Like most people, I learned from an early age that my behavior has a huge impact on how I am seen by others. We have all seen that little child do something over and over again with a big grin on his face because of the praise he receives from his parents. We grow up learning that if we behave well we will be rewarded, but if we behave badly we will be punished. As a result, our thinking becomes focused on how well we are doing rather than who we are becoming. For most of us, this thought process follows us into our Christian lives.
When it comes to discovering our God-given purpose, most of us immediately think about what God wants us to do. Of course, doing what God has called us to do is part of it, but it’s actually the middle part. There is a beginning and an end to our God-given purpose that I’m going to refer to as book-ends. Here’s the point: If we get one or both of the book-ends wrong, it doesn’t matter what we do; for we will have missed our God-given purpose.
The two book-ends of purpose are the same for everyone.
1. Worship. Regardless of who you are, your purpose must begin with worship. I’m not talking about turning on your favorite Christian artist every once and a while and getting goose bumps from a song that evokes some kind of feeling or emotion. While there’s nothing wrong with this, I’m referring to something much more tangible. Worship as the beginning of purpose is about knowing to whom you belong. Whatever is preeminent (superior) in our lives is what we worship. Anything more superior in our daily lives than Christ is called an idol. Jesus must be preeminent in our lives as the beginning of our purpose. Our day must consist of His word, His fellowship, and His love. I have learned that God’s word is food for my spirit and it brings alignment to my soul (mind, will and emotions). The stillness of the quiet morning listening to His word speak to my heart has changed my life in ways that I cannot describe. I am not talking about gaining more knowledge of the Scriptures, although that is part of it. I am talking about a deep, personal, and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Daily fellowship with the Holy Spirit is the single most important factor in the growth of the Christian’s life. However, each one of us has a purpose to fulfill on this earth, so this is just the beginning.
2. Serving others. The more we learn to fellowship with the Holy Spirit on a daily basis, the more we discover who we are and what we were created to do. God has a purpose for you and I while we exist on this earth. However, it is important to understand that our individual purposes in life must contribute to God’s purposes in the earth. In other words, there is an intersection that exists at the point where God’s purpose for your life meets His purpose in the earth. The thing that we find at that intersection is other people. It is impossible to walk in fellowship with God without developing a heart for other people. Your God-given purpose and mine will start with worshiping Him and end with impacting the lives of others.
What about the stuff in the middle?
The stuff in the middle is uniquely you! Your purpose and mine begins with worship and ends with impacting others for God’s glory. The in-between is specifically designed for you. What are your passions? What are your gifts? What comes naturally to you? What disturbs you and angers you to the point that you must do something about it? Andy Stanley defines vision in short as an image of what could be and should be. What is the voice inside of you screaming at regarding what could be and should be? When you answer these questions you will know what you’re called to “do.” But, remember that if the book-ends are wrong, the stuff in the middle will not matter much.
When you sandwich what is uniquely you between these two book-ends you will not only discover your purpose, but you will find joy and real meaning in your life. Make Him number one, focus your outcomes on helping others, and be yourself in between. Keep REACHING FORWARD for God’s best in your life!
Feel free to leave comments about your purpose!