February 19, 2018
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Purpose: Who and Why You Are Print E-mail
“…according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we … might be for the praise of His glory.”
– Ephesians 1:11-12

God created you on purpose, with a purpose and for a purpose. In fact, He created everything with one common purpose: to glorify Himself. Beyond that, He also created you with a specific and unique purpose. God intends for you to live according to that special purpose for which you were created.

How can you know this purpose?

More Than a Statement

“Purpose Statement.” Toss these words around and watch people run for cover. This often maligned term is the butt of jokes and snide comments. Perhaps it is because people have recognized hypocrisy in it. Organizations have spent massive resources to craft the perfect “purpose statement” that never gets used. It gets pulled out from time to time, but is treated as an object of ridicule. What a colossal waste of time.

The true benefit of a purpose statement is that it articulates who you are and why you are. It is true that “meanings have words”, just as it is true that “words have meanings”. Communicating your purpose to yourself and others comes with the ability to find the right words to express the truth. It is more important to know your purpose than your “purpose statement”.

Before getting lost in the word search, try to understand your purpose conceptually. It helps to answer two questions:

  • Who are you? This is a “being” question that accurately identifies your character, personhood and capacity.
  • Why are you? This question accurately identifies your motives and reasons for being who you are.

A Purpose Uniquely Yours

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. - 1 Corinthians 10:31

An egotist demands that everyone give him glory, though it is undeserved. God is not that way – God truly deserves the glory. That is why all creation has been created for the purpose of giving Him glory, and this is without creating offense. As part of creation, you begin by understanding that your purpose is to bring glory to God. The greater fun comes from living according to the unique way God designed you to bring Him glory.

Imagine a life where your passion and motivation were perfectly matched with your design and capacity. Your every intention would be consistent with your character, and your every effort would be matched to your strengths. This is God’s will for you.

Your Purpose and Passion

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. - Colossians 3:17

What are you passionate about? God created you with specific desires in your heart, and He may have added more through your life experiences. Discover your passion; it is an important key for discovering your purpose.

Our western thinking, strongly influenced by the Greeks, emphasizes the natural, objective and tangible parts of life. Passions are more likely to show up in our emotional response to thoughts and situations. Wonder for a while about what causes an emotional response in you. Identify the root as accurately as possible. Consider that a regenerate Christian will be passionate about the same things as God (such as justice, needs, people, beauty, holiness).

Your Passion and Motivation

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. - Colossians 3:23-24

What does your passion move you to do? When Jesus saw the needs of a large group of people He was moved to teach them (Mark 6:34), to heal them (Matthew 14:14), and to feed them (Mark 8:2). Notice that He was motivated by the object of His passion, and the response to that motivation was to act according to His design.

Your true purpose, the one given to you by God, will be peculiar to you and consistent with the common purpose of bringing glory to God. There is competition for your attention, however, and you may have adopted or accepted a purpose of your own making. Test your unique purpose: does your passion motivate you to action that will bring glory to God?

Living On Purpose

If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. - 1 Peter 4:11

I have seen people live their life at cross purposes. Their motivation gets disconnected from the passion God put in their heart. They are encouraged to pragmatically believe that any source of motivation is good, as long as it gets the job done. Then they lose sight of their true passion, having accepted a counterfeit in its place. It might be prestige, wealth or power – but it leads to glorifying something other than God. It results in emptiness of purpose.

Not so with you.

God has a purpose for you. He gave you gifts, abilities, desires and capacities that are specific to that purpose. He also called you to serve, which is to be moved to action according to His passion, which you share. Amazingly, He then orchestrates the circumstances, provides the power, causes change to happen, and allows you to participate. This brings glory to Him.

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