The Purpose Driven Life
THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE
WE BRING GOD GLORY BY SERVING OTHERS
All Christians have an assignment in this life. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” You weren’t created just to consume resources. God wants you to add to life on earth, to give something back. This is God’s fourth purpose for your life, and it is called your ministry or your service.
You were created to serve God. Colossians 3:23-24 says, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Whenever you serve others in any way, you are actually serving God. God has carefully shaped you for this purpose. You were placed on this earth for a special assignment.
Jeremiah 1:5 says, “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 are saved for service. 2 Timothy 1:9 says, “For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was His plan from before time began—to show us His grace through Christ Jesus.”
This gives your life great significance and value. When people hear ministry they think about pastors and professional clergy, but God says that every member of His family is a minister. The words servant and minister are synonyms. If you are a Christian, you are a minister and when you are serving, you are ministering. The apostle John taught that our loving service to others shows that we are saved.
Regardless of your job or career, you are called to full-time Christian service. 1 Peter 2:9 says, “You are royal priests, a holy nation, and God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God.” Romans 7:4 says, “And now you are united with the One who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God.” Anytime you use your abilities to help others, you serve.
All ministries are significant in the church. Some are visible and some are behind the scenes, but all are valuable. Small or hidden ministries often contribute the most. Thousands of local churches are dying because the Christians in their congregations are unwilling to serve. In Matthew 20:28 Jesus says, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.” Service is not optional, it is the heart of Christian life.
Spiritual maturity is never an end in itself. Maturity is for ministry. We grow in order to give of ourselves. We must act on what we know and practice what we claim to believe. Study without service leads to spiritual stagnation. What Christians need are serving experiences in which they can exercise their spiritual muscles. We expect others to serve us, but as we mature, the focus should shift to a life of service.
Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” God deliberately shaped and formed you to serve Him in a way that makes your ministry unique. Psalm 139:13-14 says, “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Your works.”
Not only did God shape you before your birth, He planned every day of your life to support His process. Psalm 139:16 says, “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” This means that nothing that happens in your life is insignificant. God uses all of it to shape you for service.
The Bible says you are wonderfully complex. And God gives every believer spiritual gifts to be used in ministry. 1 Corinthians 2:14 says, “But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.” They are an expression of God’s grace to you.
Ephesians 4:7 says, “However, He has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ.” You do not get to choose which gifts you would like to have, God determines that. Paul explained in 1 Corinthians 12:11, “It is the one and only Holy Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.” God wants us to be special so no single gift is given to everyone.
God also wants us to depend on one another and to teach us to love. 1 Corinthians 12:7 says, “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.” When we use our gifts together, we all benefit. Do you know your spiritual gifts? An unopened gift is worthless. Do not be envious when you compare it to the gift that God gave others. 1 Corinthians 12:5, “There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord.”
God has given us also a passion for specific things. We instinctively care about some things and not about others. These are clues from God as to where you should serve. Some experiences turn you on and capture your attention while others turn you off. These reveal the nature of your heart. Where did those interests come from? They came from God who had a purpose in giving you these inborn interests.
All of our abilities come from God. And since your natural abilities are from God they are also important besides your spiritual gifts. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 12:6 says, “God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.” The abilities that you do have are clues to knowing the Lord’s will.
There is no right or wrong temperament for ministry. Your personality will affect how and where you use your spiritual gifts and abilities. You can learn from the example of others, but you must filter what you learn through your own personality. When you minister in a manner consistent with the personality God gave you, you will experience fulfillment, satisfaction and fruitfulness.
You have been shaped by your experiences in life. God allowed them for His purpose in molding you. There are painful experiences that God used to prepare you. 2 Corinthians 1:4 says, “God comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” Experience is not what happens to you, it is what you do with what happens.
Ephesians 6:6 says, “Do the will of God with all your heart.” God wants you to serve Him passionately, not dutifully. Listen to your inner promptings which can point you to the ministry God intends you to have. And whenever you do what God created you to do, you get good at that. Passion drives you to perfection. Figure out what you love to do and then do it to give God the glory.
1 Peter 4:10 says, “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” I hope that you have a deeper appreciation for God’s sovereignty and a clearer idea of how He has prepared you for the purpose of serving Him. You will be most effective when you use your spiritual gifts and abilities in the area of your heart’s desire which best show your personality.