6 things to consider for how you live out God’s purpose
Thinking of our lives lived in 24 hours on a clock; there are six things to consider for how you live out God’s purpose. Whether you find yourself with just 10 minutes left in the hour, or 20 minutes into the hour, this is relevant at whatever stage of life you find yourself in.
- Look at the needs around you.
Scripture tells us that we are not to think only of our own interests but also the interests of others (Philippians 2:4, author paraphrase). I learned a long time ago that God has placed me on the planet to fulfill the needs that are immediately around me.
God often does His work in ways that we don’t understand. That’s why we’ve got to see where He’s working, recognize where the needs are and be ready to fill them.
To really understand God’s will in terms of
your purpose, and living out your purpose,
look at the needs around you.
2. Consider the seasons of life.
In Ecclesiastes 3 we’re told that there is a time and a season for everything under the sun.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 niv1984).
When Donna and I were first married and we had no children, I lived out God’s purpose for my life differently than I do today. I was just starting to develop my purpose and the role that I played then was very different than it is today. Children came along and the way I lived out my purpose changed to instill God’s love into the lives of my children. We glorified God by taking them to church, providing them with a Christian education. I loved, nurtured and protected them the best I could.
As I examined my life in a 24-hour clock, I realized 7:30 p.m. represents about where I am in my life. I’m in the season of life where I’m not looking to build new things, but instead wanting to ensure that I pass an opportunity to reach people for Christ on to the next generation. The clock keeps ticking.
You are probably in different seasons of life than I am. If you don’t know what season you’re in, and don’t understand the need to adapt to the seasons, you can get stuck.
Your purpose of glorifying Him occurs through every season of life, but it should be lived out differently according to the season you’re in.
What time is it for you?
3. Understand the times that you live in.
A good question to ask to help you understand the time you live in is, How can I be effective where God has placed me in time, space and culture?
Acts 13:36 says: “David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, died, was laid beside his ancestors” (NRS). King David was responsible for the generation he lived in, for the culture and the time that he lived in.
You and I are responsible to be aware of the times in which we live.
I’m of European heritage from Scandinavia, Germany and England. I’m a Caucasian white male, born in the second half of the 20th Century, living in the United States of America where we’ve been extremely blessed. That is where God has placed me in time, space and culture.
I realize I live in a different time than it was 50 years ago. Our children and grandchildren will face different issues than the ones Donna and I faced. If you and I don’t understand these things, we can become too busy working, putting money in the bank, feeding our family … we can live our entire lives completely missing the fact that our purpose is to glorify God.
When you choose to understand the times you live in, you can have the right motivation to live your purpose.
4. How has God gifted you?
Assessing how you live out your purpose requires an answer to the question, What am I naturally strong at? You build upon your strengths.
Usain Bolt, a runner from Jamaica won gold in the 2012 Olympics. He’s the fastest human being today. He ran the hundred meters in less than ten seconds. I also watched the 10,000 meter race. These athletes were little, scrawny guys and Usain Bolt looked like a linebacker for the NFL. He had massive muscles and strength. Usain Bolt received three gold medals, and his entire performance time was less than 40 seconds. The poor guy who had run the 15,000 meters ran and ran and ran.
It was all about their giftedness. If you made Usain Bolt run the 15,000 meter race, he would have lost miserably because he isn’t built to be a long-distance runner. Bolt is built to run 100 meters faster than any person. The guy who ran the 15,000 meters was built to run long distances.
If we don’t understand that we all have different gifts, we try to be someone that we’re not and live in misery for the rest of our lives. As a speaker and a communicator, one of the battles that I face in what I feel God’s given me to do, is to be careful not to try to have to be like anyone else. I was not created to be another communicator. I am who I am. God’s given me certain gifts and strengths that I need to build upon. He’s given you strengths that you need to build upon.
You may be a long distance runner, or perhaps you’re a short distance runner. Maybe you’re not a runner at all. You must understand what your gifts are and how they relate to living out your purpose.
5. Consider your skills.
What skills do you have and what skills do you need to develop in order to live out your purpose? If you feel that God has called you to be an ophthalmologist, there’s only one way to do that — go to school and take the steps necessary to become a medical doctor. If God has called you to be an engineer, you’re going to have to study engineering. If God has called you to be a computer programmer, then additional training is required to help you develop the skills you need.
God wants you to be skilled at what you do. You must do what it takes to learn, grow and become the best at it. That only comes with hard work.
There’s a sixth thing God gives us when we think about finding that place where we can serve Him, where we can live out our purpose and it’s our desires.
6. Examine your desires.
What are you naturally drawn to? The Bible says that if we delight in the Lord, He gives us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4 author paraphrase). I look at my wife, Donna. She has a desire for art and design. That is what she’s drawn to. She loves color, painting, organizing, reorganizing and decorating. Those things energize and motivate her.
God tends to draw you into areas where there are needs, where He’s gifted you and given you interest. He draws you into areas where you can do what He wants you to do.
When it comes to living your purpose, there are many options. How you live out your purpose of glorifying Christ will be different than how I live it out. We each have to discover for ourselves how to live out our purpose in prayer and in consideration with our personal relationship with God.