God’s Power is Purpose-driven #2: The Individual – Unique Purpose

Last time, we saw the need of the three prerequisites for finding God's purpose. In order, they are Salvation, Baptism, and Membership within a local New Testament church.

Next we will consider the uniqueness of the purpose of an individual. Just as no two people are the same, God's purpose for every single person is different. This is a precious truth because no matter who we are, or what we’re able to accomplish, all of us have the capacity to be extremely useful to God. We just have to want to be.
Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? - Romans 9:20 (KJV)

Most people reading this believe that God created man, so I'm not going to defend Creationism here. God created every one of us, and he created every one of us with certain abilities for accomplishing the purpose he has for us.

Why did God create Adam? The main reason is fellowship. The Bible tells us that God put Adam in the garden to “dress it and keep” it. We also find that Adam named the animals. God created Adam because he wanted someone to fellowship with and had work for Adam to do. He created you and me because he wants us to have a relationship with him and he's got work for us to do.
But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. – 1 Corinthians 12:18

This brings us to the issue of the different needs within the New Testament church, the entity through which God sends his power. It was really hard knowing what verse to use here because the entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 12 is loaded with verses on this.

What we find is that different people are good at different things. For example, you don’t want me to do the cooking for special events at our church. But let my wife in the kitchen at church, and you’ll get some of the best cooking there is. We have a few men in church who have the very necessary persnickety-ness to account for every penny. If we didn't have them, we’d be in a lot of trouble.

Not everybody in a church is a cook, usher, treasurer, can preach, teach, interpret foreign language, perform maintenance work, etc. God splits those roles up amongst all of us, and it's our job to figure out where we fit into the body, which is the New Testament church. It is very important to understand that.

How do I find God's purpose for me as an individual? Assuming we meet the prerequisites, let's consider:

  • Visible purposes

  • Invisible purposes

  • Our ultimate purpose

  • How do I find God's purpose for my life?

1. Visible purposes

And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? - Acts 2:12 (KJV)

This portion comes to us from Acts chapter 2, when visitors to Jerusalem were amazed by God's power. Here, God's power was manifest in the form of every man understanding the preaching in his own language. When they perceived, or saw what was happening, it was obvious that God visibly sent his power to accomplish a purpose, the salvation of souls. God's power is available for visible purposes, as seen at Pentecost.

So what are some visible purposes that God may have for your life? You may be one that God has called to preach. Maybe you have some musical ability - God might have you sing or play an instrument within the church. If you have the ability to teach people, perhaps you're to be a teacher within the church. These are just a few examples of visible purposes.
11And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: - Ephesians 4:11,12 (KJV)

Those who have visible purposes must never forget one thing: preaching, teaching, or singing for self-glorification doesn't edify anybody. In other words, if your visible service doesn't edify (build up, help, encourage, strengthen others), it's a waste of everybody's time. God’s power is available to help you accomplish more than who you are, but not if your motives are for everyone to notice you.

Those with visible purposes are extra prone to envy/jealousy because every person alive naturally craves attention. If someone else can sing, and they are used instead of you, rather than hope they fall flat on their face, pray that God help them do a good job.

Old preachers knew this well: they didn't care who was doing the preaching; if a mighty demonstration of God's power happened, they were thankful for God's presence, regardless of who had the floor when God's power showed up.

2. Invisible Purposes

“…and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.” – Matthew 5:4,6,18

Jesus instructs that the acts of giving, praying, and fasting are not to be done to get man's attention. Rather, these invisible forms of service/purposes are to be done secretly, where only God is privy to the details.

Christ also never uses the word “if” when speaking on these three invisible purposes. Put another way, he's declaring that these are mandatory. God expects these things from us, and he expects them to be done this way.

Like it or not, there are three invisible purposes that Jesus expects from all of us: giving, praying, and fasting. Keep in mind that God is a gracious god. Some of God's people are physically incapable of fasting. They have medical conditions that require them to eat or take medicine at regular intervals. Failure to eat would seriously endanger thier health, and God would never expect anyone to jeopardize thier life by refusing to eat. Refusing to eat isn't the only way to fast, so study it out.

Additionally, on a practical level, there are some jobs within the church that one way or another, somebody has to do. The only time anybody notices if some of these jobs are getting done is when they're not done. A few examples are cleaning, cooking/serving food, nursery work, ushering, cutting the grass, shoveling snow, hanging drywall, maintenance work, and the list can go on forever.
But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first. - Matthew 19:30 (KJV)

Some of the most faithful people in a church do the least noticeable jobs. When we get to heaven, we're going to find out that there are some people that we didn't pay much attention to, but God will move to the front of the line, because of their dedication to an invisible purpose. Are you one of them?

God is not interested in how noticeable our work was by men; the only thing that matters is if we did it right with the right heart and were faithful. To be at the front of the line in heaven, we need to move ourselves to the back line here on earth.
And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. – 1 Corinthians 12:23 (KJV)

3. The Ultimate Purpose

If you're saved and you know it, praise the Lord. Thank God for someone who overcame their fear and witnessed to you. Do you remember that soul winner that won you to Christ?

Here's what God expects from you now: do just like they did, so that more people get saved. The ultimate purpose that God has for your life is for you to witness to others. His work doesn't end with you - he wants everybody to be saved, and as much as we can, we should do all we can to witness to everybody we can.

This is accomplished by living like a Christian, and acting like one when you really don't feel like it.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. - Matthew 5:16 (KJV)

Matthew chapter 5 is chock-full of counter-intuitive reactions that Christ wants to see in us. When you hear about somebody at work backstabbing you, how do you act? Do you go over and bite their head off, or do you pray for that person to get saved, and treat them with kindness?

When somebody who has been nasty to you needs your help, do you refuse to lift a finger to help them, or do you go above and beyond to help them? What would Jesus do?

When word gets around that you've been telling people that they need Jesus, you get the stigma of being a Bible-banging prude. But when the lost world sees your life reflecting biblical principles, and that your reactions are laced with grace in the face of them being their inconsiderate selves, it becomes extremely obvious to them that you have something that they don't. They see that there's something real to what you have.

When things go wrong, they'll remember you. The guy who made fun of you today might find you on lunch break tomorrow and ask you to pray for him because his wife left him for another man. How will you act? Would anyone you work with think to ask you to pray for them? If not, why not?
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. - 1 John 4:18 (KJV)

Have you ever been stirred to witness someone, and just kept walking because of fear of what they'll think of you? I have. But the Bible teaches us that if we learn to love those people like Jesus does, we can put fear of witnessing out of us that quickly.

Recall that in Matthew chapter 28, the first duty that Christ charged his church with was to “teach all nations”, or evangelize the world. We need to do this both corporately and individually, because God is still in the soul-saving business. The only way he's able to reach the lost is through you and me, so let's get a hold of his ultimate purpose for our lives, and be better witnesses for him.

How do I find God's purpose for my life?

If you want to see God's power, you want to find his purpose for your life. Again, he decides that - you don't.

We have spoken of four expectations for us as Christians that are automatically a part of our purpose:

  1. Giving

  2. Praying

  3. Fasting

  4. Witnessing

The best way to find God's specific purpose for your life requires you to do two things:

  1. Pray for God to show to you

  2. Seek counsel from your pastor

Pray for God to show you. As a Baptist, I believe in the Priesthood of the believer. In other words, I have direct access to God the Father through Jesus. This means I have a direct relationship with God, no middleman is necessary.

As such, I can voice my concerns directly to God himself.
If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. - John 14:14 (KJV)

So when I ask God to show me his purpose for me, I can be 100% sure of two things. I can be sure that he heard my request, and I can be sure that he fully intends to make it obvious to me. I probably won't know the very next day, but in God's time, God will make it clear to me.

Seek counsel from your pastor. Pastors are shepherds. Shepherds know their sheep, love their sheep, and should do everything they can to help their sheep. Your pastor is somebody you should be able to trust with very private details of your life. If this cannot be said of your pastor, Scripture has a different word for him, and you need a different one.

For now, let's assume you have a good pastor. The pastor should know the needs of the church better than any of its members. He is God's man, ultimately accountable for God's work within God's church.

As such, he has a pretty good idea of who is doing what. When you speak with your pastor, ask him what you can be doing now to help in the church, and be prepared to do what he says. Ask him to pray that God would show you what purpose He would have for your life, and at the end of the meeting, pray right there with your pastor.

Here's what this accomplishes: while a pastor does not decide God's will for your life, he will be actively aware of your need. You have triggered his awareness. A pastor realizes that a church member who seeks God's purpose for his life is one who can be very useful, making his job as pastor easier.

By telling your pastor that you are actively seeking God's purpose, your pastor can have a very accurate picture of your spiritual growth. It's his job to know your spiritual health, and by making it easy for him, you're actually doing yourself an enormous favor. Be open and honest and he'll give you the best advice you'll find anywhere.
He that wasteth his father, and chaseth away his mother, is a son that causeth shame, and bringeth reproach. - Proverbs 19:26 (KJV)

This same principle applies to your relationship with your pastor. If Timothy had no interest in being mentored by Paul, he would have squandered the vast wealth of knowledge and experience that Paul had, and been useless to God. A lot of young preachers today are useless because they don't think they need what the old preachers have to offer: experience-based advice.

One of the biggest failures of Baptist church members, particularly with today's young people is this: failure to seek advice from the pastor. This is right up at the top of the Stupid Scale with wholeheartedly ignoring a pastor's advice when he does give it. It would be a huge waste to not involve your pastor in seeking God's purpose for your life.

Hey Dad and Mom: teach your kids Bro. Pastor knows what he's talking about, and they need to listen to him like they listen to you. If you undercut Bro. Pastor in your home, kiss any chance of your kids living for God goodbye. Thanks to you, it just became very unlikely. But teach them to honor the man of God, and you'll have the best ally in raising your kids there is - God himself.

The best way to find God's purpose for your life is twofold: pray for God to show you, and seek the counsel of your pastor. I guarantee that if you sincerely do both of these things, God will be very pleased and deliberately make his purpose for your life as obvious as can be.


God's power in our lives is driven by what he intends to accomplish with our lives. To see God's power, we need to be very clear on his purpose for our lives, or specifically what it is he wants to accomplish with us as individuals.

Those purposes may be plainly visible. If God's purpose for you involves service that is visible, be extra on guard against your own pride. God's power is available for visible purposes, but it will only come when your heart is to glorify God, not yourself.

There are three invisible purposes that God has for each of us Christians: giving, praying, and fasting. Additionally, there are those jobs within a church that don't get man's attention, but mean the world to God himself. These people are just as necessary and at times more necessary than those with visible purposes.

The ultimate purpose for our lives is to witness and win souls to Christ. God expects you to tell your coworkers, neighbors, and family members how God saved you because he wants to save them too. Witnessing is your job; working conviction in their hearts to be saved is God's job. God wants as many people as possible to be saved, and the only way he can reach them is through you and me.

Finding God's purpose for your life is accomplished by praying for God to show you, and consulting your pastor. God is obligated to answer your prayers, and your pastor exists to help you, and provide you with spiritual direction. Take advantage of a prayer-answering God and the expert advice of your pastor.

No two people are built the same. God wired us up differently for a reason, and that reason is always tied to the visible, invisible, and ultimate purpose(s) he has for our lives. If you want your life to matter for God, then you'll find his purpose. If you are aligned to the purpose God has for you, it won't be long before God begins to dump his power all over you.

What does God want you to do? His purpose for your life can and should be known, it is up to you to find out. Just remember this: God WANTS you to know his purpose for your life. Next time we will talk about the different ways God's power helps us accomplish his purpose in our lives.

Come visit me at The Servant's Journal to learn more about the power of God.

No comments: