~By Pastor Mark Minor
As a pastor, you get the opportunity to ‘field’ a lot of questions. Sometimes the questions are rather easy:
'Can I cheat on my spouse?' 'NO!'
'Can God still forgive me after all the wrong I’ve done?' 'ABSOLUTELY YES!!!'
'Isn’t it ‘OK’ to secretly ‘take home’ a few items from work since my employer doesn’t really pay me what I’m worth and everyone else does it?' 'NO!!'
'Isn’t it really an act of great faith to buy that brand new $35000 truck I’ve been needing on my $20,000 a year salary and then just trust God for the payments?' 'UHHHH… NO!!!!'
Some questions are complicated— like the time a gentleman who had just recently come to faith in Christ came to the altar to pray about what to do with his ‘life situation’. “God is a God who gives answers”, I said. What’s up’?... And he proceeded to explain how he was AWOL from the Navy. How he had walked away from his duty on a nuclear sub… had been AWOL for 4 years… now had a job, a wife and two children… and he felt God was telling him, now that he was a Christian, to ‘turn himself in’ and ‘face the music’. “What would I advise him to do?” (After some phone calls to politicians and the military, he ultimately surrendered himself to the authorities at Great Lakes Naval base in Chicago. The Navy tried him, found him guilty, gave him a dishonorable discharge and threw him in the ‘brig’ for 6 months. The financial and physical needs of his wife and children were provided for by our church until his release.)
One of the most often asked questions, though, is this: Does God have a purpose of calling for my life?
The answer for believers is… of course… YES! God has a plan, purpose and place of destiny for everyone who is willing to follow Him. God wants to ‘use’ and fulfill everyone. All of us have value. Our lives, according the Bible, are Divinely planted by God’s Glorious Hand, into the soil of our cultural heritage, our time frame in history, and our unique personality.
There are, however, hindrances.
Hindrances that keep us from finding our place and fulfillment. Like a jigsaw puzzle, the ‘big picture’ is never complete until the missing piece of the puzzle— that is our life— is plugged in. Then we… the world… and especially our heavenly Father… can sit back and enjoy the work of his Hands.
OK, so what are the hindrances? I’ll suggest five that may be holding you back from ‘becoming’ or ‘discovering’ what God’s purpose is for you.
Adam’s first response to life— after the fall— was fear. “I was afraid... so I hid…” (Genesis 3:10) And along with it’s cousin ‘guilt’, fear is the most powerful weapon of Satan. He makes us ‘afraid’… so we hide.
I am proud of Sherri Murphy. She and husband Alan are great friends and co-workers— but I am always blessed by people who caste off the hiding house of fear and go for IT. Putting yourself ‘out there’. Fighting through the ‘fears’ of self-esteem to try something. Something that may be ridiculed… or fail. Sherri has done that. She ‘emotionally exposes herself’ (can I say that?) in her blog, in her writing, in her singing and when she speaks.
For many people that is a very fearful thing. What if nobody likes me? What if I make a fool of myself? What if I’m wrong? What if I waste a lot of time, energy and resources on an effort that, in the end, fails?
Paul became the world’s greatest missionary because he took off walking (What if he had played it safe and stayed in Antioch?) Esther saved her people Israel because she was willing to walk into the King’s Palace, casting aside ‘fear’ and resting in the confidence that perhaps, she was born for such a time as this. You see, discovering God’s destiny for you always begins with a first step of faith. And faith is the antidote to fear.
Want to find God’s will for your life? Looking for your Divine date with Destiny? Take the first step over the hindrance of fear. God will honor your faith and begin you on the pathway of being used and fulfilled.
PERSONAL HABITS OR ISSUES
A second hindrance to being used of God is the unwillingness of many people— especially Believers— to surrender personal habits or issues to the will of God. Millions of gifted and called saints are on the sidelines today because they refused to ‘let go’ of the one thing hindering them from their destiny.
Is it prejudice? A lust for a certain ‘pleasure’? A ‘lifestyle’ or ‘friends’ you just can’t let go of? Is it a ‘habit’… one you know the Holy Spirit has been dealing with you over… but ‘it’ is such a part of your life you think you would ‘die’ without it. Is it a black spot of ‘unrepentance’… a sin no one knows about or so long ago that it surely can’t matter anymore— can it? Or maybe a hobby… innocent enough, but devouring your time and hindering your journey to fulfillment and wholeness?
Years ago as a young man I took up smoking a pipe. I thought it was cool. I enjoyed the smell of the tobacco. But in no uncertain terms, God showed me that, if I was to be used of Him and find a Divine Destiny, I had to lay my pipe-puffing down. Is there a ‘pipe’ on your life you need to lay down in order to move on in the ‘journey’?
PRIDE OR SELF-SEEKING
Is it about ‘YOU’ or is it about ‘HIM’? There is a throne in the center of your ‘heart’ and it is a seat for one. If you are on that throne, then the Lord can’t be. Won’t be! People with great talent, awesome giftedness, incredible potential… often fail to find the perfect plan of God. Why? God is the ’footstool’… the launching pad. Ultimately (secretly) they desire to sit on the ‘throne’— using God as a means to get there.
Examine motives often! Pride and self-seeking creep in to the purest of hearts and the sincerest of intents. God does not put up with competition. If we are promoting ‘us’ God will simply leave us to our own way. And most of us know the dangers when left to our own way.
INVOLVING OTHERS AND THEIR GIFTS
You and I were never meant to ‘go it alone’. We need the gifts that others have to compliment or complete the dreams and visions we have. God will often bring people into your life— usually someone uniquely different than you— to help you fulfill your purpose or destiny. Take Paul and Barnabas for example. Paul was the brash prophet. His world was ‘black and white’, ‘right and wrong’, ‘yes or no.’ And who did God couple Paul up with as a ministry teammate? Barnabas, the son of encouragement. The one with the soft tone and understanding words. The perfect man to ‘temper’ and ‘hone’ Paul’s very powerful gifts.
In other words, without Barnabas, Paul probably fails.
So who has God brought into you life to be the compliment to your giftings and to help you fulfill your purpose. You may be ‘strong’ in leadership… then God probably will bring along a person with a mega-dose of Mercy. You may have a ‘vision from God’ that will revolutionize the world… but you will need someone with the gift of Administration to help you get it into reality. Or maybe your heart’s gift is to help the poor…. Better ask God to hook you up with a person with the gift of Giving or all your good intentions will crash to the ground like the Hindenburg.
Allow people to help you. Don’t reject the very ones God has sent your way.
This last one is, I think, most important. Some people know their destiny in an instant. They are the exception. Most of us work out our ‘salvation with fear and trembling’— meaning we just keep slogging along until it all ‘clicks’. It is the ‘slogging’ that I believe is the missing component in most Christian’s lives. We quit too soon. We quit too easily. We get bored with the ‘faith’… before we have mastered it.
Remember ‘piano’, guitar, trombone, (whatever) lessons? You ‘slog’ through the notes on the scale, the fingerings and the counting. Practice is frustrating. We get bored because we see (or hear) nothing happening. So we decide to take up ‘something different’ with quick rewards like maybe… watching TV.
But no one will ever hear your ‘music’ if you give up.
The best way I have found to know the will of God is just to be consistent in the ‘walk’. Do what you do… be who you are… and know that God will honor your faithfulness. ‘Slog’ on, my friend!
*My Pastor Mark from Whittington Church shares a post here each Sunday. If you have a specific question or topic you would like him to address in a later post, feel free to leave your question , or comment here or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org