How to discover God’s purpose for your life
Have you ever wondered, “Why am I here?”
Maybe you’ve gone your whole life knowing you wanted to be a doctor but didn’t make it into med school. Maybe an unplanned opportunity came your way, but you didn’t know if it was the right choice.
Maybe your dreams have changed so often that when someone asks where you see yourself in five years, you panic because you could see yourself running your own business, staying at home with the kids, serving in full-time ministry overseas, or working as a flight attendant.
You don’t know where to start, where your passions lie, or what you are even good at. If you’re confused about what you were made for, take a moment and breathe. Stop worrying about which job you’ll apply for next, what city you’ll end up in, who you might marry, or what God even made you for.
You were created on purpose, for a purpose, and with a purpose.
If there is any insecurity harboring inside you right now, rest in the fact that God created you and has plans for you. Ephesians 2:10 says, “... we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” God has created you uniquely. You are the only you on Earth, and you have a divine mission only you can accomplish. You were created on purpose, for a purpose, and with a purpose.
Finding Your Place in the Church
God made each of us to bring glory to Him and to share the good news about Jesus’ forgiveness of sin with the people around us. But while every Christian shares this common goal, we don’t all share the same talents, abilities, resources, interests, and perspectives. And that’s a good thing.
Some people are natural teachers, and others are natural preachers. Some easily find words of encouragement, others see into the future clearly and understand the implications of a decision well before anyone else.
These abilities are not accidental. God gives each of us at least one spiritual gift the moment we ask Jesus into our lives. These spiritual gifts are meant to work together to help build the church and draw others to Jesus.
In a letter to believers in Rome, the apostle Paul explains this concept using the illustration of a body. While each organ and body part serves a specific function, they are dependent on one another to thrive. We are part of one body — the church — and within the church, we all serve different functions.
“We have different gifts according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully” (Romans 12:4-8).
Like the parts of a body, the church is most effective when:
• we understand that not everyone has the same gifts,
• we know who we are and what we do best,
• we are committed to working together for God’s service, not our personal success.
God distributes spiritual gifts according to His wisdom and graciousness. Our role is to learn what gifts God has given us, then to be faithful and find ways to serve others with the gifts God has given us (1 Peter 4:10-11).
Finding Your Place in the World
In addition to giving us spiritual gifts, God also places specific desires in our hearts.
Maybe you see other single moms all around you and think, “Someone needs to make a place for women with kids to connect.” Maybe you pass the same homeless person every day on your way to work and think, “Someone should do something for him.” Maybe you see a broken process in your church, community, or workplace, and think, “We could reach more people if someone would…” What if the someone God wants to work through is you?
Where we live, when we were born, who we interact with — none of these circumstances are accidental (Acts 17:26-27). God has placed you where you are, and He calls you to serve where you are. The best way to find your calling is to consider: Who are you burdened for? And, what opportunities has God put in front of you to help those people? The answer to those questions will help you find your calling.
Some people find a niche and dedicate their lives to it. But for the vast majority of Christians, God brings different burdens and opportunities in different seasons of life.
Embracing Who You Were Made to Be
The desire to have a meaningful existence is innate in all of us. It’s the drive behind our late nights in the office, our early mornings on the practice field, and our long hours making sure the house looks perfect and the kids are well-behaved.
We want to know that what we do matters, that we are making a difference. And if we don’t understand why we are here or what we were made for, we’ll fill that need with whatever seems right at the time.
The Bible teaches that finding our purpose in anything other than the Lord will always leave us unfulfilled. After observing all the ways people searched for meaning in their lives apart from God, Solomon, one of the wisest and wealthiest kings to ever live, wrote, “I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14).
Only the Lord has the answers you are looking for, and He promises that if you’ll seek your purpose in Him, your life will have an eternal impact (Matthew 6:33).