“The will of God is not a mystery – it’s relational,” says Graham Cooke.
Your purpose on this earth was never meant to be a mystery, but like many, you may be struggling to find it.
Here’s a tip. If you want to find and fulfill your purpose, don’t start with yourself. It’s kind of like trying to read the label from inside the bottle. Instead, zoom out and look at the BIG PICTURE. As you do, things will start to become clear.
I’ve been dropping “purpose questions” that will help you to gain some BIG PICTURE perspective when it comes to your purpose. I call it The Purpose Roadmap. If you follow the Roadmap, by the end you will have a written purpose statement to clarify your current reality and guide you in future opportunities.
MACRO vs. micro Recap
There are at least four “MACRO” or BIG PICTURE questions and several “micro” questions we need to answer to have real clarity about your purpose. Here’s how I define them.
- “MACRO” Purpose is not God’s will and purpose for you but rather His Will and Purpose period. I call them “BIG W” and “BIG P”. These are determined by BIG PICTURE questions.
- Your “micro” purpose is God’s will and purpose for you. I call them “little w” and “little p”. These have to do with your spiritual gifts as well as your natural gifts, talents, strengths/abilities, passions, experiences, and sphere of influence.
We’ve covered the first two MACRO questions already (see bottom for all the parts in the series). Here is the third BIG question:
What is God’s Will?
So many people struggle to know God’s will, but it’s not a mystery! In fact, He clearly tells us His will in very obvious ways throughout the Scriptures. On a MACRO level, all believers are called to do the same things. It’s not until we consider our micro purposes that our unique calling begins to surface.
Love God, Love Yourself, and Live for the Good of Others
It’s called the Great Commandment. When asked which was the most important commandment (did you catch that, He’s telling us the most important things we are to be doing), Jesus actually bundled two in one.
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”1
In other words, love God with everything you’ve got and love others the same way you want to be loved.
You can’t love God and not love your neighbor, and you can’t truly love your neighbor without loving God because God is love! The way you love others is the litmus test for whether or not you are actually His disciple and follower. And going all the way back to part 1 of the series, you can’t love either God or people if you haven’t first received His love! It’s not just hard to love God and love people the way God loves them; apart from the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit it’s impossible!
But there is one more thing we often miss. Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Sometimes it’s easier to love others than to love ourselves. We tend to be the hardest on ourselves, but we must not only receive and practice God’s love for others; we must also learn to receive it for ourselves.
Be a Disciple Who Makes Disciples
It’s called The Great Commission for a reason and yet many people don’t even understand where to begin. There is so much confusion about what discipleship actually is. I started to flesh this out in a blog post I titled, Why I’m Done with Church, but to be brief and stay on point, let me define it here:
A disciple is simply a follower of Christ who learns and practices His ways.
We follow Jesus, learn His ways (and practice them), and teach others to do the same. This is life-on-life stuff. It’s useless to “teach” people, without expecting them to do something with what you’ve taught them. Otherwise, all they learn how to be is a consumer. Discipleship is a relationship with and obedience to Jesus the Christ and teaching others to do the same, and it’s a mandate is for every follower of Christ,
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…2
Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing
Jesus’ primary message was the kingdom. The first words out of His mouth when He began His public ministry were:
Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 3
If discipleship is unclear then the kingdom is even more unclear in the eyes of many Christians.
Jesus went on to tell us to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33)
If the kingdom is to be our primary concern, then understanding it becomes paramount.
Imagine if your teacher gave you a task without explaining it? Yet many Christians don’t know what it means to “seek first the kingdom” or even what it is. Here’s how I define the kingdom of God:
The kingdom of God is a relationship with the King, surrender to His rule and reign, and expanding His influence.
Without relationship, obedience won’t last. Joshua McDowell said it best,
Truth without relationships lead to rejection, rules without relationships lead to rebellion, discipline without relationship leads to bitterness, anger and resentment.
When Jesus taught us to pray, His first words were, “Our Father.” What was He saying? He was saying the foundation of prayer is your relationship with God the Father! He’s not just the King, He’s also our Father, and how you view the Father becomes very important in this scenario.
It reminds me of a story I read about Tad Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s youngest son. Apparently Tad had his own special knock for entering his father’s office – three quick taps and two slow bangs. He had access to his father virtually at all times and was often known to disrupt staff, meetings, and social occasions. Often while receiving important reports, President Lincoln would listen with Tad upon his knee while perfectly understanding the report. Lincoln’s kindness and affection for the child seemed to know no bounds.
Our Heavenly Father is the same way. He could be working on the most detrimental issue you could dream about, and yet He still has time for you to sit on His lap and share what’s happening in your life!
Ultimately, a relationship with God is our purpose, and our sense of purpose will only be clarified and understood more deeply the more time you spend with Him!
I love what Graham Cooke says about this,
“The will of God is not a mystery – it’s relational.”
Our relationship with Him is what motivates us to obey without making us bitter. God wants and demands obedience but not by pointing His finger and yelling at us. It’s through His kindness and compassion that obedience becomes a delight rather than a duty.
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.4
Without the relationship, God is just a dictator, and without obedience, He’s no King at all. He wants both. One empowers the other.
In the garden, before humanity spoiled the perfect fellowship we had with God, He gave them a command. The fact that it’s the first gives it heightened importance:
“Be fruitful and multiply.”5
This didn’t just refer to having children, although that was part of it. They were also to multiply God’s influence, His way of doing things, His rule, His reign.
His rule and reign brought order to chaos. His kingdom does the same.
Relate. Surrender. Expand. That is the kingdom of God. That is our purpose.
(MACRO) Purpose Question #3
What am I called to do? (read Mark 12:29-31, Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 19:10, Genesis 1:28, Matthew 6:33 and answer the question)
Then write it in a concise statement and add it to your answers from questions 1 and 2.
Regardless of what job you hold, where you live, the make-up and composition of your family, how old you are, or your gender – our purpose is the same:
Love God, live for the good of others, disciple others, and seek God’s kingdom first.
What you do for work is not unimportant but it’s secondary to this.
Next time, I will share our last BIG PICTURE question, and going forward, we will begin the journey toward your unique make-up and purpose. This is going to be fun!
Continue the Series
- Purpose Quest Intro: When Your Purpose Seems Foggy and Unclear
- Purpose Quest 1: Dealing with Your Daddy Issues
- Purpose Quest 2: You Are Not a Waste of Space
- Purpose Quest 4: You’ve Found Your Purpose, Now What?
- Purpose Quest 5: Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts
- Purpose Quest 6: Passion Inspires Purpose
- Purpose Quest 7: You Are Great at Something
- Purpose Quest 8: You Are One-of-a-kind. Don’t Waste It!
- Purpose Quest 9: There Is Purpose In Your Pain
- Purpose Quest 10: Finding Your People
¹ Mark 12:29-31 NIV
² Matthew 29:18 NIV
³ Matthew 4:17 NIV
4 1 John 5:2-3 ESV
5 Genesis 1:28
*Photo used courtesy of the Library of Congress