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Four Things You Must Know About Purpose Before You Will Discover It
Before you can find your purpose in life and live it out, you must first understand the principles of purpose. Oxford Dictionary defines “purpose” as, “The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.” Purpose is the predetermined use for which something or someone was designed. It is the original intent for the creation of something or someone, the original reason for its existence, the cause for which something was created.
1) Everything in life has a purpose:
There is a cause for which everything was created; there’s a cause for which you were created. The Bible says, “All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him was not even one thing made that has come into being”. – John 1:3.
God didn’t make anything just for the fun of it. No, everything was created with and designed for a specific purpose. Every animal has a purpose. Every organ and cell in your body has a purpose. We don’t totally understand the way our body works, what exactly every part does, but as science goes along they are more and more amazed at the intricacy of design. This past week in the news it was announced that researchers had discovered a “new organ” in the digestive system. It is called the mesentery, which has the specific purpose of connecting the intestines to the abdominal wall.
God created the heavens, the stars, the moon, the planets, the trees, the numerous animal species, but He also created you. We look at creation and marvel at the pattern of design and the unique purpose for everything, yet we often fail to recognize God created us with a definite purpose. The only way you can truly know your purpose is to connect with the creator.
The Bible tells us that we all have an appointed course. We read in Hebrews 12:1: Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us.
You have an appointed course. Everybody on earth has an appointed course. God has an appointed course for you in 2017 and it is only when you run this course that you truly discover the “good life” or a fulfilled life.
The world tells us the good life is when we look good. There is a lot of money that goes into advertising, and we spend a lot to look and feel good. “If you look good you’ll feel fulfilled. If you get rid of a wrinkle, if you lose the weight, if you wear these clothes, if you do this or do that, then you will be fulfilled, because you’ll look good.” But looking good, feeling good, and having the goods will not fulfill you. You are fulfilled when you are in your purpose and doing the good that goes with your purpose, and that purpose is the appointed course that God has for you.
2) Purpose precedes creation:
You have heard the phrase “necessity is the mother of invention”, which means before something was designed or created the purpose of its use was first pondered.In the early 1950’s a Swiss mountaineer was out hiking with his dog and when they returned he began to ponder the way plant burrs stuck to his clothing and his dog’s fur. The light went on for him and he realized this could potentially solve the problem prevalent with fasteners. He began to work on a design that would duplicate the way the small hooks of the seed-bearing burr connect with the soft loops of fiber. From this came the invention of Velcro, a combination of the word velour (French for “velvet”) and crochet (French for “hook”). Today this invention is purposed in thousands of applications.
In Jeremiah 1:5 we read: I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations. You might not be appointed as a prophet to the nations. That was for Jeremiah, but for you, before you were in your mother’s womb, God said He knew you and appointed you. He set you apart! Wow! You are unique. There is not another one like you in the world. The best thing you can do is to be you. Don’t try to be somebody else. If you are trying to be somebody else, you are going to get frustrated. Discover, “This is who I am. This is what I’m created for,” and you will be the most fulfilled doing that.
3) Purpose cannot be fulfilled in isolation:
We are unable to fulfill our purpose alone. An example that helps us to understand this is the car battery. The purpose of the car battery is to store energy. At the right time, we put our key into the car, turn the ignition, and the energy goes from the battery to the starter. The starter turns the motor, the motor starts, wheels go into gear, and the car is moving. But if that battery was not in the car, if it was not part of the car, would the battery’s purpose be fulfilled? No, it must be part of the whole picture.
Likewise, your purpose is part of a bigger picture. Your purpose cannot be fulfilled in isolation. Your purpose will perish unless you are part of a bigger picture. God designed creation to function that way and the church is designed likewise.Everyone in the local church has a role to play in order for the church to move forward and have a powerful effect on the world. If someone says: “I don’t need to be plugged into a church, I can live my faith on my own”, that is like a car battery standing alone not wired to the rest of the car. It can never be fulfilled or feel significant unless it’s part of a bigger picture. Paul talks about this in 1 Corinthians 12:19-26, But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of. Your significance depends on you being a part of something bigger. Your purpose will be discovered and fulfilled in the context of life with others.
4) Purpose is permanent:
We read in Romans 11:29, For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable. [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.]
God’s purpose, or call for you, is irrevocable. You might change jobs, change careers, and have different relationships throughout life, but your purpose is irrevocable. It will never be changed. The manufacturer of a microphone doesn’t come along and say, “Oh, by the way owners, we have changed the purpose of the microphone. We suggest you now use it as a hammer.” As a matter of fact, manufacturers will go to great extent to make sure you use the product for what it was designed for. In doing so they are preventing abuse and ensuring the customer is satisfied. Likewise, you are satisfied when you do what you’re designed to do. If you start doing something you’re not designed for, then your life becomes unfulfilling or even abused.
Your past will not destroy your purpose. That’s good news, because some of us look at our past and think, “I don’t know if God is going to use me, I’ve really made some bad mistakes.” If you are in those shoes, you can take comfort in the story of the Apostle Paul. Known for his effectiveness in spreading the story of Jesus Christ amongst the Gentiles, Paul fulfilled a purpose that was preceded by years of persecuting the same people he would later ministered to. We know Paul as the preacher, writer, leader and as an amazing communicator. He was made with a purpose, but he was also made for a purpose.
Paul’s call, purpose or design, was to lead and communicate. God redeemed and sanctified this purpose. He didn’t discard it and say, “I can’t use you anymore.” It was irrevocable, and so God took that purpose and channelled it for the purpose that He had for it, for the appointed path. That’s why Paul would say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have remained faithful” (2 Tim 4:7). And look at the difference that Paul made. You too can make such a difference with your life. Just find your purpose and run with it. Don’t compare yourself to others. You be you! You were created and designed by God at this moment, at this time. The enemy would lie to you and say, “You don’t count. You don’t have a purpose. You’re not this. You’re not that.” That’s a lie.
The very fact that you’re reading this is proof that God knew at this time you needed to be here to make a difference. You were created for a purpose. As Miles Munroe said, “Your birth is evidence that your purpose is necessary.”