Finding your purpose as a Christian
There’s an upside down view we often take when we consider our purpose as a Christian. The day God reveals His unfathomable love for us, we start wondering, “What’s so special about me?”. I’m not sure if it is a cultural thing, but the revelation of God’s love towards us point our thoughts to us, immediately.
The theme that plays around in our heads: “Certainly, God cannot love me unless there is something special about me.”
What’s so special about us, anyway?
To find the answer, we consider our past in the hope of delving up why this perfectly good God would bestow his lavish love upon us. We might see a couple of highlights that could possibly be the reason for this action towards us, but those highlights only shine so bright because there’s a lot of shadowy bits in between. Besides, it wouldn’t have been grace if our past was the answer.
Then we consider our current state, our gifts, our talents and all the things that make us unique. But when we consider our natural state, someone who doesn’t get it quite right, 90% of the time, the answer can’t¸ absolutely can’t, be that.
Eventually, we contemplate our future. This amazing revelation of love brought us out of the darkness, and made an instant, life creating, difference in our lives. We can see how this revelation has freed us and made us more alive.
The natural assumption is that this spark will grow into a flame which will eventually develop into a planet shaking fire that can be placed under the banner of “our purpose”.
We conclude that it is our purpose that makes us special. It must be something spectacular that we will do for God, that is why He loves us. In our minds, our purpose is ultimately the reason why God loves you
The dangers of this kind of thinking
The problem with this assumption is that we secretly know that we’re muppets.
In our inner being we know we can’t be relied upon to execute this imagined, but fantastic plan, God has for us. Experience has shown us how often we’ve failed spectacularly and we know that the likeliest outcome of this “purpose” is that we’ll fail.
And when we fail, well then God will stop loving us. It’s a shaky foundation to build your life on. Everything you’ll do will flow from a state of fear that says, “If I don’t do X, I will miss my purpose in life, and God will abandon me (stop loving me).”
From this place, every action will, at best, burn you out and bring you to a place where you stop caring about God’s purposes for your life. At worst, you’ll spread an anti-gospel message that teaches other people about a god’s love that should be earned.
The right side up pursuit of purpose
The right side up of finding your purpose is understanding that God enables you to live out your purpose because He loves you.
This place says that God’s unshakable character will always show love towards you. It is the place where you will find the love that turns you away from the actions that leaves death in its wake and towards the life that overflows in life towards others.
As you live out this life, the life filled with His goodness, you’ll live out your life’s purpose without looking too hard for it.
Getting to that unshakeable faith in His love
There’s no shortcut for building this foundation. The daily Christian practice of reading your Bible, praying, fasting and worshipping (praise and worship) has been around for thousands of years for this very reason.
We can’t know that God loves us unless we read stories that highlight His character (Bible study). We can’t learn from our own stories that He is reliable unless we ask for kindness, forgiveness and mercy (praying and fasting). And we won’t remember that He has been good and unshakable unless we worship regularly amid the day-to-day grind.
These stories and practices teach us to trust in His love. They aren’t there for His benefit, they are there for ours.
God doesn’t love you because of your purpose, you fulfil your purpose because of His love for you. Learning that He is unshakable in His commitment (love) towards you is the only responsibility you have.
Finding your purpose as a human
If you feel like this post didn’t give you the type of guidance you were looking for, try reading Garden City by John-Mark Comer. I’ve written a summary of what you can expect in the book in this post.