourselves clearly and it can be helpful to have the discernment from friends and outside resources.
Your life is a gift. It is not only a gift to you from God, it is a gift to others for God. God has graced you with influence, resources, spiritual gifts, and faith that is meant to be leveraged for his glory and the good of others.
You and I were created for one primary purpose and that is to love God and love people. Discovering the what and the how is a process by which we grow in our intimacy with God and our impact on the world He created.
Check back next week when we continue talking about purpose by looking at our passions and personality and some real life examples.