November 11, 2017
Discerning Your Purpose
Merriam Webster defines Passion as “a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something; an object of someone's love, liking, or desire.” God created you with dreams and passions and as Psalm 139:13 tells us, “For you formed my inward parts, you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” And, verse 16 says, “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.” Picture it! As God is knitting you together in your mother’s womb, he is also placing inside of you dreams and passions. He is also uniquely creating you with specific areas of gifts and strengths. Why is one of us talented in communication while another is talented in networking or numbers? Why would he create one of us with the gift of administration while to another he gives the gift of empathy?
So, does that mean my passion is automatically my purpose? No. Your Purpose is all about motive! What makes a passion a purpose? Merriam Webster defines purpose as “the aim or goal of a person: what a person is trying to do or become.” This definition denotes motive, direction and intentionality. Living your purpose does not happen by accident. In Colossians 3:17, Paul writes: Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus. Louie Giglio in his book Passion says, “It is not your passion that determines whether or not your life honors God and is useful to others, it is your purpose. Why are you doing what you are doing?” And, A.W. Tozer says, “It’s not what man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it’s WHY he does it. The motive is everything.”
So, now that we understand what a Purpose is, how do you discern yours? Well, it is simple, but not always easy. It takes work. But, I promise you, the work will be so worth it. Below are the steps to discerning your purpose.
Presence: You must get in God’s Presence to regularly to seek His Face and your Purpose. Being in God’s Presence consistently and regularly, creates intimacy. When you first sit down to start spending time with the Lord, there is a certain richness, but if you consistently make the Lord a priority, that habit becomes your living water. It is what gets you out of bed in the morning. It wakes you up in the middle of the night. And, in that time, your intimacy grows. You are changed.
Set Apart Lifestyle: What does it mean to be set apart? The Greek word for holy is hagious which means holy, set apart, separate, sanctified, consecrated, and pure. Its fundamental idea is separation and devotion to the service of the Lord, designated for a special purpose, sharing in God’s purity, and abstaining from the defilement of the world. In the book, Set Apart for God, John Mulinde shares that being set apart is not a short term fast or a day away with the Lord, but a call to a long-term sewing into a new lifestyle. What stands in our way of being holy and set apart unto the Lord? What keeps us trapped and unable to move fully into our Purpose? There are three things: Our culture, our flesh, and the enemy.
Community: We were created for community. Today, even many times in the church, we have bought the lie that this is all about me and God. Social media and technology feed us the lie that we do not need each other. Instagram and Facebook are a tool, but they are not a substitute for real life community. The enemy wants to get us alone and isolated, and feeling like we are not living up to the lives everyone else has. This kind of loneliness and depression will paralyze us. We are told in Hebrews 10:25 not to forsake our own assembling together, but instead encourage one another.
Presence + Set Apart Lifestyle + Community = Alignment: When we are in His Presence, growing in intimacy, not allowing anything to stand in the way of our communion with Him, we start to understand His desires. And, His desires become our desires. Now, we get to a place of alignment with Him. He begins to reveal His Purpose for us. Sometimes, that revelation is in pieces. We may not see the full picture all at once.
Get Moving: Now, the rubber gets to meet the road. Once we begin to understand his Purpose for our lives, we can begin to pray in accordance with His will. And, as He reveals his direction, MOVE! Immediate obedience to what God is calling you to do is imperative, whatever and whenever He tells you, even if it does not make sense to you. Consider these examples who were been obedient to God’s simple instructions and that obedience changed the world: Noah building the ark, Esther approaching the king, Joseph marrying Mary, and Joshua at Jericho. Steven Furtick in Greater states “It is often the simplest commands and acts of obedience that have the deepest and longest lasting results. They also become the launching pads for larger assignments of faith. Great opportunities later require immediate obedience now.”
Trust God for the Outcome: John 14:13 says “Whatever you ask in my Name that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in my Name, I will do it.” And, Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” So, first he knits us together in our mother’s womb with dreams and passions and purpose. Then, as we delight ourselves in Him, he gives us the desires of our heart that HE placed inside of us as He was creating us. This blows my mind every time! This process is all about God. We get to BE. He gets to DO. And, in His doing, we get a testimony, which glorifies Him and fulfills us (making our joy complete). Do what He asks, and He will show you what He can do! And now, YOU have a testimony. You get to brag on God. You get to tell others how He showed up in a mighty way when you could never have done it in your own strength. He gets the glory.
Presence, a set apart lifestyle and community leads to alignment with God and His heart. This alignment with the heart of God changes our requests to be in His will. And, anything we ask in accordance with His will, He will grant. This showcases God and fulfills us. Our joy is then complete.
So, where are you in this process? What are you missing? Is it His Presence? Is conformity to the culture, sin, or schemes of the enemy holding you back? Do you lack the community? Or, are you procrastinating on something God has already shown you to do? Maybe you are in the waiting and trusting stage. Wherever you are, God wants to move you forward today.
- Commit to consistent time with Him.
- Repent and commit to living a set apart lifestyle.
- Seek out community to surround you. Hint: look around this room. He has you here tonight for a reason!
- Wait in the knowledge that He will come through for you.
I am praying for you as you seek God for His Purpose for your life!