12 Oct Why finding purpose will open doors to a much better you.
One of the things that still surprises me about life is how many people don’t do things because they think they’re not going to be good enough, or be accepted if they ask someone, or be successful if they take steps to act on their idea.
It surprises me and yet I do it myself!
Just writing these few notes is a great example. I wrote some thoughts down a week ago, fighting against my own insecurities, in an effort to help people re-engage with church life (you can read it here). So, it was a nice when someone came up to me and said, “thank you for writing that… it really helped”.
If I’d listened to my inner voice, I would never have done it. And I wouldn’t be writing this piece now.
The truth is we are all capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for. Especially, when that thing is attached to something we like to commonly refer to as ‘purpose’.
A great example is the way an introvert can be engaged in activities that most people would associate as extroverted. For example, preaching. And yes, I’m talking about myself again. The whole reason I can stand in front of people and preach, and then spend time walking and talking and making conversation in the foyer, is because I am being driven by a sense of purpose not by my natural inclination which is to be introverted.
If we are honest with ourselves, much of what we consider ‘our natural inclination’ can often keep us from doing things we might actually be good at.
We say our own no.
The introvert keeps themself from bringing their creative ideas to the board table, because they struggle being the centre of attention.
The shy person keeps themselves from revealing the deeply caring side of their personality, because they’re worried their help will be rejected.
The extrovert stays type-cast as the funny, shallow one because they find it easier to stay with what’s comfortable.
The creative type keeps themselves from leading because they say you can’t be both creative and administrative.
Now if this was just a self-help article, I would now try to help you see that you are much better than you think you are. But this is not a self-help article – instead this is a God-help article.
The reason why all this doesn’t have to be the case is because in Jesus we find a purpose that often takes us beyond our ‘natural inclinations’.
He takes us beyond the insecure person we see in the mirror and shows us the person He sees. More than that, the person He created us to be.
1 Corinthians 12 is a must read for every person who chooses to follow Jesus because it establishes two important truths.
Firstly, God is at work in our world and He has a part for every single one of us to play.
“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:27
The way the Bible describes this is that we are the ‘Body of Christ’. And as much as we are all different, we also have a place in His Body. In fact, we have been carefully arranged and placed in His Body for a purpose. Just as a hand has a different purpose to an eye, as to an ear. If we were all to do the same thing, we would be a very weird body.
Finding our purpose in life, is found by finding our own place in His Body.
The Bible also reveals the Church to be His Body, and so one of the best ways to discover your purpose in life is to stay connected to His Body, the Church. (It’s important here to define the Church as not a building or a programme… but as the community of faith that we can all be part of – wherever in the world you are).
Your true identity is found in Jesus and your true purpose is found in being part of His Body.
Secondly, He gives us His Spirit to equip us for whatever purpose He has for us.
1 CORINTHIANS 12:4-6 says:
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.”
It’s not about everyone doing the same thing. But we are all helped by the same Holy Spirit to achieve together whatever God is working out through us.
And so, the path to a better you is not about reading more self-help books, or working up the will-power to finally speak up at the board table, or whatever battle you are trying to win over your natural inclinations.
The path to a better you is about staying attached to the Body of Christ – His Church, and cultivating a relationship with the Holy Spirit.
As we do that – His purpose in us is revealed.
As we get to know the Holy Spirit, He makes known His gifts in us.
Who knows what God might do through you in the next 12 months if you do these two simple things?
Oh… actually, God knows!
Action Points: Where to start?
1) How well connected to the Church, the Body of Christ am I? If you’re feeling disconnected, check out some of the thoughts I shared here.
2) Do I know what the Holy Spirit is gifting me to do? If you don’t then begin to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal this to you. Maybe ask your group leader or a leader in the church to help you discover what your gifting is.
Sometimes the best way to discover purpose is just to get active.
1) Start praying for your office colleagues or your street and see if God begins to lay someone on your heart to reach out to and help further.
2) Start serving at church. We’re all called to build God’s house – so why not find a place you can serve and see how God begins to use you. You can get in touch with us here to inquire about serving in church.