Summary: review these seven ideas and see if we can’t boil them down into a workable game plan.
In the last seven weeks we’ve covered seven characteristics related to God’s purpose for your life. Understanding these characteristics will help you recognize and accept the purpose God has planned for you. They’re not strategies for spiritual success that I or anyone else have created. They’re facets of our lives and His character that reveal how He weaves each of us into the tapestry of His eternal purpose.
This week we’re going to review these seven ideas and see if we can’t boil them down into a workable game plan.
1. You were built for your purpose
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
God considered you personally enough to give you your own unique personality and abilities and matched them to your unique purpose. You’ve been made to order.
God knew who you would be and what He had in store for you long before you were born. Who you are as a person, your strengths and weaknesses, your likes and dislikes, are matched to what it is He has for you to accomplish.
When you accepted Christ you underwent a second birth, a birth of the spirit. What makes up your spiritual nature are the gifts and the measure of faith you were endowed with as a result of your spiritual birth. “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” (Romans 12:6).
Your physical traits aren’t any more of an accident in God’s plan than the spiritual traits you received as a result of your spiritual birth. He made you physically and spiritually to fulfill His purpose.
Don’t think too highly of your talents and abilities; they were given as a gift, to use in His purpose. Don’t cling too tightly to the people, traditions and things you love; they are blessings on loan for His purpose. Don’t mourn your shortcomings or be disappointed in your handicaps; they may be your greatest gift in His economy. And be careful about what and who you disdain; they may be the very palette on which God paints His purpose in your life.
2. Your personal history has equipped you for your purpose
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Have you ever regretted something that’s happened to you or something you’ve done? How about a certain part of your life when you wish you could take a do-over?
How do you feel about your present existence? Do you feel like what you’re doing doesn’t really count for much in light of eternity? Wish you could do something important with your life?
All the seemingly bad stuff that’s happened in your past and the seemingly boring stuff that’s happening today aren’t outside of God’s plan or in spite of God’s plan. They’re a part of God’s plan. If you’re thinking that it would take a miracle for your mixed bag of past and present to ever add up to anything worthwhile in God’s eternal plan, you’re right it would. That’s what He does.
The problem with being in the middle of life is that, usually, you’re just to close to it to see God’s plan unfolding. But the plan is there anyway. Seeing it at work is only a matter of perspective. Just kept on trucking and God will work His plan.
3. It’s really His purpose – working in you.
“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).
The Bible indicates that plan tends to look at things from man’s side of the equation and purpose tends to look at things from God’s side. The biggest problem with our concept of purpose lies in just whose purpose we’re really talking about. We’re all too eager for God’s purpose to fit into our plans. We’re really big on believing that God’s purpose is to prosper us or to give us good health or to keep us safe from harm. But we’re not so big on God’s purpose being personal sacrifice or personal holiness, or personal obedience.
How often do we pray, “Thy will be done,” and really mean it?
The most important thing to remember is that your purpose is really His purpose for your existence. God’s purpose for man is to glorify Himself. His purpose for your existence is that you may glorify Him.
What if God’s will, His purpose for your life didn’t include health, wealth and happiness? Would you still be able to pray, “Thy will be done”?
Sometimes His purpose overrides our plans; that’s as it should be. There are some things more important than health, wealth and happiness. There are some things more important than life itself.