What’s the purpose of life? Why was I created? Why am I here? Many ask these tough questions and many live their entire lives with these questions unanswered. Well I have good news! God has a great plan for you. Yes, this is easy to say and may even sound cliché; but He really does. God not only created you with purpose, but with value. The Bible says in Ephesians 2:10 that “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” God prepared and planed your purpose before your parents even knew you existed. You were created with this very purpose in the mind of God: to do good works!
So what are these good works? Is it being a “good person” or a law abiding citizen? Umm, well these good works go a little deeper. The good work is your unique purpose here on earth and in the Kingdom of God. God has a unique role for you to play in His divine plan. Knowing your God- given purpose will give your life direction and fulfillment. It will also shape the course of your life. However, assuming this position takes discovering your purpose.
Since we were created with a divine purpose, we must take steps to define and live in that purpose. Below are four steps that will help you discover God’s unique purpose for your life. This is not a quick fix post, but steps to help you start the process of identifying your true purpose.
1. Accept your call to be God’s Image Bearer
Genesis 1: 27 teaches us that we were created in the image and likeness of God, which means we were created to carry or reflect the great and mighty image of God. We were created to be a representative of God’s power, love, and wisdom to an on looking world. The image of God is our role as a rational and morally responsible being, and the likeness referring to spiritual unity with the will of God. Once God had created both male and female he blessed (1:28) them and commissioned them to display his authority upon the earth. When we reflect a correct image of God, this honors Him. We were created to glorify God and we were chosen over all of creation to bear this glorious image.
This was God’s intention for all of mankind however; sin has stained and affected our ability to bear His image wholly. “The image of God in fallen humanity is like an encased mirror that holds broken and misaligned pieces. The mirror reflects remnants of the fractured image.[i]” This is why we must now choose to accept our call as image bearers to move towards reflecting the image of God in its fullest sense. Christ was the perfect image-bearer, for as God in the flesh, He reflected “the image of the invisible God” (2Corithinas 4:4) and all believers should follow His example. The first step to living in your God-given Purpose is to choose to reflect and live in the image of God.
2. Pray for God to Reveal your Gift Mix
As believers we all have a general call to be image bearers of God, but individually have a specific call in which to accomplish it. God has equipped you with all that you need to accomplish your purpose. In the narrative of the creation of mankind, God blesses them, and then commissions them to be fruitful and multiply and also to subdue and rule over the earth. In the Old Testament Scripture, the word “blessing” is bārak (baw-rak’) which means-kneel; bless; to bestow power for success. God blesses His creation with “power to succeed,” to successfully fulfill our purpose as His Image Bearers.
God equips us by delegating talents and spiritual gifts to us. Talents are abilities or capabilities one receives naturally and spiritual gifts are given once we become a believer in Christ. It is crucial to identify our Gift Mix, because your Gift Mix reveals how God has wired and equipped you to live in your unique purpose. Let’s use myself as an example:
First make a list of your Natural talents, everyone has a natural God-given talent, some are more recognizable than others. Next make a list of your spiritual gifts. I encourage you to pray and reflect on the areas God has enriched your life after becoming a believer. Ask spiritual mentors and friends to help you identify your spiritual gifts. I would encourage you to pray and research the various spiritual gifts. Here is a link to more Spiritual gifts definitions, scripture references, and tests to help you identify them: Spiritual Gifts Inventory
Once you are able to list both your natural and spiritual gifts, pray and reflect on how these gifts play off each other. Pray for God to reveal your dominate gifts and how the others support it. Here’s my example below:
In this particular season of my life, the spiritual gift that has become most dominate is teaching. The supporting gifts of faith, encouragement, public speaking, and writing allow me to teach effectively. One you have identified your dominate and supporting gifts, pray for God to reveal the desires and passions of your heart. Many believe that God does not want us to have our hearts desires, however when you “Take delight in the LORD, … he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). It is all about the motives behind our desires.
So you may ask: How does this play into my purpose? How will my gifts lead me to accomplishing the “good works” I was created to perform? Your Gift Mix and your desires are your divine design. It is how God wired you and how God intended for you to serve Him.
3. Identify the Season you are in
The seasons of life are important because your specific purpose may shift depending on the season. The Bible describes that there is a time and season for all things. There are personal seasons of life, for example, single people have more flexibility to move and start new journeys; while a married couple with children would have to consider the needs of their spouse and children. There are also spiritual seasons or cycles that God uses to build our character. They are similar to our earth’s natural seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. Identifying which season you are in allows you to take proper action. Like a farmer reaps in the Fall or plants new seeds in the Spring, we too need to take proper action in our current and future seasons.
Let’s take a look at the Spiritual Seasons and their purpose: (Click Image to enlarge)
4. Trust God
God has given you all that you need to fulfill your purpose, now you are called to obey. When we live outside of our purpose, we miss out on what God has in store us, our careers, our family, and our joy. But when we obey, we are blessed. One thing I have learned is that “obedience has no consequence!” When you seek God first and His purpose “all things shall be added to you” ( Matthew 6:33). It may feel difficult or nearly impossible to live in our purpose because of the current season you are in. Relationships, jobs, and finances may also hold you back from living in your true purpose. However unlike obedience, there are consequences for disobedience. Fear to step into your purpose will not only negatively effect you, but others.
I pray that as you identify your Gift Mix and your Spiritual Season, you will allow God to use you. When God says ” for I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11), believe him.
[i] Holloman, Henry W. Kregel Dictionary of the Bible and Theology. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2005. 226