Pastor Peter O. Olayiwola
Distance Learning Institute
University of Lagos
One of the greatest miracles that can happen in the life of a person is for that person to discover or know the purpose of God for his/her life. As long as you have not discovered that unique purpose you are like a man who wakes up in the morning and you arrived at a particular bus terminal where several vehicles were calling several places. Since you have no particular destination, you will have to be running up and down not knowing which particular destination you have to go. A life without purpose is a wasted and useless life. It is full of confusion, highly unorganized. Each time you ask such people a question about their plans, the readymade answer is “I don’t know”. If you are in this category, God has sent me to you so that you will really take good time to actually discover the purpose of God for your life. My friend, have you ever lost the key to your house before? How long does it take you to gain entrance? You will have to call a number of people to help you to gain entrance into you own house. Can you quantify the efforts in terms of time wasted, costs, embarrassments? Can you imagine how easy it would have been if you have the key with you. My friend discovering your purpose is the key to unlock your success. Stop whatever you are doing now and take time to discover your purpose in life.
This aims of this article are to
- help you discover the foundation you need to discover you purpose
- to explain the process of discovering your purpose
- Identify what your purpose should be
- to point out the benefits you stand to gain by discovering your purpose and
- to show you the possible dangers you are going to face if you live without a purpose.
The foundation for discovering your purpose
All the craftsmen in the world have a purpose for which they make their implements. Most time they provide a guide book called manual explaining the installation and how to use the equipment for the buyer to derive maximum benefits. Craftsmen do not make implements that are useless because if they do nobody will buy. If men and women that are created by God can reason this way, what about God the creator? Have you ever come to think of it that you are created by God? You are not created by accident, you are created for a specific purpose and no other person can fulfill that particular purpose as you will do. Failure to fulfill your purpose implies that part of the problem of the world is being created by you because you have failed to do what God has sent you to do. No wonder the Bible says in Romans 1: 28 that ‘And according as they did not think good to have God in knowledge, God gave them up to a reprobate mind to practice unseemly things;’. You need the knowledge of God as the foundational basis to know His purpose for your life. You cannot do anything meaningful without putting God first. God’s word says ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom/understanding’. I encourage you to link up with God and get your purpose straighten out.
Jeremiah 29:11also says ‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says Jehovah, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope in your latter end. God has a special package for you. He has you in His plans, and these plans are glorious ones. All you need do is to get closer, establish a permanent relationship with Him so that He can reveal His plans/purpose to you. So what are you waiting for? Get on your knee and ask Him to take over your life.
Process of discovering God purpose
The question agitating your mind is how you will be able to discover the purpose of God for your life. As said in the previous section, you need to accept Him into your life and allow Him to make the plans He has for you to be open to you. The following steps can be taken to discover God’s purpose for your life:-
- Prayers and meditations
- Give yourself to the study of God’s word
- Your interest and what you love doing
- Start small and aspire to grow big
Pavlina Steve (2005) suggested two ways of discovering one’s purpose in life
The first method is to consult your emotional intelligence. Passion and purpose go hand in hand. When you discover your purpose, you will normally find it’s something you’re tremendously passionate about. Emotionally you will feel that it is correct.
The second method is to use your reason and logic to work down from your context. The clearer and more accurate your context is, the easier this will be.
To identify your purpose, you basically project your entire context of reality onto yourself. Given your current understanding of reality, where do you fit in? If you buy into the social context that most people seem to use, this will be virtually impossible. Social contexts don’t provide sufficient clarity. At best you may end up with a wishy-washy purpose statement that addresses the basics like making money, having a family, having friends, and being nice, but there won’t be any real substance to it. If you gave it to someone else to read it, they wouldn’t come away knowing you any better.
According to Pavlina 2005, the combination of both methods for defining your purpose to see where they lead you is highly recommended. According to the researcher if your context is sound, you should get congruent answers from both approaches. Your emotional and rational intelligences will each phrase your purpose differently, but you should see that it’s essentially the same. But most of the time that won’t be the case, and the answers will be different, which means your context is incongruent. You rationally think about reality in one way but you feel it in another way. Perhaps you hold religious beliefs but only follow them sporadically — they aren’t integrated across your entire life. You may feel in your heart that your beliefs are true, but you don’t think them in your head. In this case you have to identify the disparity, figure out where it comes from, and work it through until you can get both sides to agree or you can get clear on which one is correct. Use your consciousness to listen to the emotional side and the rational side, and be like a negotiator between them.
What should be your purpose in life?
The central purpose of creature is to have a personal relationship with the creator God. In John 15: 5-6 Jesus said ‘I am the vine, you are the branches: He that abides in me, and I in him, the same bears much fruit: for apart from me you can do nothing. V.6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. You can see that no one can live without God, no man can be independent of God. You are created to be totally and unconditionally depend on God. Your ultimate purpose in life must be to please God, all other things are secondary.
Secondly, human society is created to be dependent on one another. It is obvious that no man can live as an island. No single person or family or a nation can live in isolation. If you agree with me, your purpose in life must not be self centred. You must always think of how you purpose in life will please God and benefit the society. Do you know that if your purpose benefits the society you will also reap financial benefits? Take for example footballers, Doctors, Teachers, Manufacturers of products, Comedians. Many of these people identified areas of their callings and they are benefiting the society and at the same time reaping financial benefits. You need to genuinely love others and seek society overall good.
Thirdly learn to discover and accept the deeper truth. People love those who will sing their praise, never ready to accept the truth. Truth is usually bitter but the ability to swallow it and digest it brings wisdom. You need to learn humility to accept the truth.
Fourthly, love sincerely and unconditionally, be passionate about the progress of others. When you sincerely love and you seek the good of your nation, community, friends, neighbours, employees or/employers, business partners and etc. You will discover that you are living in the atmosphere of joy and peace. Note that it is not the amount of wealth you gathered that matters but the numbers of lives you sincerely touched with your wealth. Trusted business partners are scarce because there is no sincere love, citizens commit crimes because there is no sincere love, and politicians are stealing the public funds because there is no love. Let us all redefine our purpose and re-align with that of God and our society will become heaven on earth.
Lastly develop and express your innovation and creativity. You are unique and special, so you need to generate unique ideas that will solve the society’s problems. This will lead to your strength. You must make up your mind to be different. Creativity and innovation required deep meditations and relationship with God
Benefits of discovering your purpose
You will have focus and direction: Now that you know where you are going it now becomes easier for you to get there.
It will enable you to plan your life (short, medium and long terms planning): You are able to work out your plans and how and when you get to your destination. You will need daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly plans. It must also include much longer periods.
You will be able to effectively and efficiently manage and allocate you resources. You do not misuse or mismanage resources. You become more conscious of where you are coming from, where you are, and where you are going. You allocate your resources in such a way that it gets you closer to your goals.
You become effective time manager and not time waster: One the benefits of knowing your purpose is that you will become a better time manger. Most people use a larger part of their lives doing things that have nothing to do with their future. A person with purpose realizes that time wasted is money wasted and also life wasted. Times that others have utilized and converted into wealth are wasted in mundane things.
Achieving-life- abundance.com identified three benefits of purpose as:
Personal philosophy: Discovering your Life Purpose is magical. It comes with a sense of meaning. It allows you to effect positive change on a world in need of such a thing. It allows you to finally stop saying, “Someday” and to begin living “now”. You help others “now”… you make a difference “now”. This is where you write down the values, morals, and principles by which you intend to live by. There’s a huge difference in the Life Purpose of a person valuing honesty and integrity as opposed to the person who doesn’t mind lying and cheating now and then. Like many others, you may very well be living a life today that doesn’t match up with your Personal Philosophy. Does your job have you doing things that go against your morals and principles? Have you allowed a friend, family member, or spouse to steer you in directions that have you violating your values? Getting your Personal Philosophy solidified will allow you to make life decisions quite easily from the viewpoint of principles that you hold highly.
Your Vision: As your Life Purpose comes squarely into view, your entire life vision changes. Instead of living life “by accident” and hoping things work out, you now see clearly how each decision affects you now and in the future. With your purpose of life mapped out, you no longer accept anything that violates that purpose and vision. Imagine the difference in your quality of life when you make choices based on personal truth rather than anything else society may be suggesting you do.
Making a difference: Since most people in today’s society are trapped in “survival mode”, they have abandoned all thoughts of “purpose” or living with “intention”. However, when you decide to finally rise above this and work on yourself in order to live your Life Purpose, you’ll find that your discovery of your authentic reason for being alive will result in a life where you make a difference to those around you. Discovering your Life Purpose is magical. It comes with a sense of meaning. It allows you to effect positive change on a world in need of such a thing. It allows you to finally stop saying, “Someday” and to begin living “now”. You help others “now”… you make a difference “now”.
Dangers of life without purpose:
- No focus or direction
- No particular plan in place
- Resources are used carelessly
- Times are wasted without apology “there is still time’saga
- There is no definite personal philosophy and low self concepts
- Joins the multitude
Pavlina (2010) stated that ‘No doubt there exist real dangers in life you must avoid. But there’s a huge gulf between recklessness and courage. I’m not referring to the heroic courage required to risk your life to save someone from a burning building. By courage I mean the ability to face down those imaginary fears and reclaim the far more powerful life that you’ve denied yourself. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear of going broke. Fear of being alone. Fear of humiliation. Fear of public speaking. Fear of being ostracized by family and friends. Fear of physical discomfort. Fear of regret. Fear of successes. It is time to leave the all manners of fear behind you and face life squarely. You will fulfill your purpose if you are focused and your take calculated risks.
Summary and Conclusion
This paper has been able to explain the foundation for discovering of your purpose with emphasis that God the creator must be central in the affairs of your life. It went further to explain the process of discovering your purpose. The paper also identified what your purpose should be. It highlighted the benefits you stand to gain by discovering your purpose and showed the possible dangers you are going to face if you live without a purpose. It is therefore safe to conclude that discovery of purpose do not come by accident. It is by determination to make a difference in life. It is by choice, so what is your choice now?
Pavlina, Steve (2005) Meaning of Life: Discover Your Purpose in Life http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/06/the-meaning-of-life-discover-your-purpose / Retrieved July 9 2010
Purpose of Life: 3 Benefits and 3 Steps to Discovering Your Life Purpose http://www.achieving-life-abundance.com/purpose-of-life.html Retrieved July 9 210
Pavlina S Courage to Live consciously