Wednesday, March 30 2022
Contributor: Ngozi Roberts
In our last lesson, we learnt about the hindrances to knowing Gods will and understood that for us to accomplish Gods will in our lives we are not to allow Sin, or our Will hinder God’s Will from being accomplished in us.
So today we are continuing our quest for knowledge in our Christian living by attempting to understand what Living a Life of Purpose all is about. In his book The Purpose driven life, Rick Warren gave us a design for Christian Living. He explained to us what is meant by living a lifestyle-based on God’s eternal purpose and not cultural or social values.
Our topic today is about living a life of purpose. I want to believe that from our last lessons we now have an idea of what our purpose in life is. So today we are going to explore how to live that purpose. I have attempted to simplify this topic by breaking down into bits the words and into sections so as to bring out a basic meaning to this topic. I pray that this way our understanding of the topic will be better enriched.
What is Living? Miriam Webster defines Living as
(i) having life, (ii) the condition of being alive
What is Life? Miriam Webster defines Life:
•as the sequence of physical and mental experiences that make up the existence ofan individual.
•as any system capable of performing functions such as eating, metabolizing,excreting, breathing, moving, growing, reproducing, and responding to external stimuli.
Another definition says:
- it is the state characterized by the ability to get and use energy, reproduce, grow, andrespond to change: the quality that plants and animals lose when they die.
- the period during which a person or thing is alive or exists.
What is Purpose? Miriam Webster defines Purpose as:
- The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.•INTENTION, INTENT, PURPOSE, DESIGN, AIM, END, OBJECT, OBJECTIVE,GOAL
- Mean what one intends to accomplish or attain
If we put all these together one can then say that Living a Life of Purpose is the condition of being alive during which period, one has something to accomplish.
Therefore, I can say that when one is Living a life of Purpose, the person is alive for a period to accomplish something.
So, the question is, do I know the purpose for which am alive for? Do I know the goal for which I am supposed to accomplish while I am alive?
If I then know the reason or the gaol for which I was created to be alive for, then the next question is am I on the right track? In other words, am I living out the life? Am I carrying out the steps that will lead me to fulfil the goal or purpose? Lets look at purposeful living.
I know that in the circular teachings we get all the steps of achieving goals, purposes in life. Usually these are set out by either oneself or the institutions we are under or the projects that we undergo. For example, we are advised to set our new year resolutions, or organisations could ask you set out the goals for achieving a particular task or project. Or even goals are given to you and either your team or self to achieve within a set time. OR an institution that gave the goal would usually set out steps to achieving these goals. Ultimately once these steps are followed through, it will lead to the accomplishment of the set goals. Interestingly, enough when we are in the right course through these steps we are appraised and scored excellently well, and we are happy. In the same manner on the larger scale, when we were created Jeremiah 1:5 confirmed that we were known before we were born.
"Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
God created you and I having known us first. In knowing us I believe, it’s because he had an assignment for you and myself. That is why we were given birth to a particular area of the earth, and through a particular woman/man. He has a purpose for us. Now, having by His spirit guided us into being born again, He expects us to lay hold on the manual for living and find the part that will guide us into fulfilling our purpose on earth. So, there are steps to follow for us to live that purpose fulfilling life. When we lay hold of these steps, and follow it diligently, automatically, passion follows with fulfilment, joy and contentment and the ease with which we go through life will be so amazing that we eventually end up living a life of purpose. As we go through this study my prayer is that we will be able to know where we are at so as to realign ourselves into fulfilling our purposes in Jesus Name Amen.
Text - Matthew 5:13-16
13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavour, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Supreme Goal - From the above scripture, we know that our goal is to be the
a.Salt of the earth.
b.Light of the world
c.Glorify our Father
Therefore, whatever we find our selves doing in our pursuit in life, it has to fulfil the above three things. Earlier on we established that God has a purpose for everyone from the scripture Jeremiah 1:5 - 5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
Note that Job said in Job 42:2
“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted”
God’s purpose cannot be reversed. Therefore, Once God has established His purposes for our lives—no one can change it. Remember Pharaoh?
In Exodus 9:16, the scripture said that “But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth”
God put Pharaoh in the place of being an Egyptian leader for His purpose. God has a purpose for everyone—including those who resist Him.
FINDING OUR PURPOSE
We were thought in school that to fulfil your goal and mission, one must make plans and follow the steps in the plan. Remez Sasson categorized these into 10 steps as below:
1)Be specific about what you want to achieve
2)Draw up a plan of action
3)Make a list of steps
4)Act do not be passive
5)Read and listen to advice
7)Examine your goals periodically
9)Visualize your goal
Interestingly though, I find that in the fulfilment of life’s purpose we also need to follow some steps.
Proverbs 20:5 says that “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out”.
We all are made in the image of God, and we have established that we all are born with a purpose. However, the truth is that we can either discover it or completely miss it. Thank God, provisions have been made for us the believers, so we do not miss it. So, I have below the 2 main steps that can lead us into living a life of purpose.
1.Ensure you are spirit filled and prayerful
The Holy Spirit is the one that helps each believer and gives us the insight to God’s purpose for us. We find peace and courage when we sense the confirmation of the Holy Spirit that we are in the right place at the right time of our individual purpose. Therefore, for each step that we take, the Holy Spirit is there to witness that we are walking in the right direction.
So, in our pursuit to fulfilling our purpose, we carry out plans, make mini goals, follow the steps in each of the mini goals and if we are double checking with the Holy Spirit to ensure that we are walking in the right direction we will fulfil our purpose.
Proverbs 19:21 the message translation says,
"We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but GOD’s purpose prevails."
In finding your purpose, God’s purpose is the one that lasts. We can make our plans and set out to see them accomplished but only if it is in alignment with the purpose of God for us would it last. We can make our plans and set out to see them accomplished, but if we don’t pray and seek God’s direction—we could find ourselves drifting in an ocean of challenges without a sail. Every plan should begin and end with God in mind first.
2.Believe in the purpose and Submit to the guidance of the Holy Spirit
Once we acknowledge the purpose, we should then believe in the purpose. It is when we start believing in the purpose that it becomes easier to submit to the guidance of the Holy spirit in obedience. As long as we are working in total obedience and submission to his plan, we will surely fulfil our purpose. Take the life of Mary for example, when the angel told her that she was going to be the mother of the son of God, what did she say in Luke 1:38: 38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. Mary believed. And in her belief, she knew her purpose, and allowed the Holy Spirit to take over her life so that she was able to live a life of purpose for her. She fulfilled her purpose when she gave birth to Jesus.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE MISS IT?
Yes, sometimes we might miss a step (Romans 8:28). - “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”.
God works through all situations to fulfil His purpose. You see, the enemy is not happy that we are in the right track doing what God has ordained us to do. So sometimes he brings challenges that seems too difficult to handle and when we get beclouded, we tend to lose it. Hard times can make it difficult to see God’s purpose especially when we only feel pain and grief. Many times, we don’t want to be reminded that God is working our difficulty for our good. However, if we practice living our lives with the mindset that God is working things out for us, we can have smoother transition of accepting this truth during challenging times. The key is being very conscious of the presence of the Holy Spirit and with practice He will always guide us through. You see when we genuinely work in error and miss the step. The Holy Spirit will always find a way of bringing the right step to where you are so that you can become re-aligned to the original purpose. They key is working in partnership with the Holy Spirit.
John 16: 7 "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you."
Vs 13 - "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew your things to come."
Isaiah 30:21 says - "And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, this is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left."
We are designed to take advantage of the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit. Being aware of his presence is good but when we allow him to minister to us is better. The Holy Spirit is the strengthner, revealer, preserver, anointed, comforter of all of us as believers.
if we are in partnership with the Holy Spirit, as a revealer, He will always reveal to us the truth of what our purpose is in life. He will guide us through all the steps required to living a life of purpose.
To ensure that we live a life of purpose, we must ensure that it is not a living of power and might. We must acknowledge that we can only live this life in partnership with the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy spirit which knows the mind of Christ. Jesus Christ left us with the Holy Spirit to comfort and guide us. When he lived in this earth, he knew all the ups and downs that can block and hinder us from fulfilling our purpose. But He in the end overcame and was able to fulfil his own purpose. That is why He left us with a Helper in the person of the Holy Spirit so that we are certain to make it and fulfil our own purpose also. Jesus Christ in fulfilling his own purpose was able to fulfil the goal of Matthew 5:13-16 being:
a. Salt of the earth.
b. Light of the world
c. Glorify our Father
In the same manner with the help of the Holy Spirit, we are meant to live a life where we are seen as the Salt of the earth, light of the world and ultimately a life that brings glory to God. My prayer is that we all will let the Holy Spirit lead us into living a life of purpose in Jesus’s name Amen.
Wednesday, March 23 2022
Contributor: Dolapo Olaoye
The Bible tells us that God’s will is good, acceptable, and perfect in every way (Rom. 12:2) so of course there will be hindrances stopping us from this. Knowing what God wants us to do at each particular time can be difficult at times. However, God himself does want us to know His will and so once we learn to recognise His leading, it’s a lot easier than we think. I think sometimes God doesn’t answer our prayers right away perhaps because they do not align with His Will for us.
"Call to me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know." (Jer. 33:3)
Text: Mark 11: 24-26 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
1. SIN/The Devil
Sin is a blocker of communication with God (Ps 66:18). We have a very real enemy (The devil). He does not want God’s will for your life because the devil doesn’t like anything good/perfect. The devil wants to break up the church, break up your home, break up your business, and many more. God gave us the whole Armour of God to stand against the tricks of the devil. The devil cannot stop us from doing God’s will but he can hinder us to the point that we quit and don’t get God’s will done. We need to fight, if need be, like a good soldier, to accomplish God’s willing for your life. You cannot stop just because you have an enemy.
Our feelings sometimes can interfere with clear thinking – Do we really want to know God’s will, or are we just trying to get Him to approve ours? We are our own biggest obstacle; you cannot do your will and God’s will. To follow God’s plan, we need to surrender our rights to Him and embrace His ways. We must choose every day to let Him rule over our thought life, emotions, families, work, and decisions.
The feeling of fear is a normal part of being human. Choosing to dwell in fear, however, will always hold you back from knowing God’s Will. Sometimes we choose to live in fear because of terrible pain or rejection that has come into our lives. Fear can be our way of protecting ourselves against further pain. But it never works. It only serves to shield us from the love of the Father. Let go of all fears (fear of rejection, failure, the future, intimacy, authority etc. and allow God (love) in. 1 John 4:18 - There is no fear in love…
4. Not applying the Word of God
Disobedience – not acting on what God has shown us. Fear of the unknown when we want to know all the steps before we follow God’s step, but he isn’t obliged to show you all remember that – just the next step.
5. Expecting answers immediately
No one likes the waiting but sometimes we need to wait as God has his perfect time for everything and he will answer – What do you do in your “waiting period”. We can easily get in such a hurry that we forget that God’s plan. God is not only positioning us for a certain task or career but is actually helping us become the people He wants us to be in the meantime. The way of faith is often the way of patience as we trust that God will, in His time, not only reveal but also position us where He wants us to be.
WAYS OF OVERCOMING HINDRANCES
1. Confess your sins:
1 John 1:9. In other to be in right standing with our maker, there is a conscious need to renounce our sins, it helps remove whatever hindrance that prevents or withholds God’s will from manifesting in our lives.
God commands us to cultivate humility in all our endeavors, by humbling ourselves before God and accepting His word and providence without grumbling even if it sounds or looks foolish by human standards. Humility and the fear of God works alongside each. humility is attributed to the fear God and in turn knowing what His plan for our live is. The reward for humility and fear of God is “riches and honor’’ these are the things God promised Abraham, Solomon, and Jesus promised Peter.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 the bible encourages us to be thankful. Taking time to recognize what God has done and expressing our gratitude is important to developing our relationship with Him. In any situation we find ourselves, we need to be thankful. Gratitude makes us less self-centred. We stop focusing on ourselves so much. It takes us outside of ourselves and focuses our attention on God and draws us closer to Him. The expression of gratitude to God plays a key role in our relationship with Him. Gratitude is like a glue that binds us to God. Gratitude develops endurance and trust in God. We must look for God’s grace in all circumstances. This must become a constant habit.
Practicing patience, when God has you waiting because He is not a magician. Sometimes, it is very difficult to be patient. When we’re bringing our concerns to the Lord again and again, we grow tired of waiting. We can begin to feel like our prayers are falling on deaf ears. Often our desire is to take control and just “do the best we can’’ even though we know Galatians 5 lists patience as a fruit of the spirit. When this dawn on us, we might confess our desire to rule our own lives, inviting the Holy spirit to direct us and empower once again as we continue to wait on the Lord is important in knowing God’s will and plan for our lives.
One of the many ways in discovering God’s plan for us is through living in obedience to God in all things, Obedience, is a great way to show your love and respect for him. Obedience is also a suiting way to draw near to him and grow in your relationship with him. For many reasons, obedience is an important part of a Christian’s relationship with Christ. Thus, helps in revealing God’s ultimate plan for one’s life
Another way to know that you are in tune with God's plan for your life is by praying; Take time each day to devote yourself to the Lord and His will. If you are giving each area of your life to God, then He will bless it and be able to work through it abundantly.
If you want to accomplish God’s will then you cannot let sin, the devil, your own will, fear or eagerness hinder you to the point that God can’t get his will done in your life. If God has shown you an area in your life that is hindering your ability to do God’s will, then address that hindrance tonight, so that God can get his will done in your life.
Wednesday, March 16 2022
Contributor: Alex Kokobili
To seek His will is to know His purpose and surrender God to be involved in the affairs of their lives. This means our expectations must be harmonious with God’s will in our lives. Also, this is an attempt to uncover something that is not visible which could involve a process that results in finding a solution, knowledge, or an answer to a question, concerning our purpose in life
Text: Proverbs 3: 5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
TYPES OF WILL
1.God’s Absolute Will for Humanity. This is God’s supreme desire for us His esteemedcreation.
Ephesians 2: 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”
For instance, the salvation to all people (John 3: 16-17), Life of Holiness (Hebrews 12: 14, without Holiness, we cannot seek or see God), Life of Thanksgiving as God’s will for humanity (1 Thessalonians 5: 18), To prosper humanity (3 John 2), etc.
2.God’s Permissive Will Borne Out of Human Persuasion to Have Their Way
Psalm 81: 11-12, “But My people would not heed My voice, And Israel would have none of Me. 12 So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, to walk in their own counsels.
3.The Human Free Will (But God Expects Us to Synchronize our will to His Absolute Will to Guide Our Choices
Psalm37: 5 "Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass"
Deuteronomy 30: 15-16 says:
“See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;16 In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.”
Seeking God’s Will Does Not Mean You Are A Religious Fanatic As Many Assume!
A. God understands our needs, feelings, and humanity, so don’t live in delusion or fear about involving God in every area of your life.
Hebrews 4: 15
For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted [knowing exactly how it feels to be human] in every respect as we are, yet without [committing any] sin.
B. When we seek God’s will, it is a sign that we are not just earthly residents but also thirst and hunger for the kingdom.
Mathew 6: 33
Seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness and all other things shall be added unto you.
C. As long as your expectation is with God’s word, He will bring it to pass.
Proverbs 23: 18 For surely there is an end, and your hope will not be cut off.
Psalm 16: 3 Commit they work unto the Lord and He shall bring it to pass
D. Never be afraid to pray for God’s will to be done (Surrender to His will).
Mathew 6: 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven
Isaiah 55:8-9 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
How Do We Seek God’s Will In Pursuance Of Our Purpose In Life?
1. THE WORD OF GOD.
The Word of God is the revealer of all truths and mysteries of life. Don’t make vague decisions, but study to know the mind of God on all things.
Psalm 119: 105 “They word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path”
2 Tim 2: 15 ”Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Daniel 9: 1-3 “In the first year of Darius the son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom 2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.
Through the Word of God, you would find the need for wisdom, knowledge, and direction.
a. The Word of God gives us an understanding of life.
Ephesians 1:18 “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,”
b. The Word of God is wisdom
Proverbs 4:7 “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.”
c. The Word of God is knowledge.
Hosea 4: 6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.
2. FAITH IN GOD.
Once you study God’s word in relation to any area you need answers in your life, be ready to accept His will and believe (have faith) that he will never mislead you.
Hebrews 11: 1-3
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for.3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
3. FASTING, PRAYER, AND PERSONAL RETREAT
Acts 4:31 “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”
(i) Pray all manner of prayers
Ephesians 6: 18
And pray always with all manner prayer and supplication in the spirit: and watch thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all Saints.
1 Corinthians 14: 14-19
14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. 16Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say? 17 For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified.18 I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; 19 yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.”
(ii) Add fasting to the prayer from time to time
Mathew 17: 20-21
“Because of your little faith,” Jesus told them. “For if you had faith even as small as a tiny mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move!’ and it would go far away. Nothing would be impossible. 21 But this kind of demon won’t leave unless you have prayed and gone without food”
4. COMMUNAL FELLOWSHIP WITH OTHER BELIEVERS.
Don’t isolate yourself from a Bible-believing Church as the experiences of the believers have a way of pointing us towards God’s will. Unfortunately, lots of people don’t realize the harmony in fellowship as a church. We learn from ourselves, pray and study God’s word, provide counselling, etc.
“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! 2 It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe.3 It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.”
Hebrews 10: 25 “not forsaking our meeting together [as believers for worship and instruction], as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more [faithfully] as you see the day [of Christ’s return] approaching.”
5. SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY/ MENTORSHIP AND DISCIPLESHIP
It is dangerous to live yourself without the guidance of a shepherd. Even a true shepherd also looks up to another Shepherd. (Avoid being critical of your pastor or a spiritual shepherd who can guide you).
Hosea 3: 7 “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing unless He revealed His secret unto His servants the prophets.”
1 Corinthians 11: 1 “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ”
6. THROUGH THE MANIFESTATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
We have to be spiritually sensitive and deliberate because God can reveal His purpose to us through diverse manifestations
1 Corinthians 12:4-11 e.g., Word of Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, Healing, Miraculous happenings, Prophecies, Spiritual discernment, Praying in Tongues.
However, be careful not to be a prophecy seeker, but if you seek God in a genuine fellowship, he would send a word of hope, healing, power, assurance, etc., to you.
7. IN DREAMS AND VISIONS
Don’t be quick to trivialize certain dreams or visions because that might be God speaking about His purpose for your life.
Judges 7: 13-15
“When Gideon came, behold, a man was relating a dream to his friend. And he said, “Behold, I had a dream; a loaf of barley bread was tumbling into the camp of Midian, and it came to the tent and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down so that the tent lay flat.” His friend replied, “This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has given Midian and all the camp into his hand.” When Gideon heard the account of the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship. He returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for the Lord has given the camp of Midian into your hands.”
Daniel 2: 19
“Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.”
The bedrock of discovering God’s will starts from knowing Him and building a genuine relationship with Him. We will discover from the main text that it is easier to seek God’s will if we surrender to our will to Him. An example was David who inquired of the Lord after becoming King concerning the Philistines despite being skilful in the act of war.
2 Samuel 5: 17-19
Now when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. And David heard of it and went down to the stronghold. 18 The Philistines also went and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. 19 So David inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand? “And the LORD said to David, “Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand.”
We are advised to always seek God’s will regardless of our mood, or assurance of decisions, wealth, spiritual might, etc. because His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8), and He is not unfaithful to forsake those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11: 6).
Wednesday, March 09 2022
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
God has a plan and purpose for us; one we can find by following His plan for our lives. Learning how to follow this plan is the reason for these series of studies. In the second and third lessons we studied His Original Plan – to have dominion (Genesis 1:26), and what He expects of us, to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly (Micah 6:8)
And in the last four, we have looked at four vital plans He has for man. Abundant Life (John 10:10), Health & Wealth (3John2), Fellowship, to love Him and love people (Matthew 22:37-39) and finally, Eternity, to be with Him in heaven (John 14:3)
Why these topics are important as a foundation is that they keep us aligned and guided in His will. And it is true that by looking into what God’s original plan for mankind, and walking in it, many have found their purpose in life!
In today’s study we are taking a closer step to following His plan for our lives by looking at ways of identifying our purpose in life. There are several different examples in the Bible of the many ways people have found and fulfilled their purpose in life. One of them is by making use of the gifts and talents you have been blessed with and getting the Lord’s approval as we see in today’s text.
1. MAKE USE OF YOUR TALENTS/ABILITIES
“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. . .” Matt 25:21a
From this text we can also infer that this parable teaches that some of us are five-talent people, some are two-talent people and some are one-talent people. Matthew 25:15 says: “And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability”
And even more importantly, that a “no talent” category does not exist. So you and I have been blessed with at least one talent, or an ability.
In Genesis 1:28, when God blessed Adam and Eve saying “Be fruitful and multiply.”, He empowered them to prosper. God’s plan for us is to be productive! And in no small measure!
He did not make anyone "empty". He created and wired us to be fruitful and implanted the ability we need to multiply in us by pronouncing His blessing!
We can be fruitful in one or all of the following
• Our Mouths - The fruit of our mouth (Prov. 18:20)
"From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied." (E.g. Motivational speakers, and other orators)
• Our Lips - The fruit of our lips (Heb. 13:15)
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.” (E.g. worshippers and singers)
• Our Minds - The fruit of our thoughts (Jer. 6:19)
“Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it." (E.g. Inventors, designers, etc.)
• Our Hands - The fruit of our hands (Prov. 31:31)
“Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.” (E.g. Everyone who works!)
This list is not exhaustive. Can you mention any?
a) HOW CAN I IDENTIFY MY TALENTS/ABILITIES?
There are two types of talents: Inborn and Learned
Inborn: This comes naturally to people; like running, singing, drawing, painting, etc. Exodus 31:1-6, Bezalel and Oholiab gifted craftsmen, Daniel 1:17b “And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds”
Learned: Abilities acquired by learning; the ability to learn is also God given. Daniel 1:17a
“To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning.”
Some gifts that do not come naturally, can be learned; in that case, it becomes an ability.
Your talent represents your gifts, skills (inborn or acquired), time, energy, education, intellect, strength, influence and opportunities. So everyone definitely has something to offer to God.
There several ways to identify your talents; but for the purpose of today’s study we will consider just three.
• Identify Your Interests
• Identify What You Love to Do
• Identify What You Find Easy to Do (what feels like second nature)
2. DIFFERENT WAYS OF IDENTIFYING ONE’S LIFE’S PURPOSE
In our quest of identifying our purpose in life, history has proven time and time again that there is no one size fits all approach that is remotely applicable. So in this section, we will consider a few
a. By Prophecy
Some people may have theirs spelt out to them right from birth and they simply walk in it.
• Samson, in Judges 13:2-5 gives us this account
“2 A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was childless, unable to give birth. 3 The angel of the Lord appeared to her and said, “You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. 4 Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean. 5 You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”
• John the Baptist (Luke 1:5-25)
• Jesus (Luke 1:30-33)
b. By Divine Intervention
• Saul of Tarsus who was yanked from his self-appointed life purpose onto his God given purpose. Acts 9:1-6 gives this account
“Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” 5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” 6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
• Abraham was pulled away from his uneventful way of life in Genesis 12:1, 4
• Cyrus king of Persia in Ezra 1:1 was moved by God Himself to make a proclamation
In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing:
And then the Lord declared of him in Isaiah 44:28 & 45:1
“who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt,” and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid."’
“This is what the LORD says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut:”
c. By Following the Lord
There were others who found theirs by simply following Jesus. Peter and the other faithful disciples of Christ. Matthew 16:17-19
“17Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in heaven. 18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
d. By Serving the Lord
Others still by simply serving the Lord diligently.
• Joshua, Moses’ aide who served faithfully in Joshua 1:1-5
“After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
• Elisha who served the prophet Elijah in 2 Kings 2:9-10
“After they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken away from you?” “Please, let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied. 10“You have requested a difficult thing,” said Elijah. “Nevertheless, if you see me as I am taken from you, it will be yours. But if not, then it will not be so.”
e. By Revelation
God revealed His purpose for Joseph through his dreams. Genesis 37:6-7, 9
6 He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: 7 We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”
9 Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”
f. By Asking in Prayers
Saul of Tarsus, when he encountered Jesus on the way to Damascus asked in Acts 9:6a; And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?
And the response was in Acts 9:15
“But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel”
And confirmed in Rom. 1:1
“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God”
g. The Wild Card
If at this point there is still no clarity of your purpose in life, don’t despair! Just go ahead and continue to serve the Lord with sincerity of heart; not religiosity or show off but instead in uprightness and fairness (Amos 5:24). This is important because there are many that have walked in their life purposes without realizing it because they served the Lord with sincerity of their heart! The story unfolds of Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus in John 12:1-12 & Matthew 26:6–13
“6 While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, 7 a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. 8 When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. 9 “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” 10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
Finding one’s purpose is one of life’s greatest blessings. It helps a person live a guided, focused and purposeful life. But the quest for it should not be treated as a “ticking the box” exercise or completing a check list. Because it is not about knowing God’s plan and purpose alone, but walking in it, fulfilling it and finishing well!
The Bible gives us examples of those who knew their life’s purposes but didn’t finish well; Samson, King Saul, King Solomon, just to name a few.
There are many today that have also missed the mark because what they want is to be in the lights, they want the front row seats, to be applauded, to be seen, and to be known; but this pursuit of life’s purpose is not meant to be an exercise of being in the lights but being the light
Matthew 5:16 “. . . let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
So the light we shine is not for our glory but for His! You have been created for His Pleasure (Revelation 4:11). What greater way then is it to fulfil one’s purpose in life other than to give Him pleasure?