Can a Christian “Stumble” into Their Purpose?
Does a Christian Need to Develop a Mission or Purpose Statement or Just Trust God?
The Bible says God has individual purposes and plans for our lives. To live them, do we need a guiding mission statement or do we simply trust God to work out His plans in our lives?
God Promises to Finish What He Started in Our Lives
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
Isn’t that an incredible promise? God Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth has made a divine commitment to perfect the work He started in us. God cannot lie, so when He promises to do something we can rest in the assurance that it will happen.
In the Book of Romans Paul hammers this point home again when he writes, “For those whom He foreknew ; He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren, and those whom He predestined, He also called, and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.” Romans 8:29–30
Without getting into all the controversy concerning what predestined and foreknowledge references, for the focus of this article, please notice again that God has processes set in place to form us into the image of Jesus and to glorify us.
We can rest in this. We do not (and cannot) perfect ourselves. Hebrews 12:2 tells us that Jesus is both the author and the perfecter of our faith. Over and over again the Bible relieves us of the the exhausting, discouraging task of perfecting ourselves.
God is at work to form us into the image of His Son and He will not stop until that is accomplished.
In the same way, God has prepared good works for all of us to do. (Ephesians 2:10) We don’t have to come up with “our plan”, because God already has the best one in place.
So the question we need to ask ourselves is do we need some type of statement that guides us in our growth and work, since God has promised to complete it and guide us according to His will? Or can we simply trust Him and He will make sure we get there?
Can we just stumble into His purposes and plans without getting really clear on what He wants us to do?
The Bible Endorses The Right Kind of Effort and Hard Work
Paul also wrote in Philippians 2:12b-13 “work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”
Paul often wrote about laboring day and night both in prayer and in teaching, preaching, and training. He told Timothy to give Himself completely to his ministry and to work hard at developing his knowledge, character, and skills.
We all know that even though God has promised to finish what He started in us and the end result will amazingly be we’ll be formed into the image of Jesus; this does not happen with us sitting on the couch watching TV or playing video games all day. It sure doesn’t happen if we intentionally do not follow His words and instructions.
Even though God has promised to complete the good work He started in us, He does that good work as we cooperate with Him. None of us does this perfectly, but having a heart to do His will is necessary for God to move us forward.
The same is true with living the mission or the purpose God has planned for us.
Jesus and Paul Had Mission Statements
Both Jesus and Paul, and many others in the Bible and throughout history, had a clear sense of what God wanted them to do with their time on earth.
There are numerous passages in the Gospels where Jesus said things like, “I have come so that…” and “the Spirit of the Lord is on Me to…..” Before He went to the cross Jesus prayed to the Father, “I have glorified You on earth having accomplished the work you have given Me to do.” (John 17:4).
Jesus knew what the Father wanted Him to do and He did it.
Paul wrote numerous times that He came to proclaim the mysteries of God, the riches of Christ to the Gentiles. He knew what God had called him to do, he was very clear on it. He had a clear sense of divine mission and he wrote about it numerous times in numerous ways.
Even when well meaning believers tried to get him to take a path that involved much less suffering and pain; Paul stood firm and moved forward because he knew what God wanted him to do and he could clearly state it.
So is it possible to commit your way to God and then stumble your way into His purposes? Partially, but not completely. Yes, God sets up circumstances and He opens and closes doors that only He can open and close.
But Jesus also warned the people of Jerusalem that though He wanted to gather them to Himself, they would not have it (Matthew 23:37–39). God had good plans for them but they rejected those plans and experienced the consequences.
We Have Limited Time
At some point, either we will die or Jesus will return before we die. Either way, our time on planet earth in these bodies, in this age, is limited.
To make the most of the time we have it is worth it to go through the process of narrowing down what God wants you to do with your life. In other words to have some type of document with the main things written down you believe God wants you to focus on.
This type of document or page or statement doesn’t have to encompass your entire life. As a matter of fact, for the majority of us, the main focus of our lives will change.
God works in our lives and calls us to work in seasons, not “forevers.”
How to Clarify Your Purpose
I use 5 steps to help people get really clear on their purpose. Their purpose F.F.I.T.T.
What is your worldview? What is your understanding of how the world works?
What has God given you faith for at this time in your life?
What are the main areas of your life?
What does God want you to work on in each of those areas?
What types of things are you naturally drawn to? What would you do for God’s glory if money were no object?
What are you good at? What do people ask for your help in doing?
When you look at the world, what most consistently moves your heart? What needs to change?
Work through those 5 areas and put them on a page. You’ll have done more than 80% of the population in clarifying what God wants you to do with your life.
If you want more help in clarifying and then actually accomplishing your God-given purposes, then take a look at www.MarkFurlongCoaching.com