Before the search for our specific purpose begins we must understand what God's objectives for our lives are. These are twofold: 1) The Great Commandment, and 2) The Great Commission.
1) The Great Commandment:
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
New International Version (NIV)
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
2) The Great Commission:
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
New International Version (NIV)
When we look at these two very powerful pieces of scripture we must realize a couple of things. 1) The Commandment happened before the Commission. Sure, we don't have to follow the whole Bible chronologically but these passages happen in the same book of the bible and are chronological in the way Jesus instructed the disciples. 2) The commandment is very much that...a command! We aren't commanded to do the commission but we are commanded to love.
God seems to be telling us that before you can speak into the masses you must get love down pat. does this mean we won't be affective when trying to be open to let God work through us, of course not...besides, it is God who is working through us, not us on our own. God can do many things through us, whether we are equipped or not, if we just simply let him. One of the best ways to let him work is to get the love thing down down pat.
Once we have love, an honest love for Jesus, ourselves and our neighbor, we must go and make disciples...he commissions us to do just that.
Now what does this have to do with our purpose? We have to realize that everything God calls us to do in life is measured against these two verses. If we feel called to something and it lacks either a sense of love or a sense of connecting with people...it might not be his highest call for our lives. Look at this, when we do measure our actions and our call against the great commandment and great commission, we will find that we are empowered for this call. When our purposes, desires, and wants are aligned with His purposes, desires and wants for our lives, we will not only succeed, but we will also be fulfilled!
How exciting to think that our purpose is going to be fulfilling, exciting and replenishing to our soul. and spirit.
Let me give you an example from my own life. God gave me a vision about 5 years ago that he is revealing and defining little by little and piece by piece. He said to me, "I want you to do two things, Derek, my loving, emotional, occasionally disobedient but passionate son!" "One, I want you to educate Christians on the possibilities of art...I want you to tell them about the nature and purpose of the arts and how I want the church to reclaim them in my name!" "Two, I want you to then show them what this art, MY art, really looks like. Show them by example!!! Create the best art there is using all that I have given and taught you." God wants me to be influential on having the church be the major cultural force in the world once again and he wants me to do this through arts education and production. This purpose...directly aligned with the Great Commandment and Great Commission nearly knocked me to the floor. "How am I going to do this, God? It's so...big." I asked. He said, "I will tell you...but not all at once...I need to work some junk out of your life before you are ready to hear the full vision. I need to get rid of pride and self-sufficiency and you need to work on love...not just loving others, but accepting me as a loving God who you can trust."
This was my and is my vision and ongoing conversation involving my distinct purpose. I wish I could tell you the "how," but I'm not sure what it is yet...I believe the best is yet to come.
This is an example of the large plans God has for you if you let him. Get connected to His purposes for your life first, He will then reveal the rest. It will be bigger than you can possibly imagine and too big for you to do by yourself but remember Philippians 4:13, "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."
Embrace the fullness of your twofold purposes!