On the heels of the great existential question “who am I” comes “what am I here for?” Grasping our identity leads naturally to the quest for purpose. While identity informs our present decisions, purpose fuels our future destiny. It’s the compass that sets our path.
While we spend much of our lives toiling over this question of what we are here for, the good news is that it has already been answered. The challenge lies in the pursuit of that already-out-there answer.
The Greatest Pursuit
Now, the first pursuit. The God of creation embarked on the greatest pursuit of all time, the pursuit of your heart, when He humbled Himself to become a baby, to grow in the likeness of men, and to be led like a lamb to the slaughter, dying a brutal death on a cross so that you could be reconciled to the Father, so that you could have peace, and life, and joy.
And then, after Jesus ascended into heaven in resurrected victory, the Father poured out the Holy Spirit on the earth so that you could have the power to live through the tragedy of your sin and subsequently give that same life He gave you to someone else.
So at a basic, but still life-defining level, we know that we have a specific purpose because God has made as much clear in scripture.
It is imperative then, that you pursue your purpose because it really is His purpose. He put it in you. He decided it for you. It’s His work.
He has called you to this work and placed you in time and space and for a season to do His will for His glory. Maybe that sounds churchy, but do you realize the great privilege that you’ve been given? To be a carrier of the very Spirit of God?
You have a divine purpose because the Divine bought you with a price, His shed blood, and then gave you His Spirit so that you could have the power to live out your life for Him in return.
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV
In the midst of deep grief and depression after losing my father, I sought the Lord for some speck of light, some sliver of hope for how I was supposed to move forward and not simply crumble under the heavy, dark, hopeless weight, in the deep, fearful void of questions that didn’t have answers.
I didn’t know how I would survive one of the darkest hours of my life, and I don’t know that I weathered that dark moment well, but from the deep mercy of the Lord, he spoke.
The Lord answered gently and reminded me of Matthew 7:24-25:
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
Matthew 7:24-27 ESV
To some extent, my life to that point had been built on sand and tragedy shook my foundation. I had to reevaluate everything I thought, why I believed, why I lived, and why I pursued what I was pursuing. It became evident that I was not building my house on the rock. I had to make some changes if I was going to survive.
The Spirit also brought my attention to Ephesians 2:10.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Ephesians 2:10 ESV
The Lord was showing me that I first had to reestablish myself, center myself on Christ, the Rock, and then pursue the purpose for which I was created.
I saw an answer to those two most vital questions of identity and purpose, who I was and why I was here. I belonged to God, but in that belonging was something for me to do.
What Exactly Am I Supposed To Do?
Now discovering the will of God for your life is a lifelong journey really. But I also believe it is incredibly specific and relational. Much of what I am now doing are things that God gave me a desire and a vision for from the beginning of my walk with him and likely even before that.
Purpose is as specific as identity. Consider Paul’s discussion of the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12. Each of us has a purpose and is uniquely equipped for that work. Consider Jeremiah, Moses, Paul, and even Jesus. So many biblical examples of God calling these men for very specific tasks from a very early time, even before birth!
Jeremiah was chosen as a prophet from his mother’s womb.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Jeremiah 1:5 ESV
Provision was made for Moses’ life when he was just a newborn.
“The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months.”
Exodus 2:2 ESV
Saul was called by God and became Paul, writing much of the New Testament.
“But the Lord said to him [Ananias], “Go, for he [Saul] is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.”
Acts 9:15 ESV
Jesus’ life and ministry was prophecied in great detail hundreds of years before he came.
There is a deeply personal and specific purpose for which God has placed you here.
As we pursue our identity in Christ, this should naturally flow into a passionate pursuit of our purpose in Christ. Seeking and walking in God‘s purpose for my life has been a great source of healing through grief and loss. If you are going to find ultimate fulfillment in life, it will be walking in the purpose for which God put you here.
There is much to do. Thankfully, God has created us, called us, gifted us, and prepared us for this work.
Join the conversation (or start one!) by leaving a comment below.