What's Your Purpose?
Categories: Guidance, Identity, Moses
"What is my purpose? Why am I here?"
These are questions we often ask ourselves when we feel like we have lost our spark in life. "Purpose" is having "unwavering firmness of character, action, or will" (Roget's II: The New Thesaurus). So, we can take this "unwavering firmness" and apply it to our lives. We can answer the questions of "What is my purpose?" and "Why am I here?" by looking at our relationship to God: we are His children! And as such, we have a very specific, clear purpose and reason for being!
The idea of applying "unwavering firmness" to our life and purpose may seem tough. Indeed, even some of the leaders in the Bible struggled with their sense of purpose: Moses wavered. He questioned his adequacy when God chose him to lead the children out of Egyptian slavery: "Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?" (Ex. 3:11). It didn't matter to God that Moses wasn't sure about himself. God was sure of Moses and told Moses, "Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain" (Ex. 3:12). God knew Moses would succeed. When Moses realized the power was in God and not in himself, Moses was able to take action with confidence, lead the children of Israel to freedom, and fulfill his God-given mission.
Like Moses, we might question our purpose at different times in life. Beginning in our teens, we start searching for a career we'd like, who we will marry, and how we are going to make our mark on the world. And we often start wondering about our purpose. But knowing and affirming, with "unwavering firmness," our identity as a child of God eliminates any stray thoughts that might say we're not God's daughter or son. We never worry that we may suddenly turn into a dog or a cat. Such a silly notion would make us laugh. So why are we tempted to question our identity? We really don't have to worry that we have no purpose in life. Why? Because no matter what stage of life we are in, we always have a purpose -- to glorify God!
To glorify God, we have to do what He wants us to do. In Paul's letter to the Romans, he says that our focus of what we do should be shifted to what God does, which puts our life in its proper place (The Message, Rom. 3:31). Therefore, we must remove our own opinions of what we want to do or not do and refuse to let our own will get in the way of what God has planned for us. This requires us to trust and be patient, to rely on God's will, not our own -- trusting as Jesus trusted, when he humbly affirmed, "… not my will, but thine, be done" (Luke 22:42). We'll find that our lives will work out better if we leave the decision-making up to God. Placing our lives in God's hands (rather than in our own) blesses us and glorifies God. As we hand our lives over to God, He immediately opens our hands to receive good.
Start with Love
We glorify God best when we love God and love others. As children of God, we are embraced with His unconditional love, and we can, in turn, share this love with others. Jesus felt this unconditional love, shared it with those around him, and helped others see their purpose in life. In one of Jesus' prayers to his followers, he says, "In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world" (The Message John 17:18). Our mission is to love: "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you" (John 15:12).
Love was the foundation of Jesus' life, and he shared that love by teaching others how to heal -- through love. Like Jesus' mission, our mission is to share the same unconditional love that God has for us with others. God's love for Jesus is no greater than God's love for us. All God's children are equal. Our purpose is God's purpose; our purpose is to serve God.
We can trust that God will reveal to us how to serve Him in the ways He needs us to serve. Because God is infinite, there are infinite ways to fulfill His purpose, our purpose -- to love. So, we can rejoice, knowing that God will reveal to us how to love, what to do to make others feel loved, how to live the purpose God has given us in our very unique God-given way. Let's also trust that there is a right time for everything: "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven" (Eccl. 3:1). Just as our purpose is God's purpose, so our time is God's time. Therefore, we do not need to fear what will come tomorrow; we can live each day as children of God, knowing that we are in the right place doing the right things.
God, our Father-Mother, has given us the tools -- grace, direction, strength, conviction -- to succeed in life. As His children, we can use these tools without fear or uncertainty. Knowing that we are all able to succeed in our own way enables us to embrace our individual and unique purpose in life.
A Spiritual Role Model
Peter, one of Jesus' apostles, showed us, through his unselfishness, courage, and leadership, that we are all on God's mission. Four particular examples of Peter's preaching, healing, and determination stand out:
- "Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you'll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want" (The Message 1 Pet. 4:1-2).
- Refocus your thinking. Try thinking about what is best for others as opposed to what is always best for you.
- Walk with others in mind; watch out for others' backs; and give when others are in need. If we focus on ourselves, we are walking around staring at our feet, watching our backs, selfishly catering to the "I wants," and missing opportunities to do good.
- Peter said, "As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God" (KJV 1 Pet. 4:10).
- Give to others; it often helps us see how we are needed.
- Start small. Share a smile. Ask how someone's day is going, and listen to what he or she has to say.
- Share your talents -- baking, cleaning, singing, dancing, writing, art. Find something special that you can share.
- Remember: "This is a spiritual refining process, with glory around the corner" (The Message, 1 Pet. 4:13).
- Good doesn't always come in expected ways.
- Actions initiated with love end with love. So, expect good to come full-circle.
- In living out your purpose -- your goal, ambition, plan -- "stay wide-awake in prayer" (The Message 1 Pet. 4:7).
So, what is our purpose? Why are we here? We are here as children of God whose mission is to love. By letting God into our lives, we are letting good into our lives. And where there is God -- and good -- there is no room for fear, hate, or uncertainty. Remember, "For in him, we live, and move, and have our being" (KJV Acts 17:28).