Even though God has a purpose for all of our lives, there are many people who wander throughout their entire life, not knowing their purpose. And I’m not just talking about young people, either. I know people at mid-life who don’t know why they’re here.
Yes, they’ve achieved a measure of success and experienced accomplishments – received an education, have a nice car, have a nice house, a good job. But they’re never truly confronted the question, “Have I done the thing that God created me to do?”
But whether they know it or not, God has a plan for their lives. And everything happens according to His sovereign plan. His plan was in place before the foundation of the world.
In life, many people aspire to things that aren’t in God’s plan. Often, they want to do something important because they think if they do something important, that will make them important, but you will never be truly satisfied with anything less than fulfilling God’s purpose for your life.
True purpose will make you leave a job that pays more and take a job that pays less. Purpose will make you pick up all you own and move to another city, state, or country, because it’s not about your earthly home, it’s all about your eternal home.
Let me caution you to understand that purpose, however, doesn’t start with fulfillment. Purpose begins with pain. Your purpose doesn’t start with money, nor with a job, nor with an awesome wife or a wonderful husband. Purpose begins with pain, because when you know your purpose, it will make you a target. That’s how it was for Jesus. So how could it be any less for us? In fulfilling God’s purpose for your life, step one is to take up your own cross and follow Jesus.
“And He said to them all, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it” Luke 9:23-24.
Your purpose in this life is to take up your cross daily and follow Jesus. That sounds painful, doesn’t it? Losing your life for Jesus’ sake? That sounds like it will hurt. But it’s the only way to save your life.
Knowing your purpose isn’t enough. What happens when you see others succeed at what you know God is calling you to do? Nothing gets on your nerves more than seeing somebody else do what you’ve always wanted to do. In fact, on social media, where everyone’s lives are on display, comparison can make you crazy.
You ache when you see other people stepping into what you were created to do, because you wonder, “What’s wrong with me?” It hurts when we see other people blessed and we’re not.
But I’ve learned that sometimes God blesses people around you to make you pray. God will bless people around you to make you fast. Sometimes God even allows people in your life to provoke you. Why? He’s trying to save you. He’s trying to get you to a place of total dependence upon Him, where your money can’t buy you out, your degree can’t think you out, your charisma can’t talk you out, and your family can’t bail you out. So then, when you do get out, you’ll know it wasn’t your family, it wasn’t your finances, it wasn’t your connections, it wasn’t your friends, but it was nobody but Jesus who brought you out!
Sometimes God will hold you back to shoot you forward, to propel you into your destiny. Picture a bow and arrow. The more you pull the bow back, the further the arrow will go.
It’s frustrating to lose a job or be passed over for a promotion. But sometimes our setbacks are just setups for comebacks.
God may make you wait 25 years, like He did Abraham for the fulfilling of the divine Covenant, so you will fully surrender to Him. Sometimes, God will make you work seven years, then another seven years like He did Jacob, so you will fully surrender to Him. Sometimes, God will leave you in the wilderness for 40 years, like He did the children of Israel, so you will learn how to depend on Him.
But like Jacob wrestling with the angel of the Lord, you must say, “I will not let go, except thou bless me.”
Know your purpose. Know who you are. And hold on, because our God, has something great in store for your life to fulfill the destiny He has for you! Jeremiah 29:11, NIV says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
CARLTON P. BYRD, D.MIN., is Senior Pastor of the Oakwood University Church in Huntsville, Alabama and the speaker and director for Breath of Life Television Ministries.
This article is part of our 2021 July / August Issue