We admire people with great purposes as a society. Think of the elite athletes who perform at mind-boggling levels. They will make whatever sacrifice needed to be the best quarterback, pitcher, or tennis player in their field. But when we take a peek at what is required to accomplish their great achievements, we shake our heads at the sacrifices that they have to make. Hours of workouts per week, specialized diets, and missing out on a lot of “normal” life seem to be just the starting point for living a life set towards fulfilling one purpose.
The more typical person may not have the same singular focus, but still longs to find a purpose for his or her life. As Christians, we can make the mistake of searching for purpose in places that seem fulfilling and worthwhile if we aren’t careful. What are some principles you can use as you pursue finding your purpose in Christ?
Remember that our purpose is not ours, but God’s.
“Who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.” 2 Timothy 1:9 ESV God saves us not because we are so wonderful and do so much for Him, but because He loves us and has a purpose for our lives. Don’t try to fit God into your purposes. Fit yourself into God’s purposes.
Our purpose may not be realized short-term, but eternally.
“This was according to the eternal purpose that he [God] has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Ephesians 3:11 ESV. God had an eternal purpose for Jesus. If God only had short term purposes for Jesus, Jesus’ time on earth could have been much different. If that were the case, I would imagine great popularity and certainly not death on the cross! But God let His eternal purposes for Jesus play out here on earth, even though it included being misunderstood, rejected, and persecuted. God may also give us a purpose that does not produce what we understand as “results” immediately. God has an eternal view that we sometimes find hard to understand. We can keep at it if we feel it is for God’s purpose.
Our purpose ultimately will be fulfilled by God.
God’s purposes are accomplished through us, not necessarily by us. “I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.” Psalm 57:2 ESV I have seen this in my life and others, when we see a great accomplishment or victory when we are at a low point. This psalmist cries out to God to fulfill His purposes for him. While God might ask us to put work into His purposes, He is the one who brings it to pass.
So how do these principles help us find our purpose? How do we discern what our particular purpose is for God? While some may receive a clear calling to one purpose, such as a pastor, many will find that their purpose and goals change over the course of their lives. Praying, seeking advice from wise Christians, and making godly choices will help with these decisions. Three Steps to Making Decisions can provide more insight.
Finding your purpose in Christ may not be as fancy or flashy as world-class athletes, but as long as they are Christ’s purposes for your life, they are worth it. “There is no one insignificant in the purposes of God.” – Alistair Begg