Personal Purpose Matters

Why are you here on earth? What is your purpose in life? Living a life without purpose is like a dog chasing its tail. It may work hard to catch it but will have no idea what to do once it’s caught. Lack of purpose is like running a race with no direction or finish line. It’s driving with no destination in mind.

Having a personal purpose makes a difference in your life. Personal purpose gives you a reason to wake up in the morning. It comes with a responsibility and weight knowing that your task matters. This, in turn, is a reminder that you matter. As you explore your purpose, you will find your life fill with meaning.

PURPOSE FROM GOD

GOD GIVES PURPOSE

The book of James says that every good and perfect gift comes from God (James 1:17). God has created each of us on purpose and with a purpose. In the Psalms, king David reflects how God created his inmost being and declares, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Ps. 139:14).

In the book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul calls us, “God’s masterpiece” (Eph. 2:10). The greatest artists of our time look upon their work with wonder, love, and care. This is the wonderous gaze of God on each individual of his creation.

Purpose begins with with God

Rick Warren writes, “The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment your peace of mind, or even your happiness” (Purpose Driven Life, Day 1). In order to find purpose for our lives, we must first orient our lives to God’s loving gaze and his purpose in this world. We must come to understand that our lives play a role in a much greater story, one in which we are not the hero or main character.

This is why Todd Wilson writes, “To discover and experience God’s unique personal calling and the good works he has intended for our lives, we must first accept and respond to his calling to surrender to the lordship of Jesus Christ” (More, p.49). As we reorient our lives to God’s plan and purpose in the world, our personal calling becomes more clear. This is the first step to explore your purpose.

Gifts, Talents, Passions

Once we orient our lives to the greater purposes of God, we’re ready to hear the specific works he has for us to do in life. These works may be a career, or they may simply  be a calling we invest in outside of our monthly paycheck.

The goal is to find our personal sweet spot. This is the place where we feel like the work we’re doing perfectly aligns with how we were created. As we do this work we feel fulfilled. We’re good at it, and love doing it. Chances are it will be a place you naturally tend to lean towards and doing it takes less energy and challenge than other places.

For example, someone who loves to speak before crowds may find writing what they’ll say to come pretty easy. Then, they’ll be able to stand in front of the crowd and easy sway them towards a certain belief or action. Others would find the task of writing a talk terrifying; giving a talk even more so. But, for some people speaking in front of crowds is their sweet spot.

You can explore your purpose by examining your gifts, talents, and passions.

GIFTS

Your gifts refer to the specific spiritual gifts God has given you. These are given specifically to build up the church and change the world. God has given everyone a spiritual gift (1 Cor. 12:1-2). Like a lamp plugged into the wall, they become active when a person becomes a Christian. There are all kinds of spiritual gifts, some are listed in 1 Cor. 12:7-11.

TALENTS

Talents are comprised of abilities you have. This could be your ability to work with your hands, or to listen well in times of crisis. Some are great with gardening or cooking, while others are good at serving or building. God wants each of us to explore our purpose by using our talents for his kingdom.

PASSIONS

Your personal passion will help direct the people or place you should serve. Yes, you can help lead any group, but you will find greater fulfillment and purpose when you’re leading a group that aligns with your personal passion.

Passion is like the heartbeat of purpose. It’s the driving force that helps a person continue to serve, give, and lead, even when times are tough. Serving without passion can easily lead to burnout as you you are not serving somewhere that truly matters to you. Find a few people groups that drive your passion and you will have found the heartbeat of your personal purpose.

Explore Your Purpose

As you investigate your gifts, talents, and passions, you will slowly find your personal purpose. This doesn’t mean your answer will all come at once. Todd Wilson speaks to a “spiritual fog” where followers of Jesus are called to take one step forward at a time. God is less interested in helping the Christian truly know their one purpose in life, and more interested in the process of developing Christians who truly trust their heavenly father.

As you explore your purpose, keep an open mind. Try out different places to serve. You may experience some sort of “ah ha” moment, but that doesn’t always happen. Your job is simply to be faithful with the small pieces of purpose God lays before you. As you are faithful with what God gives, you will be entrusted with more.

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