You don’t have to be a church-goer for long before you hear the word ‘purpose’. Growing up in the church I heard the adults always give us instructions based on purpose. They’d say “Go to school, get good grades, don’t have sex, go to college to be successful and find your purpose.” As a child I thought this was just the timeline of life. Something we all had to do as humans. By the time I got to high school, I still hadn’t found out my niche which caused me to panic because I thought my niche was my purpose.
By the time i was out of college I had given up that I even had a specific purpose and decided on doing things that made my parents proud and myself happy. Finding that balance was hard..heck, impossible! But I was determined to do it. Along the way I made several embarrassing mistakes that could’ve cost me a lot more than the time it took to recover from them.
I began to ask God, “What is my purpose?”. I wanted to know why He has me here. Surely, the reason wasn’t just to suffer and die. I had all these different interests and ideas that shouldn’t go to waste but how do I use them and what does God want me to do with them?
Being in the world and not of the world is hard because the lines can easily blur. The secular definition of success has tied potential into purpose. Because of this, we as believers often tie success into our faith. We think that the secular definition of success is God’s definition of purpose…
Purpose: Reason for which something is done/created. Intention or objective.-Dictionary
Potential: Showing the capacity to become or develop in the future. Qualities/abilities for developed success.
These two definitions can help you see that there are two different outcomes for each word. God wants us to reach PURPOSE not POTENTIAL! In John 14:12, Jesus tells us that as followers of Christ our job is to do even greater works than He did on Earth. That means that we are predestined. Purpose is a guarantee for those of us who believe. This is great news because if we were of the world than our only measure of success would be in potential which is a constantly moving/changing target. Potential is based on things like society, laws, people, & opinions. Purpose is ONLY based on God’s dream not the American dream. Think of it this way, in any sport the goal is always an unmoving target set in one place. Imagine playing a game of American football where the endzone constantly changes from the end of the field to the 50 yard line to the 30 yard line back to the end of the field. It would be chaos and vertually impossible to win the game. That is how we look chasing our potential and not chasing purpose.
|Purpose Vs. Potential|
|Guarantee vs. Probability|
|God Says vs People Say|
|Predetermined vs Unsettled|
|Present vs Future|
|Set Destination vs Changing Target|
|Opinion of 1 vs Opinion of Many|
So, HOW do you go about finding purpose? I’m glad you asked friend. Here are 5 steps to find purpose:
|Step 1: Foundation (Romans 8:27-30 Contemp)|
|Find out why purpose is important to God (and you). This is the foundation for your purpose.|
|These verses tell us plain and simple why purpose is important. It says God has chosen you to help along His master plan. He chose you because you are his child and He wants to share His glory with you.|
|Step 2: Inventory (Matthew 25:14-29)|
|In order to build a house on any foundation, you need to know what materials you have and what materials you need. Some materials you already have, some will be given to you by others, some materials need to be upgraded to better quality.|
|In these verses, this is the parable of Talents. This story of how a master gave three different servants money to steward over is a metaphor for the abilities and gifts we have inside of us. Some gifts we have are natural others are learned. God wants us to use those gifts and upgrade them often. We cannot use something if we don’t know we have them. Take inventory.|
|Step 3: Serve (Matthew 18:2-5)|
|Children were to be seen and not heard in the Bible. This verse shows that Jesus asks us to be like the child. To be servants to mankind. He says that in order to be raised up you need to go low.|
|Jesus himself was seen on several occasions serving people who didn’t deserve it. Follow His lead because where God wants you is in servitude. Use your gifts and talents to serve your church, community, and coworkers (even the ones you don’t like)|
|Step 4: Repeat (Proverbs 4:23)|
|Keep your human emotions in check by reminding yourself of the first three steps often. Monitor your heart and make sure when you are serving it is for the glory of God not for your ego, your wallet, or your social status.|
|No one can serve long term without having to remind themselves that it is NOT about them but the people that need to know God.|
|Step 5: Obedience (Gen. 2:18, Isaiah 42:19, Exo. 16, Phill. 4:19)|
|Serve long enough and you will find that God asks you to move to new places or out of things that you may enjoy. But, be obedient to what He’s asked you to do. This move is just another step in your purpose.|
|Surround yourself with godly counsel so when times come and you feel God asking you to do something different you can get confirmation. If He said it to you He will confirm it in another area or person.|
These steps may seem easy or elementary and they may be at first but the constant theme with God-things are that in order to sustain them, you have to be constantly seeking The Father in prayer and in your Bible. The world sees purpose as a career path or way to make money. We think purpose is being somewhere on the payroll of a church or christian organization. But, what if purpose for you is volunteering at a church, a shelter, or at a friends house after you work a 10 hour day? What if purpose will never add zeros to your bank account? Would you still pursue it? If not, check your heart for the real reasons why you want purpose. Ask God to change your heart so you can truly satisfy His Will in your life. One persons purpose is not better or more important than anothers so a heart check will help you keep competition, envy, and hatred out of your heart. Purpose is not A way it is THE way to live a life that will end with God saying, “Well done my good and faithful SERVANT!”
Remember…Purpose is NOT:
|A paycheck||A Title|
|Self maintained or determined||Easy/The American Dream|
|The same as anyone else||Extra Money/Side Hustle|
|Fame/Notoriety||A Retirement Plan|
|Ending at a certain age||Ambition|
Comment below your purpose and/or your journey to purpose.