Years ago while attending a special series of meetings at our home church in Florida, I heard a statement that changed my perspective on “purpose”. Bishop Tony Miller, who is one of my favorite preachers/leaders, said:
“The poorest person in the world is not a person without money; it’s a person without vision.”
Vision is one of the most powerful forces in the earth. It’s amazing what has been accomplished through people who have dedicated their lives to a specific God-given vision. Solomon stated in Proverbs 29:18 that without vision “people perish”. Another version of this verse states that they “cast off restraint”, implying that people without vision have no discipline. People with vision, God-given vision, are people who wake up each day with passion. Each day is viewed as an opportunity to make a difference regardless of the challenges that might be faced. People with God given vision are driven by something that has not yet been manifested. They see potential from obscurity and live on purpose to see that obscurity become something significant. However, there are people that will never understand vision because they are missing a very important element to vision. What is that element? Purpose!
The questions that every person of every generation has consciously and sub-consciously asked are: Why am I here? What was I created to do? What is my purpose? Answering those questions and discovering purpose is the first step and prerequisite to catching God’s given vision. When one discovers what they are created to do, it creates a passion for life, and the motivation to live for the greater good. There becomes a desire to live for others and it fosters a deep desire to make a difference. When one does not discover their purpose they will lack vision and will ultimately live life empty, and abuse is inevitable.
Personally I lived the early part of my life asking the questions mentioned previously. I desperately wanted to find purpose in and for my life. There was a deep part of me that realized my fulfillment was not going to be found in a lucrative career or in material possessions. I grew up feeling deeply insecure and feeling as if I didn’t fit in to certain social circles and even felt lost in my family structure. However, at seventeen years of age at a Petra (a Christian rock band) concert, I heard and felt a call from God. I felt the Lord was calling me to preach the gospel to young people. I knew it was genuine, and I remember talking with the youth pastor of our church on my way home. Although I struggled for weeks, I couldn’t understand why God would call me. I thought He must have hit the wrong address. Did God call people who came from dysfunctional homes, who struggled with personal identity and insecurities? Well, of course He does!
According to Jeremiah 1:5 He knew us “before” we were in our mother’s womb, and He calls us to a specific purpose. For Jeremiah, he was to be a prophet. There is also great confirmation for purpose in Ephesians 2:10:
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
God created us. We are the product of his handy work. Not only that, but He created us for “good works”, and He prepared this work before He created us. So, we were designed to fulfill a specific purpose.
When I came to this realization I woke up each day excited with passion and a deep desire to make a difference. My journey has led my family and I to serve as youth pastors, lead pastors, missionaries and a leader to other leaders. Over the years we have encountered young people and career professionals asking the same purpose questions we have all asked. We have come to a response that has helped many discover their purpose and has resulted in many pursuing life with deep passion. I want to share the same process with you. It is my hope that you too will discover what God has created you to do, that each day you will wake up passionate and ready to make a difference.
Earlier I mentioned three questions everyone asks: why am I here, what was I created to do, and what is my purpose? These questions can be answered ironically by asking three simple but different questions. If you’re a leader to other leaders I hope this will help as you lead others to a life of purpose.
What’s your desire?
Matthew 6:33 gives clear direction that we are to put God first in every area of our lives. We are to “seek first the Kingdom of God”. People who live according to this principle are what I call “Matthew 6:33 believers”. It is my heartfelt belief that if we purposefully live a life where we desire God and His purpose then He will put His desire in our hearts. You can feel confident that God is giving you the desire that is part of His purpose.
What is your gifting?
God gives us gifts and talents. Regardless of where you are at spiritually, God has placed in your DNA the natural gifts and talents that should be used for Him. Romans 11:29 tells us that our gifts and call are “irrevocable” or without repentance. Some have administrative gifts, others gifts of hospitality or leadership. Some gifts are more public as musical, athletic or the ability to communicate motivationally and effectively. Regardless, God gives you natural gifts.
What do your spiritual leaders see in your life?
Proverbs 18:1 – “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment.”
We were never meant to live this life alone. In God’s design He places us in a community. He also places us in covenant relationship with leaders. According to Ephesians 4:11-12 we see that God places leaders in our lives to equip us for His divine purpose. I am so thankful for the leaders God has placed in our lives that have given us very wise counsel. There have been times our leaders have challenged us in certain seasons of our lives. Their challenge to us many times is to re-evaluate what we are doing and consider change. I can honestly say that their counsel and advice have been spot on every time.
As a leader I often see the potential in the people God has placed in our lives to lead. I am always looking for opportunity to encourage them and to empower them to use their gifts. I find great joy in seeing people fulfill their purpose.
I encourage your to take inventory of these questions. As you answer all three of these, don’t be surprised if all are pointing in the same direction. More often than not when we’ve seen others process these questions, there always seems to be a common thread. Once your purpose is discovered then comes the journey of developing and preparing to function according to your purpose. What’s the first step? How does one start this journey? Well, that is something we will discover next time.