This is the final post of a discussion we've had on the power of purpose. If you're hopping in for the first time in this discussion, I recommend starting with Part 1 and continuing through before continuing with this purpose.
4. You Have a Specific Purpose to Complete.
“…fully carry out the ministry God has given you…” The Bible clearly defines why we are here, why we are breathing air on this planet—to love and worship God and to serve Him with our lives.
I am not an accident or an incident, I was created on purpose with a specific God-given purpose that makes my life count and makes the world around me better for those with whom I have influence.
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (EXB: “…In Christ Jesus, God ·made [created] us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing.”) - Ephesians 2:10
Listen to what this verse tells us—I wasn’t born and then God tried to figure out something for me to do. I am actually designed with a specific purpose in mind, specific good works God had planned before I was ever conceived in my mother’s womb! Good works that would make a difference. Good works that would advance His Kingdom. Good works that would help somebody, somewhere, come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior!
Here’s another thing we should know from the Bible about purpose:
Purpose is discovered through serving.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.” - Matthew 16:24-25
Serving begins with "waiting on God". Not in the sense of standing around and waiting, but in the sense of a waiter at a restaurant. Just wait on Him, serve Him, whatever He wants, wherever and whenever He wants it. I hear people confine their purpose to some small spectrum—“I’m a worship leader, I’m a kids minister, I’m a greeter, and so on.” This will help you—We are the sons and daughters of God! That trumps any other title or position. And as sons and daughters, we do whatever our Father needs done! We are here to wait on Him. I know people who experience burnout as a greeter, or a kids teacher, or a pastor.
There is no burnout in simply being a son or daughter of God and waiting on Him because...
“..those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” - Isaiah 40:31.
Here’s an example of what I mean by ‘waiting on God’: Years ago, I coached a high level women’s softball team that my wife played on called the Suns. We started off the season with high expectations but lost miserably in our first big tournament. Everybody had her own idea of where she should be playing, so I had pretty much let them pick their positions based on where they thought they were best. At shortstop was Vicky, a good player with a great arm. In center, was Angie, a good player with a good arm and a lot of range. After our embarrassing defeat, I asked the team if I could experiment with where everyone was playing and they agreed. So I moved Vicky over to 3rd, where her strong arm was an asset but great range wasn’t as important. I moved Angie from centerfield to shortstop to take advantage of her range. The results were incredible! Our defense improved drastically and our team began winning, becoming so good that we went to the National Tournament after winning our State Championships!
Here’s the point. Both Vicky and Angie had picked where they wanted to play, the position they thought they were best suited to play. And we lost. But when they allowed the coach to move them around where they could most help the team, not only did they win, the whole team won.
Waiting on God means letting Him be the coach, letting Him put me where He needs me instead of where I want to be.
The result is I win and the Kingdom wins!
Waiting on God begins in your church.
“Do good to everyone and especially to the household of faith.” - Galatians 6:10
No God-given purpose can be accomplished alone. Our purpose requires us to connect to others. If the Son of God had to connect to others to accomplish His mission here on earth, then why would we ever think we could accomplish our purpose alone? As John Maxwell points out, you cannot find a single great accomplishment in history that anyone did alone. In our church we are equipped. We can hone our gifts, talents and abilities in a safe place.
In the church, failure is not final, it’s just another step toward purpose achieved!
That’s why at LifeGate Church there is always room for you to use your gift. We make room. We create space and make room for God to use more people. We have people pursuing purpose. They aren’t here to put on a show, making no mistakes. In fact, some of the tendencies I see in churches today toward putting on a ‘show’ actually counteract one of the purposes of the church—to be a safe place for people to be equipped to do the work of God.
I’m not talking about sloppy ministry—I believe in excellence. But excellence is not perfection. Excellence simply means giving my very best. Excellence is life-giving. Perfection stifles and kills. I’m talking about creating a culture that makes room for people to find their place, use their gifts, and experience purpose. That means creating a safe place for people to fail, to make mistakes as they learn to walk in the purpose God has for them. They aren’t here because they are perfect. They are here pursuing purpose, serving God, growing in confidence. The church is full of imperfect people, led by more imperfect people, all following a perfect God! Get in there and serve. Get on a ministry team. If it doesn’t fit you, don’t quit, move to another team. Remember, it is easier to change the direction of a moving vehicle than a parked one! Keep moving, keep growing, keep honing those gifts, talents and abilities. You’ll run right into your purpose!
Connecting to my God-given purpose is a win-win. The Kingdom wins and I win. When I find His will for me, His purpose for me, I find the reason I was created, I find fulfillment, I find my needs met as I focus on Him instead of my needs.
“Seek first [Be concerned above all else with] God’s kingdom and ·what God wants [L his righteousness]. Then all ·your other needs will be met as well [L these things will be given to you].” - Matthew 6:33 (EXB)
And when I connect to my God-given purpose I find power. (Luke 4:18; Acts 1:8)
Many of us have little or limited power and authority in our lives because we are not pursuing our purpose. When we are pursuing our God purpose, we begin to see a lot of the things in our lives turn around. Notice in the often-misquoted verse following for whom God is working to bring about good.
Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
That promise alone makes it worth finding and connecting to your God-given purpose.
The most important reason to find and connect with our God-given purpose is friendship with God. Listen to what Jesus says in John 15:15 “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” When our purpose becomes doing whatever the Father wants, I move to a new level in my relationship with Jesus. Too many never know the fullness of friendship with Jesus. They know Him as Savior, a help in time of need, but they don’t enjoy the wonder of friendship with Jesus. When I find and connect with God’s purpose for me, I step into that realm. Just seeking Him to know Him, instead of seeking Him for something. Nothing wrong with that, but there is such a wonder in just seeking Him to know Him more, to enjoy His friendship. When I find that place, I find myself constantly living in my God-given purpose and that is a great place to live!
A life lived on purpose for His purpose is a rich and satisfying life. As the Apostle Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” Listen to the great Apostle as his life draws to a close. Life on purpose for His purpose is life with no regrets! Life worth living. Life that makes a difference!
The fact that today, 2000 years later, we are still discussing what Paul told Timothy, proves he was right! Connect to your God-given purpose. It’s not hard. Don’t buy into anything that tells you it is. Just hang out with God, wait on Him. Do whatever is set before you. Just rest in being a son or daughter of the Most High God and find pleasure in serving Him. Before you know it, someone will be using you as an example of a life lived on purpose for His purpose!