Kathleen asks: “How do I know if I am living the life God wants me to live? How do I know if I am following his path for me?”
Another reader, Vicki, asks: “How do I find my purpose and feel confident it is in his plan? I feel so unsure!”
I received a good number of questions about purpose. The question of why I am here weighs on many. We want to live a life of significance. We want to do what God created us for.
There are three things that I would identify as our purpose. They are:
- Love God
- Make disciples
- Do good
To further explain, there are a few Scripture passages that I will direct your attention towards. The first is commonly referred to as the Great Commandment.
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deuteronomy 6:4–5, ESV)
God calls us to love him. It is to give him our devotion and affection. It is that we make him the priority of our life. We seek to serve him and honor him. This means making worship a priority. It means spending time with him every day by listening to him (reading the Scripture) and talking to him in prayer. It is done by loving our neighbor. Through loving our neighbor, we show our love for God.
The second verse I direct your attention towards is what we refer to as the Great Commission. Here Jesus says:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19–20, ESV)
The main verb of the Great Commission is “to make disciples.” This is at the heart of our mission as followers of Jesus. Discipleship starts with us. What are you doing to be discipled as a follower of Jesus? How are you learning, growing, and applying the principles of God’s Word in your life? How are you allowing yourself to be challenged in your pursuit of godliness?
As we move beyond ourselves, we look to how we are mentoring, teaching, and encouraging others to be followers of Jesus. You may not teach a Bible class, but recognize that discipleship doesn’t always happen in a formal setting. Some of the most effective discipleship takes place as we live life.
Discipleship happens at the dinner table. It happens in coffee shops. It happens in small groups. It happens as we commute to work. It happens every time we interact with others.
The third and final verse I will point out is Ephesians 2:8-9:
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10, ESV)
Jesus saved us so that we might do good in this world. And there is much good that we can do. There is much suffering in the world. There are many people who lack. There are many people who are broken. God equips and helps us to make a difference in the lives of others. He empowers us to serve the need.
Instead of focusing on doing the right thing. Look to do good things. Do good things for the sake of the kingdom! You can’t go wrong when you do good for others. You can be so worried about doing the specific thing that God has called you to do that you miss all the good ways he puts before you to make a difference.
The good that God calls you to do is often in your home. He calls us to love our parents, spouses, and children well. It is hard to do good in our world if we can’t do good in our own homes.
Beyond that, most churches have ample opportunities to serve. And if a church does not have an opportunity for you to be put to work, then consider finding a church where you can serve. But don’t limit yourself to the church. There are many needs in our communities and many ways to volunteer and make a difference.
It is not as important what you do. What is important is that you are doing something. And when you set your heart on serving and start doing good in this world, God will make the path clear and open doors of opportunity to make a greater difference.
We live in a nation of consumers. More people are focused on receiving good things than they are in doing good things. You are not going to find your purpose:
- Watching hours of TV.
- Scrolling your Facebook feed.
- Shopping at the mall.
- Cheering your favorite pro sports team.
- Reading the latest and greatest mystery novel.
- Attending a church service and listening to a sermon.
All these activities are consumption activities. It is not that all these things are bad. But most people spend a disproportionate amount of time in consumption activities rather than activities that contribute to making the world a better place. Know that God would have you “do.” To do the good in this world! But so many people don’t “do” because it is too hard, uncomfortable, or inconvenient.
It is easier to listen to music than it is to play music. It is easier to read a book than it is to write a book. It is easier to listen to a sermon than it is to preach a sermon. It is easier to eat cookies than it is to bake cookies. It is easier to be served than it is to serve.
It’s About the Journey
It’s more about the journey than the destination. We sometimes treat our purpose as a destination. We think we are on a journey to discover our purpose. And once we discover our purpose we will find fulfillment in life.
But life is a journey. Our purpose is not something that is found underneath a rock. It is not something that we uncover. We don’t need to fear missing our purpose. Rather than making it about our purpose, make it about God’s purpose. Don’t worry about getting it right. Set your heart on following him. To do that, just ask three questions each day:
- How am I showing love and affection towards God?
- How am I being discipling myself and others?
- How am I doing good?
I am confident that if you start asking yourself these questions, God will direct your steps.