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Discover Your God Given Purpose

2000 William R. Cunningham
July 23, 2000

INTRODUCTION

What is your God-given purpose? How do you know what God wants you to do? Some people rely on the prophesy of others to determine what they are to do while others wait for a voice from heaven to lead them on their God-given journey. However, What indications does the Bible give us for knowing what God wants us to do? That question is the subject of today's lesson so let's sit back and learn how to discover your God-given purpose.

Purpose

It is believed that each individual has a purpose from God. Some are believed to be called to be evangelists, preachers, pastors, doctors, lawyers, etc. Whether we have a specific and personal calling from God is of no consequence when we consider that all Christians have a common purpose, which we will discuss next. However, the problem comes when we try to identify what God wants us to do. The dilemma is in determining what our purpose on this earth really is so that we can walk in it and please the Lord.

So there are two aspects of purpose. The first is that we have an individual calling from God to do a specific job. Secondly, we all have a common call from God regardless of whether we know what our specific call is, if indeed there is one. Let's talk then about the common purpose that all Christians have.

COMMON PURPOSE

You may spend many years trying to figure out what your purpose is? You may spend your entire life trying to discern what God wants you to do. There is a better way, which is based on a principle that I learned from a pastor one day. First of all, just start doing what you know to do in the manner that is consistent with your makeup. However, the one thing that you can definitely do is that which is common to all Christians. All Christians have a common ministry since all ministries basically tend to the same goal, which is to bring people to Christ and into edification (sanctification). What is the common purpose of all Christians? They are listed below.

  1. To be a disciple and to promote discipleship

  2. Preach the Gospel according to the way that you are made

  3. Bear fruit (as a result of your ministry)

  4. Love one another (in deed and not just in words)

  5. Walk by the Spirit (Live a life in Christ as a witness of the Christian faith to bring glory to God)

Let's discuss these in more detail.

Discipleship

All Christians have a common calling. The Bible says,

(Mark 16:15 NIV) "He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation."

(Matthew 28.18-20 NIV) 'Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. [19) Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, f2O] and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'"'

All Christians have at least two callings according to this scripture.

1. To become disciples (learners or students) of Jesus Christ

2. Promote discipleship

Discipleship is the process of inducing someone to learn from Christ or to be a follower of Christ. The first step of discipleship is indeed in the preaching of the Gospel of Christ. After the person has believed in Christ then discipleship takes on the form of educating them in God's Ways. Promoting discipleship is simply to duplicate the process of discipleship that was used on you onto someone else in one way or another.

Preach the Gospel

Consider the implications of the following scripture with the two quoted above.

Luke 24:46 through Luke 24:48 (NKJV) Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.

1. The disciples were commanded to preach the Gospel

2. The disciples were commanded to make disciples of all nations

3. The disciples were commanded to teach people to obey Jesus' teachings (including the promotion of discipleship)

Also consider the following scripture.

(2 Corinthians 5.19 NIV) "that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation."

We all have the ministry of reconciliation. The word reconcile means to bring to agreement. Therefore, we minister the Gospel to people so that people will come to agreement (or be at peace) with God. That is, we share the Gospel with others so that they can be saved. Also consider that you do not have to be an ordained preacher or pastor to preach the Gospel to others. All that is necessary is that you know what the Gospel is and are able to share it with someone else.

Therefore, we being made disciples by the perpetual teaching of the apostles (formerly disciples) also have the commission to preach the Gospel to all nations and to teach them to obey the teachings of Jesus Christ. We are the perpetuation of the original apostles. Therefore, we are called to preach the Gospel to all peoples. The word preach means to proclaim (in this case, the gospel).

This proclamation may be done in various ways according to how you are made up. Some people will simply talk to others that are on the street corners in their neighborhoods. Others will have a more structured format. The way you preach or proclaim the Gospel of Christ must be consistent with the way that you are made else you risk being ineffective.

BEAR FRUIT

John 15:16 through John 15:17 (NKJV) You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another.

The fruit bore here is the progression of the general call to the disciples. We are to preach and that preaching should produce results whether we see it or not. In the end, our efforts collectively produce more souls being added to the Kingdom of God, that is, more people get saved. Fruit is also bore when Christians become more edified by learning more and more about Jesus' teaching and the Kingdom of God.

LOVE EACH OTHER

We also see from the previous scripture that we are commanded to love each other. First of all what is this love that Jesus is talking about? Secondly, why is it important that we love each other? The love Jesus is referring to is a social love. It is the loyal unselfish concern for the well being of another. This love binds us together since God is love and his spirit dwells in us. The Bible says,

(1 John 4.8 NIV) 'Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."

(1 John 4:16 NIV) 'And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

God is love, the Holy Spirit is love, and Jesus is love because the three are one (See 1 John 5:7). This love is what binds the body of Christ together as one unit. If we are not bound together in love then the Christian community will not stand.

We are all therefore called to love each other regardless of the specific call on our lives. Now this love must be accompanied by action. Love doesn't mean that you just tell someone you love them or that you proclaim that you love people. Your love must be demonstrated by what you do (works). Do you help those in need to the best of your ability? Do you pray for others? Are you concerned about people enough to help them when they need help or just to be a companion at any time?

WALK By THE SPIRIT

We can accomplish a great deal of God's will if we would simply be sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will direct us to do many things regarding ministry but we have to be aware of him and do what he says. This doesn't mean that you have a specific ministry such as healing or teaching. It simply means that you are a member of the body of Christ who walks after the Spirit accomplishing all that the Spirit wants. The bible says,

(Galatians 5:24-25 KJV) 'And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. [25) If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."

(Proverbs 3.5-6 KJV) "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. [61 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

God will direct the path that we take if we acknowledge Him. However, the path that we take is a direct consequence of the direction of the Holy Spirit because we trust God and we are aware of him at all times.

How do you walk by the Spirit? Know God's word first of all and be sensitive to the promptings that come from within. These promptings may be in the form of a sudden desire or unction to do something (short or long term). You may all of a sudden feel a need to accomplish a certain goal. Of course we still have the written word of God that we can use to direct or govern our lives so that too is walking by the Spirit.

IDENTIFYING YOUR PURPOSE

How do you identify your God-given gift or purpose? Here are some points to consider in identifying your purpose.

1. God is the one who placed it there by his Holy Spirit

2. The power to achieve and perform is because of the Holy Spirit.

3. Evaluate yourself to discover your gift

4. Don't worry about the categories. Just do what you do.

Too often people try to place themselves in one or more of the offices and gifts that Paul describes in his epistle. However, these are not all of the offices or gifts. Therefore, it is important to follow the Spirit of God and not predetermine your calling by a finite list of services.

Paul also tells us that Holy Spirit binds the church together. In this church (the body of Christ) are many offices.

(I Corinthians 12:28 NIV) 'Und in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues."

There are no formulas to knowing what your purpose is. Therefore, begin to do the common Christian purpose, which is to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let's examine the list of things that Paul gives so that we know the functions involved and not just the title.

Apostles - An apostle is a person sent to accomplish a mission. An apostle represents the one sending and has authority to represent the sender in business, political, or educational situations. Therefore, an apostle can be thought of as an ambassador or representative. Do you represent Christ where you are (school, work, home, leisure)?

Prophets - One who speaks a message from God; An inspired speaker. A prophet can be thought of as a person who says what God tells them to say directly to someone or a group of people. Sometimes a prophet may foretell the future according to the revelation from the Holy Spirit.

Teachers - One who instructs. A teacher expounds on a topic in order to help you understand it. A teacher basically has a gift of helping people to understand by presenting the subject material in an effective way conducive to understanding.

Those who Work miracles - These are people that perform supernaturally to accomplish God's will. It is important to realize that the person does not perform supernaturally. It is the Spirit of God that performs supernaturally through a person.

Those who have the gifts of healing - These are people that can effect healing in others. Notice that this is distinguished from miracles. A miracle is basically something that happens for the good that cannot be explained by physical law (though physical law is not necessarily violated). Again, anyone may accomplish this by the workings of the Holy Spirit, though some walk in this as a lifestyle ministry.

Those who are able to help others - The ability and desire to help others can be counted as the workings of the Holy Spirit. A human operating on his own nature will only be concerned about himself. Therefore, to be concerned to take action on another's behalf is due to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. This is sometimes called the ministry of helps.

Those with gifts of administrations - Some people are good with administrative tasks. The word administrator used in this verse (governments in the KJV) refers to a person's ability to pilot activities or direct activities in the church or abroad. Do not believe that your purpose will only operate in the confines of a church organization.

Those speaking in different kinds of tongues - The tongues here refer to an actual language on the Earth. The reference is not to the unintelligible speech that is associated with the charismatic tongue speaking movement. The gift here is then the ability of someone to speak in a language that they never learned in order to communicate with another person-perhaps the Gospel of Christ.

Many More Gifts - Please realize that these are not the only ways that the Spirit of God manifests himself through us. For example, the Holy Spirit can anoint you to be a great mother to your children and others. The Holy Spirit can anoint you to be a great engineer or doctor who helps millions of people with your ideas and inventions. So the list of "gifts", if you will, can be infinite.

START WITH WHAT YOU KNOW INSTEAD OF TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW! JUST BE WHO YOU ALREADY ARE!

Believe that God will lead you into your purpose and one day you will look around and wonder how you got where you are. The following are some things that we can do to fulfill the common purpose of the Christian:

  1. Live a life in Christ - by following the teachings of Christ

  2. Tell others about God and Christ - Make the Gospel and the things of God a part of your normal conversation

  3. Be a disciple and live by and share what you have learned from Jesus' teachings.

  4. Always be sensitive to God and he will lead

  5. Always know the truth (remain in discipleship) so that you will be protected from going astray Maintain proper bible study and the acquisition of bible knowledge

  6. Remain in communion with God: Prayer, meditation, fellowship

SEEK GOD FIRST

Your first objective is obedience to God. Do not search for your purpose else you will be preoccupied with it instead of with God. Simply walk in the Spirit the best you know how and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit the best that you can. Let God lead you and not you lead yourself.

MEETING A NEED

There is still much that you can do regardless of whether you know your purpose or not. Do you see any needs around you that you can fulfill or help to fulfill? Does your church need ushers? Does your family need spiritual guidance? Find a need and meet it. Of course it would be much better for you to do something that you at least don't mind doing and best, enjoy doing.

Do What You're Wired To Do

I remember asking a pastor how he knew that God wanted him to pastor a church. He said that he never heard a voice from heaven telling him to go pastor a church. He said that he only did what he was wired to do. What he was doing was called "Pastoring a church." God wired him a certain way and he simply operated in that way. He didn't seek his purpose. Rather, he was already fulfilling it simply by doing what God wired him to do. You do the same.

Why not simply live according to the way that God wired you instead of spending hours trying to figure out what God wants you to do and worrying about titles. The way you are wired may be found in the things you like or the things you feel comfortable doing. God has already wired you for a particular task-just do it! One day you will realize that you are already operating in your gift and that you have therefore discovered your God-given purpose.

I believe that this is the most important step to discovering your God-given purpose. That is to realize that God has already prepared you for what He wants you to do. He has already wired you a certain way so all you have to do is operate according to the way that you are made. Your purpose is not "out there somewhere" waiting for you to discover it. Your purpose has already been established and is already inside of you. The discovery that you require is really just an identification of what you are. We seem to like titles. If we would just operate according to the way God wired us then we wouldn't have to worry about identifying our purpose because we will find ourselves operating in it already. The only thing we may need is instruction for the purpose of edification. For example, a person gifted as an evangelist might want to talk to other more experienced evangelists for the sake of effectiveness.

So again, just live according to the way that God made you and you will by default fulfill your God-given purpose. If you live in obedience to God then your path will be established in Christ and you won't have to worry about identifying your purpose because you will already be living it.

Conclusion

I think that it is important to simply do what we already know to do before we can spend time trying to discover what God wants us to do. What we can do first is to be a disciple of Christ, preach the Gospel according to the way God made us individually, bear fruit, love each other, practice the ministry of reconciliation, walk by the Spirit of God. There are many "jobs" for you to do in God's Kingdom that are not specifically stated in the Bible. The important thing is to simply be in fellowship with God and to be what he made you by doing what he has already wired you to do. Think about titles for that later.

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