I have had the privilege of leading different small groups at my church over the last few years. One of the things I always enjoyed asking people is what their calling is in life. Some would have a really clear conviction about what God has called them to, while others have never really thought about it before.
If I were to ask you, where would you fall? Do you know what God has called you to do with your life? What greater purpose has he charged you with to build up the kingdom?
God’s calling on your life is not a secret — he wants you to know it. There are several things we are all called to that are found in His word. Some examples are: called to love God (Matthew 22:37), called to give him glory in everything we do (1 Corinthians 10:31), called to preach the good news (Mark 16:15), called to make disciples (Matthew 28:19), and called to love one another (Mark 12:31). As I reflected on how God developed his calling in my life, I realized those verses were just the beginning. There is a specific purpose each of us have been called to and it is found right in the middle of where your unique God-given passions, spirituals gifts, and opportunities all intersect.
Let me share with you a little exercise that will help you get intentional about finding your purpose.
Your Passions. Get out a sheet of paper and start off by listing out your passions. Don’t limit yourself or pre-qualify them, just list them off. What things has God laid on your heart? Think about activities you love to do, hobbies, people you have a heart for, a need you care about in the world, etc. What gets you fired up anytime you talk about it? What truly breaks your heart? For me, I get fired up talking about living a life of purpose. God has laid it on my heart to lead younger men; to help equip them for leadership. My heart burns for the lack of leaders that exist in the next generation. I have a desire to help them find their calling in life and become the men that God has intended them to be.
Your Gifts. Once you have identified your passions, you need to know what your spiritual gifts are. If you have never taken a spiritual gifts test, that is the place to start. There are a lot of them out there – here is one you can start with. It will lead you through a list of questions to help you identify what your spiritual gifts are. You can also have a close friend take it for you to really get an idea of your gifts. Take the top three to five gifts that you scored the highest in and list them next to your passions. For me, my top three spiritual gifts are exhortation, discernment, and words of wisdom – which you can see starts to align well with the passion God has placed on my heart.
Your Opportunities. The final area to reflect on are opportunities you have where your gifts and passions can come together to build up the kingdom. Start by listing out on that same page whatever comes to your mind. List out ways you can live out your passions using your gifts. Again don’t limit yourself; just write down whatever comes to your mind. Think of opportunities you can do right away – maybe opportunities within your church, people you know, volunteering locally, start a bible study, etc. But also think of some big things that will stretch you – something that would require the hand of God to move in your life. Maybe that’s becoming a missionary, writing a book, starting a ministry, adopting a child, etc.
With all of those listed out on your piece of paper you can start to see where they might all intersect. Now we start to get specific. Maybe your passion to share Christ with inner city kids, lines up with your gift of evangelism and there is a mission’s trip coming up at your church to a city in need. There is no possible way I can paint what that picture looks like for you – it’s so different for everyone. But if you spend time in prayer and ask God to reveal to you what his calling is for your life, you will start to see it align. It might also be helpful to share your list with some people who know you really well to see if they can affirm some things on your list that they see in you. They might even know of some opportunities you didn’t think about – which is good, there can be multiple opportunities for you to pray about and pursue.
A vital part of this process is to spend time in prayer before God. Once you have a feel for what your calling is, take some time to write it out in the form of a mission statement. Start by just finishing the sentence: My God inspired mission in life is to… It doesn’t have to be anything long – maybe just one or two sentences. But it is important to write out. It will help you truly define what God revealed to you. Put it somewhere where you will see it on a daily basis so you can keep the proper perspective in your life – a perspective of the greater calling to which you have been called.
God’s word says: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
Take time this week to get before the Lord and write out your God inspired calling. When you begin living out your purpose, you will experience such great joy in knowing you are glorifying God by walking in the good works he has prepared for you.