Plans, purpose, and destiny, hallmark terms used in conjunction with one’s search for significance. Who am I? Why did God create me? What is the ultimate reason God placed me here upon the earth? What is my assignment? We often have more questions than answers, especially as new Christians. While this treasure of truth may appear to be hidden, it is only hidden for a season. The season will pass, and the truth will be revealed, to those who search for it with diligence.
Uncovering God’s plan and purpose for life is vital to fulfilling destiny. It is the impetus for which we run the race of life. Running the course and fulfilling the call leads us to the ultimate finish line. It is our destiny; to cross the line, to finish the race, and hear the words of the Father, “Well done!” Let us begin the search for truth.
A small child approaches you with a large sack full of various puzzle pieces and drops them at your feet. He asks, “Can you help me with this?” The puzzle box has long since disappeared in the trash, and you have no idea what the finished product even looks like. While a small puzzle may be a simple task, a large one with 500 or more pieces may be more daunting. Having a clear vision of the expected end makes the whole process much easier. What picture did the creator of the puzzle see before he created the puzzle pieces? The puzzle creator knew what the finished product would look like even before he or she created it. So it is with God!
There is intentionality in all that God does. He creates each of us with a plan, for a purpose, and an assigned place. Just as the individual members of our physical body have a specific role to play, so do the members of the body of Christ. We often refer to this as our “calling.” According to Jeremiah 29:11, we have an expected end. God created each of us with our expected end in mind. While God knows our end from the beginning, our personal vision of who he intended us to be, is often unclear and elusive. Finding our place and understanding our purpose, is not always easy.
As the teacher of numerous spiritual growth classes and spiritual gifts seminars, the one question I am asked more often than any other is this, “How can I know God’s plan and purpose for my life?” Often people of all ages and sizes have no comprehension of what God’s intention is for their life. The first question I ask my students is this, “What do you like to do?” Not what you have to do to earn a living or satisfy the needs of your family, friends, or peers. What do you like to do just because you can? If money or circumstances were not obstacles, what would you enjoy doing with your life right now and in the future?
Another question I like to ask is this, “What are you passionate about?” What stirs you heart, either in a positive or a negative manner? Do your heart strings tighten just a bit when you see a homeless man on the street? Perhaps you become passionate about the victims of abuse. Are you a return visitor to the mission field? Do you enjoy volunteering at the local soup kitchen or witnessing to the lost?
Some people love to search the scriptures and utilize the wisdom they gain to teach others. Then we have people with the gift of helps. They don’t care how large or how small the task may be, they simply want to help in whatever capacity they can. Matthew 6:21 says this, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” What you are passionate about is a clue to who you are. Who you are is a gift from God. Your identity, or your purpose, is the gift God gave to you. It is his treasure hidden in an earthen vessel, his vessel. It is your spiritual DNA.
God Gifted You with a Purpose and Gave You an Identity in Him.
I remember even as a small child, longing to play the piano. I begged my mother for lessons. Thinking this was probably a phase that would soon pass; my parents decided I would take dance lessons instead. They took my brother and I to tap dance lessons for 2 full years, until they realized that I had two left feet; and I still wanted to play the piano.
They finally purchased a piano and put it in the basement so that I could practice. No doubt they were protecting their own ears from any offensive sounds that may come from my humble beginnings as a pianist. However persist I did, and eventually they decided that this was no passing whim. They purchased a much nicer piano and I graduated to the living room to continue practicing my musical assignments. My dream of becoming a pianist was being realized. I continue to love playing the piano to this day.
You may be wondering what all this has to do with finding one’s purpose and calling. Well for me, it was the first small puzzle piece to my picture of life in Christ. Another piece to the puzzle appeared when I was the ripe old age of eight. I had an english assignment. My teacher, Mrs. Gibson, insisted that the whole class write letters on a weekly basis to a classmate who was ill. I did not know the classmate well, and had no idea what to write. So, I wrote her a story each and every week. Little did I know it would birth the craft by which I would eventually earn a living. By the time I advanced to high school, I had cultivated a passion for writing. Creative writing was my favorite class.
I did not like to speak in front of others, but instinctively knew that it was a fear that I would need to overcome. I was determined to conquer the handicap. I took speech and landed roles in most of the dramas performed in our high school. I can’t say I mastered the fear of public speaking at that time; I did develop a healthy tenacity for doing it afraid.
The last puzzle piece I can relate from childhood was the desire to become acquainted with the mission field. Even in junior high, I loved reading books about missionaries and their work. I volunteered to work at a local migrant school and spent the bulk of two summers helping with the children of the migrants that worked the fields in my community.
Each of these became puzzle pieces pointing to the future that God had intended for me, even though I did not recognize them at the time. As an adult, a desire to preach, teach and write eventually landed me a job at a Christian University, doing what? Writing, teaching and preaching; among a myriad of other tasks that have found their way to my plate, but that is not the greatest miracle. God moved me from a career as a nurse in Ohio, where I had lived all my life; to North Carolina where I learned the skills I would need to live life on my own in a big city. Finally, he brought me to southern California where I am living out the dream. I am doing exactly what God intended.
That is how the picture of my life began to take shape, one piece at a time. So, what do your puzzle pieces look like? What are your gifts, talents, and desires? If you could do anything you wished to do and money were not an object, what would you choose to do?
What do people seek you for? Do you have a talent or a gift that draws others to your side? What stirs your heart and causes you to become alive with passion? Whatever your purpose is, it is your ticket to a successful life. Success is not simply about money, but it is about living a fulfilled life. Success encompasses finance, education, relationships, career, family, and more. For one to fulfill God’s plan and purpose, a person needs to fully understand who they are. It requires a sense of personal identity.
Habakkuk wrote in Habakkuk 2:2, “Then the LORD answered me and said, “Record the vision And inscribe it on tablets, That the one who reads it may run.” How can we run our race unless we have a clear vision of where the finish line is? The finish line of life is our expected end. A good friend of mine, Dr. Calvin .Sweeney says, “Run your particular race with purpose in every step, so that you can become whatever He’s called you to become.”
How can you uncover the truth of your calling and discover your purpose? Experiment if need be, try a few things to see how they fit. Do you want to teach? Try teaching some kids in the Sunday school or Children’s Church. You will quickly fall in love with the kids and teaching, or move on to find something that suits you better. Do you have a desire to help out with visitation of the sick or building projects? Try it, see if it fits. If it does not seem to be your forte, then try something else.
Another valuable guide is your pastor and other church leaders. Once they have an opportunity to get to know you, they can help you find your place, the place where you fit in best. They can give you opportunities to grow and mature in your calling. Don’t hesitate to get some training in the areas that interest you the most. Studies on spiritual growth and spiritual gifts are helpful as well.
Find your place. Run your race. Fulfill your purpose.
Once more to quote Paul,
14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. 19 If they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now there are many members, but one body”1 Corinthians 12:14-20 NASB
We have each been created uniquely different, yet we all fit together to become one. That is, we become one as the body of Christ. But if the foot said, I want to be an eye, what good would that do? The foot cannot effectively see any more than we can walk on our eye. I say that to say how vitally important it is to discover not only who we are, but where we fit in to the body of Christ. We cannot be effective, successful, or happily fulfilled unless we take our place, discover our own identity, and run our race accordingly.
So what do your puzzle pieces say about you? Who are you and what is your purpose? What is your calling and destiny in Christ? If you have not uncovered the truth of who you are, isn’t it time you did?
For more on this vital subject read the book, “Treasures of the Heart.” You can purchase the book at www.planpurposedestiny.org Kathy teaches on this subject and others in seminars and workshops. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a seminar in your own local church.