I was asked a question last week at the "Open Book" book club. "How do I find my purpose?" That't a question whose answer I wish were much easier to find than it is. As a believer, I told them that you MUST inquire about your purpose from God. After all, He is the Creator of mankind- this is central for the believer. I often critique each sermon and interview and after leaving the book club, this question has continued to reverberate in my mind.
For a while, I wondered if I'd answered correctly. Maybe there is a way to identify your life's purpose without asking God. What about people who don't believe in God...their lives have purpose too, right? Sure does and the bible tells us that God yet has a purpose for them-even as an unbeliever (2 Peter 3:9) But..there was one answer that proved elusive for me. "What did I leave out?" I continued to ask myself, but today the answer perfectly came to me!
As we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I must say that a person in pursuit of their life's purpose will find either purpose or the trail to discovering purpose in their service to others! When we seek the reason we exist, part of the answer is discovering in asking yourself the question, "how can I serve humanity?" Jesus gave us part of this when He said that all 10 of the commandments from God were summed in two commandments:
Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matthew 22:35-40
First, love God and then others. On those two commandments hang the law and the prophets, according to Jesus. In this era of self-love and me-first ideologies, take time to serve. What in your everyday life can be used to serve others? You'd be surprised how big an impact even the smallest increment of your existence could be to someone else, in their life. Random acts of kindness aren't so random, when done on purpose! So, as you pursue purpose, don't neglect to be purposeful about your service to others!
It's often stated that the older we get, the more aware we are of the times. For others of us, the older we get, the more aware we are of just how uncertain life can be. In the bible, James tells us how to 'make plans'.
Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. - James 4:13-15
I grew up hearing my mother end her conversations "if the Lord say the same" and though I understood why she would say it, I didn't understand its origin. Last November, as I was talking to a friend, it dawned on me how important it is to acknowledge the Lord's plans in ours.
I made plans to be somewhere this March and as I got off the phone, those words rang loudly in my spirit. "If (and only if) the Lord says the same!" That acknowledgment is what I believe will not only save us misdirection and even heartbreak, but will open us up to the clearest path on our way to destiny.
Sure it was only a plan to attend an event, but what if I never filtered that thought and plan through the will of God?
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
"I know the plans" as the Lord says in Jeremiah 29:11 extends beyond the nation of Israel's Babylonian captivity. Even some of our best laid plans are subject to the Lord's approval. I had to grow into a place of trust that caused me to truly seek God with every plan. God knows about the emergencies, the incidentals and dangers seen and unseen that lie in wait of our movement without Him.
He also knows which destiny steps await us at said arrivals. Who we will meet, what we are to say and even where to go once we get there. Never believe that you have reached a place in God that He only ok's your great plans!
Even after you have prayed and feel sufficiently prepared, remain open in prayer and allow the Lord to lead you all the way. As it stands, I have added that event to my calendar with an asterisk next to it. In fact, last week my email was full of press credential denials.
I stopped to think for a moment and immediately reminded myself that the Lord is in charge of my schedule. Has been and will continue to be. As the song "Yes, God is Real" says: "There are some places I cannot go..." I have learned to be okay with that, in this season-whichever it happens to be!
Remember, God knows the plans...He knows where I am to be, who I am to be in contact with and what I'll be doing and when I am to do it! For the first time ever, I'm going into a new year not totally sure what the year will bring! I know what I hope it will bring, but I'm unsure. What I am sure about is that God's plan will be achieved.
There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand. -Proverbs 19:21
Yep, I Said It!
When I have something to say, I often say it. Many times, I try to find the best way to say it. Other times, there's just no easy way to say a hard thing. My journey in life has made me a person with much to say and the person people least want to hear it from.