Earlier this week I wrote about finding your source before you find your purpose. It’s a great a misstep to think that if we fill our lives with activities, objectives, and functions that eventually we’ll discover our purpose. Purpose must preceed the planning!
The key is in knowing God and allowing Him to determine and direct your life. It all starts with knowing Him. How can we find purpose without knowing God? You can’t. We need to concern ourselves with what God concerns himself with. Then, and only then, will God’s purpose for us be revealed.
Now that we’ve established this important principle, let’s look at the four different ways that we can begin to find purpose. I’m sure my readers are smart enough to figure it out, but three of them are wrong and only one is right:
1. Deduction -These are the people that live their entire lives without purpose or direction. They live with no thought to what they are doing or why. They have decided to live their lives until the end, and then “add up the score” at the end. Think of it as “postmortem purpose.”
When I was in college I volunteered at the local Hospice. Being a perfectly unqualified 19 year old, I then sat by the deathbeds of men and women and listened to them talk of their lives. I remember one lady in particular that was so upset because she couldn’t figure out what she wanted said at her funeral. She had never taken the time to find her purpose, and instead sat on her deathbed drying to deduce what it might have been. What a sad way to live.
2. Association -Purpose gained through various associations: family, neighborhood, friends, school, churches, etc… These are great purposes, that are worth supporting and furthering. But rather than develop personal purpose, these people simply comply with the corporate purpose. Think of it as “adopted purpose.”
3. Emulation -Looking to “heroic figures” or other individuals whom they seek to pattern their lives after. Easily seen in hair styles, fashion, language, etc… I see this in my kids, as they will mimic my tone of voice, hand motions, and act like they love the things I love. Until of course I eat some grilled asparagus, then they distance. Think of Emulation as “vicarious purpose.”
These three ways of finding purpose all have one things in common. They’re all EASY. None of them require great thought or ambition. If you live your life by deduction, association, or emulation; you will experience burnout and tend to blame others for your own failures and disappointments.
4. Personalization -Developing personal convictions. Correct purpose is not determined by technique, but by the source. When a statement of Godly purpose on a personal level is derived, fulfillment follows! Think of it as “individual purpose.” God has something that is unique to you as in individual. You’re different, and it’s time we look at our differences as our strength!
To establish Godly purpose depends upon knowing God intimately, and in order to know God one must apply the Scriptures.
John 14:21 “Those who know my commands and obey them are the ones who love me, and my Father will love those who love me. I will love them and will show myself to them.”
Are you actively seeking His will? Are you intimate with His Word? Have you asked for purpose?