It’s 2020 – Do You Know God’s Purpose for You?
After the Christmas holiday, many look forward to the new year and new beginnings. Every January, millions of people make New Year’s Resolutions. Common goals are to lose weight, eat healthy, and save money. These are all admirable yet can overlook an essential part of who you are – your purpose. Why are you here, in this time, in this place?
Realizing your purpose, or calling, is sometimes easy; maturing in that mission is not. Just like a vocalist who is naturally gifted with a beautiful voice still invests years of practice to become an exceptional singer. In the same way, we may already know how God is calling us into mission, and it may take years of preparation – essential time to grow in relationship with God, to mature in ourselves, and to serve others as we are readied for what lies ahead.
The search for your purpose will be revealed throughout your life. Reaching a spiritual milestone as well as times wandering off course both feed your growth. We need to live day by day to be molded by each experience and grow through both joy and pain. You, like your individual purpose, is fluid and constantly evolving; it adapts as you grow to fully embrace God’s will at each point in your life.
– 4 Common Misconceptions About Discerning Your Calling, vanderbloemen.com
Consider the life of Jesus. We often think of his life as three separate acts: his foretold arrival as a helpless baby, his healing miracles and finally his passion and resurrection. But consider that throughout his life on earth, his attentiveness and obedience to his Father’s will was constant and aligned with his prophecy. From hiding in Nazareth to his public ministry, each moment built upon the next in preparation for his final offering on the cross.
Your mission at any given time may not be big and notable; you may not be called to religious life or to minister to the injured in war-torn third world countries, but it is no less important. Be prepared for and aware of God’s nudging. He is always guiding your heart to the people and places you were designed to help, heal and bless through him. Ask him to inspire and direct you.
As you grow in faith, your purpose may be to evangelize others and set their faith journey into motion. You may feel God calling you to a leadership role within your church or community, sharing your time, treasure and talents with those around you.
If you are involved in administering your church’s evangelization efforts through experiences like Alpha© or ChristLife™, participants will most likely ask the questions below in one form or another. Mission Pathways software is designed to capture these interactions and incorporate them in each person’s profile.
This will be especially useful when tracking individual faith journeys and even identifying potential leaders among current participants. This feature is crucial in transforming people from participant to leader, as those evangelized become disciples themselves. You can view a sample of this here.
Too often, we get in our own way and ignore the gentle nudging that guides us in living our purpose. Do you recognize any of the statements below? These are common excuses we tell ourselves when fear overtakes faith. Each is countered with an honest, Bible-driven response.
How can I be sure I have a purpose?
Through his unconditional love, God created each of us to be his earthly representatives; his hands and feet on earth. Your mission begins with growing in relationship with God through prayer, thanking God for who he has made you to be and his plan for your life. Ask God to reveal his purpose for you – he will!
“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” Ps 138:8
I’m not good at anything; how can I help others?
Not recognizing the masterpiece you are is dangerous simply because God made you in his image. Not acknowledging the goodness of who God made you to be is the same as having no faith in God and his plans for you. Instead of focusing on your perceived shortcomings, attune your senses to him and actively listen to his words through prayer and scripture. Your mission will flow out of your ever-deepening relationship with him as he reveals the desires of his heart and guides you in cultivating the gifts he has given you.
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good steward of God’s varied strength.” Peter 4:10
What if I fail?
Think boldly. Look beyond the fear of failure and instead commit to living as Christ did. As Mother Teresa said, “God has not called me to be successful. He has called me to be faithful.” In transforming your fear into faith, even trying and failing becomes a testament to your love for God and confidence in his plan.
“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not be afraid; I shall help you.” Isaiah 41:13
I’ll wait for God to reveal my purpose.
Look at many of the healing miracles recounted in the Gospels. God responds with power to any effort we make in faith. Your action need not be big or grand, but by taking a small step toward what’s calling you, you will fan the flame of faith and acknowledge the mission God has graced you with.I myself am guilty of this. I was happy to adopt a “wait and see” approach to how God wished me to serve him. I never rejected him; I just never boldly asked him to direct my steps. Over the last few years, I’ve been moved to increase my prayer life and dig further into scripture. I am certain God used this yearning to educate me and give me confidence to ask how I can best serve and glorify him. While I don’t yet have a complete picture of my purpose, I do feel him lighting the path I was born to take.
– Shana Schutte, Focus on the Family, Discovering your God-Given Purpose
If what God has put in your heart seems overwhelming or impossible, take one small step. Visit a homebound neighbor for 10 minutes; give that struggling family groceries or the gift of your time; volunteer at your local food bank. The journey is made up of small steps in faith.
You may not lose weight or increase your bank account this year, but taking that first step in faith will open your eyes and ears to God’s blessing and enable you to be a blessing to others.
Happy New Year!