Whenever I discuss on a topic like this, I have had some persons walk up to me and say “I have tried to know what my purpose is but I don’t seem to get it”. My friends see me so passionate about walking in God’s plan and purpose and wonder how I came about it, because to them, discovering one’s purpose is somehow mysterious and something that is farfetched. Over the years, I have counseled on how to discover your purpose but it seems after every section I’m unsatisfied and it is as if something was missing amidst all those wonderful counsels and advise. This has made me search deep in prayer and in the study of God’s Word on how to show or lead people into God’s purpose.
In this article, I will be taking you through another view on how to discover your purpose. I almost wanted to write on ‘The Two Kinds of Purpose’ but I would be doing that in a later time. There’s nothing mysterious or difficult about discovering your purpose, it’s just that many are not properly guided according to God’s Word and that’s the reason they seem not to know how to go about this. God’s things are meant to be done in God’s way to get God’s kind of result. Therefore, we need to shift our focus to God’s Word to have a better understanding of this. There are certain misconceptions about purpose which I will talk about as I proceed.
There are two kinds of purpose, our God-given purpose and the purpose we craft for ourselves. Most times, we function on the second, thinking it is God’s purpose. We build on the second kind of purpose from our natural endowments and abilities. While for the God-given purpose, it is as a result of the spiritual endowments and abilities we have received as a result of our new birth in Christ. You can’t function in the two at the same time, you have to accept one and forsake the other. We consciously or unconsciously reject our God-given purpose for some personal reasons even when we are fully aware of it. The irony of this is that the people who are saying they want God’s purpose to be revealed to them when it is finally made known to them, they may not want to accept it, because it may not be what they were hoping for. This reveals one of the misconceptions we have about purpose. We think it has to be something we love doing. This may not necessarily be so.
Before I share light on how to discover your God-given purpose, I will talk briefly on personal purpose. We build our personal purpose around our natural abilities and endowments. This is what makes it different from our God-given purpose. It should not be taking as a guide to know your God-given purpose. These abilities and endowment may be required of you in carrying out your God-given purpose but don’t make the mistake of mixing it up with your God-given purpose. Just because you have a wonderful voice doesn’t mean that singing is your purpose. You can craft a purpose for yourself out of singing and become master at it but that doesn’t mean that is your God-given purpose. Singing is not a spiritual ability or gift. God doesn’t call people to sing as a purpose. But He expects that you use your talents, gifts, and abilities to worship Him. Just because you have a natural inclination towards business and you are known as a successful businessman/woman doesn’t mean God has called you to do business. A believer should not be found with this kind of mindset. You don’t need to be a Christian or become born again to become successful at doing business. If you will arm yourself with the accurate knowledge required and follow the principles you will surely get it. Business is never a God-given purpose. Natural endowments and abilities are only meant to meet the natural needs. As a believer, God doesn’t give any of His Children a purpose as an academic or an entrepreneur or whatsoever vocation we are engaged in. These are things every human engages in. There’s nothing spiritual about that, therefore you shouldn’t claim it to be as your God-given purpose.
Your God-given purpose is more spiritual than physical, that’s why it requires spiritual abilities and endowments to be carried out. Theses spiritual abilities are not our purpose, they only assist us to carry out our God-given purpose. It is in fulfilling our God-given purpose that we are truly living. Nothing else completes a man than living in God’s plan and purpose. That is why the day you became born again, God didn’t take you out of the earth, He left you here for a purpose. Your primary purpose or I should say, your purpose as a believer is that you become an ambassador for Christ, who carries along with him/her the message of reconciliation. Now, you use your natural abilities and talents to worship God by infusing into it your God-given purpose.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 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 are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.
– 2 Corinthians 5:17-20
This is the starting point of walking in God’s plan and purpose for your life. It is from this understanding that God will begin relating to us the various ways He would have us function in His Body (the Church). Many who have grown in God’s purpose for their life started from receiving and walking in this truth. Been born again gives you access to God’s plan and purpose for your life. Your God-given purpose is the very essence of your existence. Am I in any way suggesting you don’t get a job? Not at all. But don’t pursue your career at the expense of your God-given purpose, because at the end of it all, God won’t reward you based on how well you were successful in building a career but how well you lived in His plan and purpose. Do you know why God won’t judge you by your career or personal purpose? You don’t need Him to become successful at it.
Some persons are always quick to point out that even the great apostle Paul had a job. The question I would ask is this ‘what part of Paul’s life was more notable?’ was it as a tent-maker or as an apostle of Christ? ‘what was Paul persecuted the most for?’ was it as a tent-maker or as an apostle of Christ? In your own case, what have you done with what God has committed into your care? Are you more notable for your skills, talents and natural endowments or be known as one who has become an ambassador for Christ who is reconciling the world back to the Father? The truth is that the only thing that has eternal value are the things done in the sphere of your God-given purpose.
In discovering your God-given purpose, there’s one thing we must get right and that is, it is God’s responsibility to reveal or make known to you His plan and purpose for your life. The interesting part is that God doesn’t falter in revealing to us His purpose, because we didn’t create ourselves. God is always reaching out to us but our minds are beclouded with a lot of activities that we sometimes get to miss out on this. So, if you are not yet walking in His plan and purpose, it is not His fault because He is always making sure you do and He is more willing to reveal to this to you than you even desire to know.
There are three ways God reveals His plan and purpose for our lives;
- Personal Encounters
When you study through the Scriptures you will see that personal encounter with God was one of the ways God reveals to His people His callings upon their lives. This is still much relevant today. I won’t go into the various persons who had encounters with God that brought them into their purpose. Every encounter comes with a definite message. When God called Samuel, He told him what He wants to do through him (see 1 Samuel 3:1-21). The apostle Paul is another example, in Acts 9, he encountered Christ on his way to Damascus to persecute the Church. This was the beginning of another journey for him. He later wrote in his letter to the Church at Galatia that God set him apart from birth and called him to preach the gospel among the Gentiles (see Galatians 1:15&16). Prior to this encounter, he lived contrary to God’s purpose for his life.
- Through our Parents
One of the roles of our parents in our life is to communicate to us God’s purpose for our life because it was through them, we came into the world. They are meant to communicate to us that which the Father has communicated to them. But it is sad to say that parenting in this regard has somehow failed. Most parents seek for what interests them as a parent rather than what God would have them do. Did you notice what the apostle Paul said in Galatians 1:15&16 ‘But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me…so that I might preach him among the Gentiles. Before the apostle Paul came on the scene, God had already called him for something. We see also in Jeremiah 1:5 “before I formed you in the womb I knew you before you were born I set you apart, I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” A baby in the womb would not know this, therefore, it became the responsibility of the parents to know this and communicate to their children. In the case of Jeremiah, it was a personal encounter he had with God that revealed this to him. Did you know that the purpose of John the Baptist and Jesus was communicated to their parents before they came on the scene? (see Luke 1:11-17 & 26-35). With this knowledge comes responsibility on the part of the parent in making sure that they don’t deviate from God’s plan.
- Through the Office of the Five-Fold Ministry Gift
Because of the nature of the kind of assignment that comes with these offices, they have also the privilege to discern where members of the Body ought to function. The five-fold ministry gifts are apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher (see Ephesians 4:9-11). Timothy became a son to Paul through the gospel (see 1 Timothy 1:2), and as a result of his association with Paul, he came to know God’s call upon his life as an evangelist (see 2 Timothy 4:5).
If you weren’t able to come to the knowledge of your God-given purpose through personal encounter or your parents, you shouldn’t miss the last one which is through the office of the five-fold ministry gift.