Why Your Spiritual Gifts are Critical to a Life of Purpose

Many people believe the question for their "purpose" is an "internal" exploration.

They look within themselves, trying to understand what they like to do, what their passions are.

They try to understand how they were designed to somehow discover why they were put here on Earth.

They explore their job, their vocations, and their hobbies to find hints.

The issue isn't that they are trying to find God's fingerprints in their actions.

The issue is that they are asking the wrong questions and looking for the wrong "signals."  In fact, most people struggle with what, exactly, they are trying to look for.

This line of inquiry, on the one hand, does elevate our appreciation that we have been created for a purpose.  However, if our search is confusing, as it is for so many people despite their good intentions, can leave one wondering, "What is God's plan?  Why did he make me the way he did?"

I believe that's why a completely open-ended question, "What is my purpose?" can often be misleading and unproductive.

Paul, in Romans, wrote the following:

But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to Him who formed it, "Why have you made me like this?"

Most people would not regard their search for their own purpose as a "talking back" to God?  But when the search for purpose is misguided and frustrating, it can lead to the "clay" looking up puzzled at the "potter."

A different way is to look at one's spiritual gifts.

Because those gifts have both definitions and models in Scripture, the "quest" to find a match is less open ended.

And unlike the search for one's purpose, the exploration, discovery, and activation of one's spiritual gifts provides not only clarity in Purpose, but can provide essential fuel to actually live out the purpose: Power and Presence.

I believe God has already provide clear guidance on what our Purpose is: to point others to Christ's saving Good News and, in doing so, glorify God and his victory over death and sin.

If your question shifts from one of "what is my purpose" to "how do I fulfill that common purpose", it becomes less open ended.  Especially since the "how" can be answered by your spiritual gifts.

And once you have that "purpose statement" based on your gifts, you also have the Power -- meaning the extra energy and joy that comes from working through just how you have been designed.

You'll also grow in God's Presence by focusing on your spiritual gifts because Christ is the perfect model of each of the five gifts of Ephesians.  To know those gifts in yourself and in others focuses you back on the attributes he displays so clearly and beautifully.

This is a very different approach to finding your purpose.  

A life with purpose brings so much to a life without.  Having the clarity to make decisions, to cut off the noise, to experience a special joy in doing what you were designed for -- all of those things can add more to your daily life.  

In fact, your purpose can be so powerful that, without changing any visible circumstances of your life, you may experience great change: more contentment, less procrastination, more peace.

But the typical search of checking with how we "feel" as we explore different activities is misguided.

We should start with the Biblical definitions of how we have been designed, and apply those to the question of How we are to live a purpose already stated clearly in Scripture.

Want a "summary" of what the five spiritual gifts of Ephesians are so you can get started?

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