By Pastor Chad Wiles
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Eph. 2:10
What was I made for? What is the purpose of my life? How do I know what God wants me to do next? What am I called to?
As a pastor, I often find myself in discussions with Christians who are struggling to know what God wants for their lives. I have been in that same place at times in my life when I have been unsure of what God has next for me. I remember when I was a brand-new believer in Christ as a junior in college. When I began to read God’s word and understand my new life as a Christian, I was flooded with a few different emotions. On one hand I was overwhelmed with the joy and peace that comes with knowing Christ! All I wanted to do was grow deeper in my understanding of God and share Jesus with my friends. On the other hand, I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with my life. Up to that point every decision I had made was to serve my own selfish desires. I went away to college to prove to myself and to my family that I was worth something and I could do it on my own. I chose to major in psychology because I had an interest in helping people and I was always curious about what made people tick. However, my desire to help people was still ultimately selfish because I wanted to feel like I mattered.
After placing my faith in Christ everything began to change. I now had a desire to serve God and serve other people. I still had plenty of selfish desires but now they were up against the surpassing worth of Jesus! I didn’t know what I was supposed to do, so I did what I think a lot of people find themselves doing—looking for the purpose that God created me for. I was looking for that “audible voice” from God that would tell me about my special purpose. Over time I have come to understand that I was asking the wrong question, and I was still looking to find my worth in what I was doing. The only difference was that now I wanted God’s special stamp of approval.
I know my story is not unique; many of you reading this are looking to find your worth in what God is calling you to do rather than in the person of Jesus Christ. My hope is that I can help you to see that worth is not something to be found but something to be accepted in Christ Jesus. So how do we answer the question, “What was I created for?”
1. We have to remember that Christ is the gain and God’s glory is the goal.
“He predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” Eph. 1:5-6
The greatest gift in salvation is not heaven or the freedom from an eternity in hell. The greatest gift in salvation is God Himself. God makes us His children through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. There is no greater identity for us to embrace than that of a son or daughter of the creator God. God lavishly gifts us with adoption to the praise of His glorious grace! We were made to reflect God’s glory to the world around us. When we humbly embrace God as our father and Lord then He gets all glory from our lives. Paul says it this way:
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
1 Cor. 10:31
2. Be obedient to the general call of the believer.
As I continued to grow deeper in my understanding of the scriptures I realized that I had been searching for a special calling because I wanted to be special. Now I know—I do not need to look outside of my identity as a son or daughter of God (a Christian) to find a greater worth or purpose. As a Christian, I can know that I have been given a general calling, along with all believers to make disciples as an ambassador of Christ Jesus (Matthew 28:16-20, 2 Corinthians 5:16-21).
The call to be ambassadors of Christ–to make disciples–is a privilege and an invitation into the great redemptive story of God! Whatever profession or “calling” we may have, it’s always for the purpose of accomplishing the mission of making disciples of Jesus. Whether it’s in parking cars or preaching sermons, my mission and your mission is to make disciples through sharing the good news (gospel) of Jesus Christ with the people around us. So, my question for you is: are you being obedient to the general call of the believer in Christ? If not, don’t expect God to call you somewhere or to some position just to continue in disobedience.
3. God directs the steps of those who are faithfully obedient.
We have many examples of how God directed the steps of those who loved Him and trusted Him. It’s because of their faith that God used them to do remarkable and special things for His Kingdom. Hebrews 11 lists men and women who could be considered heroes of the faith. I love what Hebrews 11:23-28 says about Moses:
“By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them. By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned.” Heb. 11:23-29
If we are honest, we want the Red Sea moment! We want God to use us for some mighty work that will go down in the history books. We want fame and recognition more than we want Christ at times. We don’t want to forsake the comforts of this world. If we are honest, we don’t believe that Christ is a greater treasure. We have to begin truly believing Christ is the greatest treasure and everything else pales in comparison. That’s how we are able to be satisfied and faithful in the here and now. And that’s how we will give glory to God whether or not he chooses to use us for a purpose that is recognizable by the world.
Is Christ your end goal? Is knowing, loving, and worshiping God, for His glory, your greatest joy? Do you desire to share Jesus with others?
If you answer, “yes,” then I urge you to continue seeking to be satisfied in God and trusting Him to direct your steps. God will make it clear when it is time to move. God will place a burden, a conviction, or a drive to intentionally invest your life in some specific way, or several ways, throughout your life. It may look like moving overseas to start a church or it may look like serving in the children’s ministry at your local church. Whatever it may be, let us remember the words of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ:
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matt. 6:33