I can remember being a young teenager, up in my attic bedroom with the lace curtains. A lot of time was spent sitting on my bed, staring out that window to the fields and mountains beyond wondering WHAT my purpose was. I fully knew that God created me for a reason, but I couldn’t understand what he wanted me to do with my life. I was so busy trying to think my way to finding God’s purpose for my life, that I had immobilized myself.
It was naive of me to think at that time that this feeling of uncertainty would disappear as I got older. “It’s only teenagers who struggle with the big life questions,” I thought to myself.
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I laugh now, thinking about how much I had to learn. Now, as an adult, I find myself thinking and praying through so many of life’s biggest questions. A lot of those questions, I’m no more certain of the answer now than I was as a teenager. But I am more confident in God’s word, and I’m able to rest in that more than I did back then.
God’s word has been the biggest answer for me on my quest to finding God’s purpose for my life.
Does God Have a Purpose For My Life?
If you’re asking yourself this question, I know from experience that it’s likely causing you some stress. I want you to know that God wants you to rest in the knowledge of something beautiful:
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you , for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” – Psalm 139:13-14
Does that sound like a God who wants you to live in stress and toil away about missing your purpose? It certainly doesn’t sound that way to me. The God described in that beautiful psalm (my Grandpa’s favorite psalm) is an intricately and intimately involved God. That is not the kind of God that doesn’t have a plan for you, or is content to let you waste away your days in the worry of being unsure of your purpose.
Before we dig in, I want to also direct you to a wonderful book by Rick Warren called “The Purpose Driven Life.” I highly recommend this book as you wrestle with identifying your purpose.
I want to share a couple more Bible verses about purpose with you. I’m sharing them in a specific order as it’s going to help round out the edges of this post, and will help you be able to say with confidence, “God has a purpose for my life.”
Bible Verses About Purpose
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
God has a plan for your life… and what’s better, it’s a good plan. There’s nothing in that plan that says God intends harm or unhappiness for your life. God KNOWS the plans he has for you, and that includes plans to prosper you, keep you safe, give you beautiful hope, and the promise of a future.
Now, I want you to keep that knowledge and promise in mind as we read the next couple verses together.
“I know you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” – Job 42:2
That verse is referring to God, not us. God can do all things. His plans cannot be thwarted. So when you’re trying to find your God-given purpose, take comfort in the fact that there is NOTHING that can ruin God’s plans. Not even your own indecision, or fear, or pride… NOTHING. I want you to whisper that to yourself and pray thanks to God for that fact. God has a purpose for my life, and God has a purpose for your life. There’s nothing we (or our circumstances can do) to ruin, destroy or erase that purpose.
“Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed.” –Acts 13:36
There’s a couple really interesting things in this Bible verse about purpose.
As I’ve struggled through finding God’s purpose for my life, I’ve forgotten a couple key things that this verse makes very clear:
- We are serving God’s purpose... not our own. Did you notice that in the verse above? It says David had served God’s purpose in his life. I think often (whether innocent or not), we end up searching for and serving our own purposes instead of God’s. This is something we need to avoid.
- The other thing I want to pull out of that verse is that David didn’t pass away until he had fulfilled God’s purpose in his life. So when you think about fulfilling your God given purpose, know with confidence that the purpose is actually God’s, and he’ll keep you on this earth until that purpose is fulfilled.
How to Know God’s Purpose For My Life
“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.” –Colossians 1:16
This Bible verse about purpose (like the one above about David), is also really helpful as I find myself (along with you) on the journey of finding God’s purpose for my life.
This verse makes it clear again, that the purpose is ultimately God’s, and not our own. This doesn’t mean we are devoid of purpose… in fact, our purpose is FOR him. We were created through him and for him. This is where the lights, for me, started to come on while I was finding God’s purpose for my life. Check out this next Bible verse about purpose:
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” –1st Peter 2:9
Isn’t that beautiful? If we know Jesus, we are chosen, royal, holy… his special possession. And why do we get this privilege? So that we can declare his praises! Bingo! Right there we have uncovered and discovered our main purpose for God.
We do each have different and unique ways of living out our purpose, and we’ll discuss that in the next section. But down at the root of it, as Christ followers, our main purpose is to glorify God. To declare his praises. To point others to Christ through our love.
If you seek to do this in everything you do… you won’t miss out on fulfilling your God given purpose.
Identifying Your Unique Purpose
As I mentioned, while we all as Christ followers share the purpose of glorifying the Lord in all we do, we do each have a unique way of living out that purpose.
For example, Mary was entrusted with being the earthly mother of Jesus. She brought glory to God in a very unique way that no one else could.
Moses brought glory to God by stepping out in faith and leading the Israelites out of slavery.
Paul lived a life of rejecting Jesus and persecuting Christians. Then, God used that part of Paul’s past to turn him into a powerfully effective teacher and missionary.
All of these people glorified God, but they all lived it out in a very different way. In order for you to figure out how you should be living out your purpose, you need to figure out what God has given you… the gift(s) he has entrusted you with.
Using Your Gifts to Fulfill Your Purpose
You woke up this morning because God allowed it. That singing voice you have? That’s not by your power, but by God’s. Your ability to communicate? From God. Your ability to make friends easily and get lost in conversation? From God. You can run really fast and jump really high? You have God to thank for that.
“For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as though you did not receive it?” -1st Corinthians 4:7
God has gifted everyone. There’s not one person on earth that doesn’t have a natural talent. And more than that, there’s not one Christian who hasn’t received a gift (or more) from the Holy Spirit.
Those gifts are not for you. They are not yours to boast about. They are for building the kingdom. With that truth in mind, wouldn’t it be sinful if we let those gifts go to waste?
That would be like the parable in Matthew 25 about burying the talents in the ground. We won’t get into the whole parable in this post, but go read it for yourself! To very, very briefly summarize… God does not smile upon people doing nothing with their talents.
How to Recognize Your Gift(s)
First, I need to emphasize that natural talents and spiritual gifts are different things. Often, however, our natural talents are a method for us to use our spiritual gifts. But it is important that we remember and respect the distinction between the two.
To learn how to recognize your gift from God, I want you to ask yourself a few questions.
- What are you good at?
- What are you passionate about?
- As you study the spiritual gifts listed in the Bible, does any of them spark a little flame inside you or resonate with you?
- What area of ministry in your life is God blessing? The good fruits of that activity could be telling you something about your gift.
- It’s important to seek the counsel of mature Christians. What do they see in you?
- Where does what you’re good at, and what you’re passionate about intersect? That is often where you’ll find your gift.
- PRAYER. When I’m working at finding God’s purpose for my life, and when you’re looking for god’s purpose for your life, we need to do it prayerfully. Why would we leave the one who put that purpose inside of us out of the conversation?
God Has A Purpose For Your Life.
Seek God. Speak to God. Immerse yourself in his word. Live a life that in every moment seeks to glorify the creator of all things. When you do this, you will not miss out on your God-given purpose.