Recently I was teaching at a Bible college about God’s will and asked the question, “How many of you aren’t sure you’re doing what God created you for?” I said, “You may want it, you may desire it, you may be praying that God will take all of the things you do and use them to further His kingdom, but how many of you aren’t certain that you’re doing what God created you to do?” Over half of the people in the room raised their hands to say they weren’t positive they were doing what God called them to do—and those were fanatics who came out on a Thursday morning just to hear the Gospel!
You are not going to accidentally fulfill God’s will. It doesn’t happen unintentionally or by coincidence. Seeing God’s will realized in your life means, first of all, finding out what unique purpose He created you for. In nature, water always seeks the path of least resistance and our human nature does the same thing if we allow it to. We can end up meandering through life, allowing obstacles we encounter to determine what direction we take. But it doesn’t have to be that way. God intends for us to experience the satisfaction of a life well lived. We can do this if we are willing to do more than just go with the flow—even a dead fish can float downstream.
Accomplishing the things we were created to achieve means making a deliberate effort to find, follow, and fulfill God’s will. When I put forth effort to discover my God-given purpose, it was a critical turning point in my life. I was in high school at the time and until then everything had been decided for me. But as I approached the end of my senior year, I realized I was going to have to start making some decisions on my own. This brought me face to face with the question we all eventually ask: What is the purpose for my life?
One thing I am grateful that I learned while growing up in church is that God created everyone with a purpose. Your parents may not have known you were coming, but God did. God created you. You didn’t evolve. You aren’t a mistake. God created you, and He created you for a reason.
As I wrestled with what to do about my future, I knew that God had a purpose for my life, so I didn’t want to just randomly pick a direction. I began asking people in my church, “How do you know God’s will for your life? How do you find it?” Unfortunately, nobody could tell me. I didn’t know of any method for discovering God’s will, so I started studying the Word of God. I knew that the Bible contained knowledge about God, so I figured it was a good place to look for God’s will for my life. I began to stay up until two or three o’clock every morning studying the Bible.
I had read the Bible every day of my life since I was a little kid but never really studied it, so I went out and bought a Bible commentary to help me understand everything. I had about five volumes of these big old heavy books, and I would sit there and study every single verse. I remember using a lamp with a flexible goose neck that allowed me to position it in different ways. I used to pull the lamp down over my Bible and read with my head perched above the lamp casing. Whenever I started to fall asleep, my forehead would nod down onto the lamp and it would burn me, jarring me back awake so I would keep on reading. That was how I forced myself to stay up and read the Bible.
Although I read through the entire Bible two or three times that year, I didn’t feel like God had shown me anything special. I didn’t receive any specific revelations. I was just preparing the ground. Before planting a seed, you have to dig out the rocks and prepare the ground so the seed can sink in. That’s what I was doing; I was seeking the Lord. I did that for over a year, and then, all of a sudden, something opened up.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
This passage of scripture came alive to me. It burned in my heart. I spent months reading it and asking God, “What does this mean? How do I do it?” Then some time later, I had a miraculous encounter with the Lord and experienced His love for me. It turned my life upside down, so for more than four months I was caught up in the presence of God. It changed me.
Often when I talk about this miraculous encounter with God, people think that it was a fluke—like lightning or something. They think, “You never know where it’s going to strike.” Actually, I’ve heard that lightning doesn’t come from the sky down. It looks that way, but there is a negative charge in the ground that attracts the lightning—so it really starts in the ground. You can see this in time-lapse photos of a lightning strike. The reality is that lightning strikes certain places for a reason.
Likewise, there are reasons why God all of a sudden captures one person’s life with a miraculous encounter, while others don’t encounter Him at all. It’s true that you can’t make God reveal something to you by saying, “God, tell me what I want to know, right now.” It doesn’t work like that. But you can prepare your heart.
In my situation, I didn’t really understand what was happening in me. I wasn’t mature enough to know what was going on—I was just hungry for God. I wanted to know God’s purpose for my life. I had been seeking Him in the best way I knew how to for 18 months. It wasn’t an accident that God showed up. I knew He had a purpose for me and my life was turned around when I became hungry to discover it. As a result of my hunger, God touched me. And I’ve never gotten over it. It changed my life!
A popular misconception in the church today is that God winds us up like a doll and then lets us go our own way, leaving us to figure life out on our own. “If I get in a bind,” the thinking goes, “I can call on God and maybe He’ll help me.” This kind of philosophy leads people to do their own thing in life and then ask God to bless what they are already doing—instead of seeking Him for direction from the beginning.
Since I found God’s will for my life, I don’t ever pray for God to bless what I’m doing. I don’t even pray for the meetings I hold around the country, which shocks some people. I have been asked, “You didn’t spend time praying and interceding before the meeting?” No, because God told me to hold those meetings. He would be unjust to command me to do something and then expect me to do it in my own strength and power. God gives me an anointing to do what He has called me to do. It’s the same for everyone. When you are doing what God called you to do, you don’t have to spend time asking for His blessing or praying for Him to move on your behalf. God has already blessed what He told you to do.
One reason so many people are praying for God to come to their assistance is because they aren’t doing what He told them to do. Others may have stumbled into God’s will for their life, but they don’t have that assurance and joy that comes from knowing they are exactly where He wants them to be.
Is Someone Waiting on You?
I believe there is a supernatural peace that goes along with being in the center of God’s will. It does something in you when you know you are where God wants you to be. I remember an encounter I had in Charlotte, North Carolina, where I have ministered every year since the 1980s. A friend of mine has a business there and invites me to come speak to his employees. One year I spoke at his business and as I was leaving, I saw an Asian woman answering the phones. I had never seen her before, so I stopped and started talking to her.
“Are you new here?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said, “I just started last week.”
“Oh, okay. Well, how come you weren’t back there with the rest of the employees?”
“I’m the new person, so they had me answer the phone,” she answered. “Who are you?”
I told her who I was, and she said, “What do you do?”
“I’m a minister.”
“For whom?” she asked.
“For Jesus.” I said.
“You must be the one!” she exclaimed.
I asked her what she was talking about and she explained that she was a Buddhist. The night before, she had been performing her Buddhist worship and was suddenly disillusioned with the whole thing and said, “This isn’t it. Buddha is not it.” She told me how she spoke out, “God I know Youare real. I know You exist, but I don’t know who You are. Would you reveal Yourself to me?” Then she recounted how a pulsating ball of light appeared and hung right in front of her. She said she knew it was God, but she asked anyway, “Who are You?” A voice replied, “Tomorrow, I’ll send you a man who will tell you who I am.”
“You must be the one,” she exclaimed again.
“I’m the one,” I said.
I went on to tell her about Jesus and she was born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit. It was awesome! I left that place thinking, God, I was in the right place at the right time! I was exactly where I was supposed to be. God knew He could count on me to be there and to follow His leading, so He told that woman to expect me. I can’t even describe the peace, satisfaction, and joy that comes from knowing you are right where God wants you to be. If that doesn’t make you have a good day, nothing will. Something happens when you know that everything about you is doing what God created you to do.
Many people have never felt the satisfaction of knowing, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that they are doing what God made them for. No believer should live that way. God created you for something better than wandering aimlessly through life. You have a purpose.
A Holy Dissatisfaction
The only way to have perfect peace and joy is to point your life in the direction God wants you to go. Otherwise, you may be praying to get rid of discouragement in your life when, in fact, the lack of peace you are experiencing is a result of not being in God’s perfect will. When you aren’t going in the right direction, He will sometimes turn you around by giving you a sense of unrest, or what I call a “holy dissatisfaction.”
We need to understand that the “holy dissatisfaction” that comes from God is totally different from depression. The depression that comes from the world is a result of giving your attention to the flesh, instead of focusing on the things of God (Romans 8:6). The dissatisfaction that God uses to give direction to believers who are seeking Him is completely different from the turmoil of negative emotions. God doesn’t use depression to guide us.
When my wife, Jamie, and I pastored a church in Seagoville, Texas, there were times when friends tried to talk us into leaving. They would say, “People aren’t receiving the message, nobody wants you, just move on.” It was true, people stayed away from our church by the droves. But we were committed to Seagoville, Texas. We loved the people and were happy; so we stayed there and kept on ministering.
Everything was great until one day when I was in church praying—it was like somebody flipped a switch on the inside of me. All of a sudden, I looked out the window over the town and thought, God, what am I doing here? If this isn’t the end of the world, you can see it from here. The desires of my heart changed in an instant and suddenly I hated being in Seagoville.
This change in how I felt was so abrupt that it kind of surprised me. It was only the day before that I was happy and excited about simply having the opportunity to minister there. Then, without any apparent reason, I didn’t want to be in Seagoville anymore. I started praying and seeking God for clarity and within an hour or two I was convinced that God was telling me to leave. In fact, He even gave me a date. He told me that we would be leaving our house by the first of November. I was sure of it, so I started toward home wondering how I was going to tell Jamie that we were moving. When I arrived home, there was already a “For Sale” sign in our front yard!
I walked into the house and asked Jamie, “What is that sign doing in the yard?” She said, “The landlord came by and said we have to be out November first.”
God didn’t give me direction by a booming voice that echoed down from the heavens saying, “Thus saith the Lord, thou shalt leave Seagoville, Texas.” No, I just lost my desire to be there. This is one of the ways that God speaks to us—through the desires of our heart.
One of the reasons that some people aren’t satisfied with getting up and going to work, coming home, watching television, going to bed, and then getting up and doing the whole thing over again, is because they aren’t doing what God called them to do. It’s a holy dissatisfaction. You are never going to have the sense of joy and peace that I’ve been talking about until you get in line with God’s will for your life. Unless you are doing what God created you to do, you will never have the drive that continually wakes you up in the morning excited about life, knowing that you are on a path that is making a difference and changing others.
It’s sad to say, but a lot of Christians have never known the satisfaction that comes from being in the center of God’s will. One of the reasons for this is because the church has been more influenced by the world rather than influencing the world.
Many of us were raised, whether in a Christian home or not, to think that our life is our own and we can do whatever we want with it. Still, others grew up thinking they were a mistake because their parents told them they were the result of an unplanned pregnancy. Some look around and feel like they missed out on the talents and abilities they see in others. In one way or another, many people go through life feeling like they are a mistake—so they just struggle and try to cope the best they can.
The Lord’s plan for your life is far better than that. You aren’t a mistake. You didn’t miss out on the talents you need to accomplish God’s will. You don’t have to struggle through life, bouncing from one crisis to the next. God has a purpose for you. He created you for a reason. You have a specific purpose in life and God wants you to discover that purpose.
Separated from the Womb
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from You
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
Your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in Your book before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Psalm 139:14-17 NIV
What a tremendous passage of scripture! God saw you before you were ever born. He saw you in your mother’s womb. At the same time you were being physically formed, God wove in your talents, abilities, and purpose. It’s a part of who you are. Before you were even born, God had already written down what your life is supposed to be. He had written down your talents and abilities.
You may think you made yourself an artist, or an accountant, or whatever it is that you are, but you can’t bring out what God didn’t put in. God gave you a disposition. He gave you a certain inclination. Some people are vivacious and lively, while others are quiet and reserved. God gave you the personality you have. He made you the way you are. You can change to a degree, but you can’t change the core of who you are.
I used to be a runner but now I’m a walker. In high school, they tried to make me run sprints—50 yard dashes. I did it, but I hated it and was never really good at it. I was good enough to make the track team, but never good enough to win any medals. After I finished school, I started jogging and discovered that I loved to jog. I enjoyed running 15 or 20 miles slowly, but running 50 yards as fast as I could really bothered me.
I eventually learned that muscles are made up of fast-twitch and slow-twitch fibers. Sprinters have a majority of fast-twitch muscle fibers, while distance runners have more slow-twitch muscle fibers. You can change the ratio of fast-twitch to slow-twitch fibers in your muscles through training, but not by much. The basic balance doesn’t change. Some people are built for speed; others are built for endurance. I didn’t like sprinting because I wasn’t built to run sprints. I was built for long-distance running.
In the same way, your personality can be influenced and changed to a degree, but you have a genetic disposition to be a certain type of person with a certain type of personality. You were designed that way. Before you were formed, God had already planned those things. He had it written out. He wove in your abilities and purpose, but He won’t force His will for your life to come to pass. This is something that keeps people from recognizing and finding God’s will for their lives. They have a fatalistic attitude that whatever is meant to be, will be—like that old song, “Qué será, será. Whatever will be, will be.”
If you let fate dictate your life, you will make a lot of wrong decisions. You can’t just let circumstances move and control you. God doesn’t move you around like a pawn. Many think God is sovereign and whatever His will is comes to pass, but that isn’t how it works.
God is sovereign, in the sense that He has supreme power and is Master of all things, seen and unseen. But He is not sovereign in the sense that nothing can happen without His permission. God doesn’t control your life. He doesn’t force His will to come to pass. Everything that happens in your life is not God’s will. I know a lot of people teach that nothing can happen unless God wills it to happen, but that isn’t what the Word of God says. For example, the Apostle Peter wrote:
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.2 Peter 3:9
It’s very clear that God doesn’t want anyone to miss out on salvation. He desires for everyone to receive salvation, yet Jesus said there would be more people who perish by entering the broad gate that leads to destruction than those who are saved by entering through the narrow gate that leads to everlasting life (Matthew 7:13-14). God wants every person to be saved, yet not everyone will be saved. Jesus even prophesied that not everyone will be saved.
The reason God’s will does not automatically come to pass in our lives is that we have a part to play. We choose whether or not we will be saved by our response to Jesus. We have a choice in the matter. In the same way, God has a plan for you but you have control over your own life. God is not going to make His will come to pass in your life without your cooperation.
Before you were born, before you were even formed in the womb, God had a plan for your life. You were born a man or a woman, at this time in history, in the nation you were born in for a reason. It isn’t a coincidence. God chose you. He has a purpose for you and He gave you gifts and abilities to accomplish that purpose. God created you for a reason and has a specific plan for what He wants you to do, but ultimately you are in control.
Steps and Stages
If you feel like a square peg in a round hole, it might be because you have allowed circumstances to move you away from the direction God has planned for you. The reason you aren’t satisfied or fulfilled is that you aren’t moving in the right direction. You will never have the degree of success you could have in life until you find God’s will.
When I first started seeking the Lord, I knew I was called to minister but I didn’t know in what capacity. Over a period of time, I discovered that I was called to teach, as opposed to being an evangelist. My gifting was toward the body of Christ, to help believers learn who they are in Christ. Initially, however, I didn’t know exactly what area of ministry I was called to so I started out by holding Bible studies. This was back before there was such a thing as a Spirit-filled church. People thought that if you spoke in tongues, you were of the devil. I actually made a top 10 list of things that were “of the devil” in my town—I was number one on the list!
All of the people who came to my Bible studies were kicked out of their churches, so they said, “We’re going to start tithing here. This is our church now.”
“Wait a second,” I told them. “This isn’t a church, it’s a Bible study. And I’m not a pastor.”
“Well, you can call it whatever you want to,” they said, “but we don’t have anywhere else to go. This is where we go, so you’re our pastor.”
I became a pastor by default. I didn’t want to be a pastor. I never felt called to be a pastor. But the people in my Bible study started calling me “Pastor,” and I ended up pastoring three churches. God used me in that role: lives were changed, people were born again, and good things happened—but it wasn’t my calling.
After I started on radio, I held my first Gospel meeting when I advertised the event during my broadcast and invited everyone who could make it to come out. It was awesome! After the very first meeting, I knew that I was made to travel and minister in exactly that way. Even though I had been teaching the same things before, I felt a new sense of liberty, satisfaction, and joy when I started ministering in the way God created me to.
I wasn’t out of His will when I was pastoring those three churches; it was a time of training for me. God taught me during that period and I learned a lot, but I wasn’t yet in the center of His will. You don’t go from not being in God’s will to instantly being in the center of His will. It’s a process. It takes time; it happens progressively.
I started ministering in 1968. On July 26, 1999, the Lord woke me up in the middle of the night and spoke to me about some things. He told me I was just then beginning to fulfill what He had called me to do and if I had died before then, I would have missed His perfect will for my life. It was both discouraging and encouraging at the same time to hear those things.
It was discouraging because I had been ministering for 31 years and saw great things happen, but the Lord was telling me that I was just then getting to the center of His will. But it also encouraged me, because I was already seeing God do wonderful things and felt extremely blessed to be doing what He had called me to do. I thought, If I’m just now getting closer to doing what God called me to do, then it’s going to get even better! And it has. Our ministry has grown extensively and we’re reaching more people than ever with the Gospel. I have to run to keep up. It’s awesome! But we didn’t get here overnight.
The reason you might find life hard or might not be experiencing satisfaction is because God created you to do something different from what you are doing. He created you for one thing and you are off doing something else. Maybe you just fell into what you are doing; you were recruited at a college career day or got married and took whatever opportunity you could. Life might have just kind of taken a path on its own, which happens. I hope you recognize now that God created you for a unique purpose and you have to intentionally pursue that purpose.
God Is Not Looking at Your Resume
For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace…Galatians 1:13-15
When the Apostle Paul wrote that God had separated him, he meant that God had set him apart for a specific purpose. God set Paul apart from his mother’s womb to preach the Gospel. This is a radical thought. We always look at a person’s qualifications when we are trying to fill a position in church or in the workplace. We want to know if the applicant is reliable. We look at their accomplishments and natural abilities, and essentially choose people based on their past performance. But God’s way is different.
This passage of Scripture says that God chose Paul and set him apart from his mother’s womb to preach the Gospel—before he ever did anything good or bad or developed his talents and abilities. God isn’t looking at your resume and saying, Oh, look at what you’ve accomplished. You would be a great choice. I think I’ll call you to do such and such. No, God doesn’t work like that. From the very moment of conception, God had a plan, and from your mother’s womb, God already had a purpose designed for you.
Our talents and abilities can be an indication of God’s will, but many of us have hidden talents and gifts that we have never recognized or developed. If we only look at what we think our talents and abilities are, we will miss God. We won’t see our real potential until we get beyond ourselves and get into a realm of trusting God for something supernatural. We can’t just say, Well, I’ve always been able to speak in front of people, so maybe God wants me to be a preacher, or something like that. We aren’t going to find God’s will that way.
I used to be someone who couldn’t look other people in the face and speak to them. I remember walking down the street one day when I was a senior in high school and a man walked past me and said, “Good morning.” He was two blocks down the street before I let out my response, “Good morning, sir.”
I got into my car and sat there thinking, God, what is wrong with me? I was so introverted. Looking at my natural qualifications up to that point, the last thing you would think I would ever end up doing is speaking in front of thousands of people. But God has called me to do something totally contrary to my nature.
God has changed me, but I still like being alone. I really enjoy it. When I want to have a great time, I’ll go spend some time by myself—that’s my nature. God called me to do something opposite from my natural inclination. Many people are trying to figure out what to do with their lives by looking at their natural abilities or the results of a personality test. A personality test can’t tell you God’s plan for your life; it can only give you a snapshot of where you are at the time you take the test. The results aren’t true forever.
If I would have taken a personality test before God touched me in 1968, I guarantee you I would have tested as an extreme introvert. But if I took that same test today, I’d test out a maximum extrovert. A test is just a snapshot of where you are. It may tell you what your personality type is like at that moment, but it can’t tell you God’s real plan and purpose for your life. Some people have been so wounded and beaten into submission by life that the snapshot isn’t going to give them a true indication of their potential.
God didn’t look at Paul when he was 20 or 30 years old and say, “Wow, you’ve spent 20 years studying under Gamaliel and have all of this knowledge under your belt, so I think I’ll use you to preach the Gospel and write half the New Testament.” God doesn’t operate that way. As a matter of fact, most of us would have picked Peter to go to the heathen, believing he was half heathen himself. When Jesus called Peter, he was probably out there in the boat cussing. Peter had an attitude. It seemed like the only time he opened his mouth was to change feet! He was always doing something wrong.
Peter wasn’t polished or religious, so most of us would have thought he would have been a great guy to send to the heathen—and we would have sent Paul to the Jews! Paul was schooled in the Jewish religion; he knew the law frontward and backward. He also had a revelation of grace. Who better to convince a legalistic Jew than Paul? He was the greatest Pharisee of them all. Yet, God sent Paul to preach to the heathen and Peter to preach to the legalistic Jews.
You might be thinking, “God couldn’t use me; I’ve been mediocre my whole life.” But God doesn’t plan His purposes for your life according to your previous achievements. He will always call you to do something that is beyond your natural ability, forcing you to rely on Him. If you only do what you feel you are naturally equipped to do—what you are capable of doing in your own strength and ability—then you will be tempted to give yourself the credit for success. You’ll think, “I’m really good at this; I’m just a natural.” In fact, I would say that if you are simply doing what comes naturally to you then you probably haven’t found God’s will for your life yet.
God separated Paul from his mother’s womb, before he had honed his skills or accomplished anything in life. Likewise, God’s purpose for you may or may not be in accordance with what you perceive as your strengths. I’ve heard it said that the place with the most potential on earth is a graveyard because most people die without reaching their potential; they take it to the grave.
You were separated from the womb and God put abilities in you to fulfill His purposes. But He is not going to make His will come to pass without your cooperation. You have to make an effort to find God’s plan for your life. You can’t judge what His plan is by merely looking at your natural abilities. If you look at your history of successes or failures, you might miss God’s plan and never realize the potential He has placed inside of you.
Not Everything That’s Good, Is God
Major life changes can be unsettling to contemplate, especially if you have a career and things are going well or if you are thinking about retirement and looking forward to coasting for a while. You don’t want any bumps in the road. Yet here I am asking, “Have you really found the purpose God has for you?” No matter how unpleasant the thought of change may seem, it is important to know whether or not you have found your life’s purpose.
I believe that most people have not found God’s will for their lives. Most people are not accomplishing what God created them to do. They may be doing something good. But just because it’s good, doesn’t mean it’s God. Not everything that is good is God’s will. You may be an accomplished professional doing wonderful things, but are you doing what God has called you to do?
We each only have one chance to fulfill God’s will for our lives. God’s intention is not that we do whatever we want to with our lives and then, as long as our heart is pure, everything will be all right. No, you were created by God for a specific purpose that you are not going to fulfill accidentally. You have to get a revelation of what God’s will is and then swim upstream to pursue it. Only with effort and time will you see God’s will for your life come to pass. It isn’t going to happen by fate. You have to take charge of your life and pursue God’s will. You have to take control!
Find out where God wants you to go and steer your life in that direction. Jamie and I are exactly where God wants us to be, doing what He wants us to do, but we wouldn’t be in the center of His will today if we had taken the easy road in the past. “Qué será, será,” isn’t a philosophy that gets great results in life. We have sought God. We have stood against circumstances and situations that have tried to turn us away from God’s will. We had to persevere. We didn’t get where we are by accident or by our own strength and wisdom. It took effort. Without work and determination, I don’t believe you will be able to reach the center of God’s will either.
Paul said of himself, “…it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace” (Galatians 1:15). Paul recognized that the Lord had a purpose for him in being a representative of God. Yet for 20 or 30 years of his life, Paul thought that being a legalistic Jew was the way he would fulfill God’s will. Paul said he was more zealous than anybody else and profited in the Jew’s religion above many of his equals (Galatians 1:14). Finally, the Lord revealed Himself miraculously and said, “You’re doing it all wrong,” and Paul had to completely reverse the direction his life was going.
Paul’s life is proof that merely discovering some of your talents, doesn’t necessarily mean that you are using them in the way God intends for you to use them. Maybe you are, but you need to hear from God to be sure. You need to find out. Life is not a dress rehearsal; it’s the real deal. You will never have another today. You have to make every day count. You have to spend every day moving in the direction that God wants your life to go. You don’t have time to meander through life, hoping to stumble into your purpose or praying that in the end God will use you.
It’s so easy to get established in a routine. When we get a little bit of security and the pressure is off, we want to put life on cruise control. It can feel a little threatening to get out of a routine and do something new, especially if we have been doing the same thing for a long time. But we have to be willing to get out of our comfort zone in order to find God’s purpose for our lives. I promise you, knowing the joy of being in the center of God’s will makes it all worthwhile.
God called me to teach and minister to people. I’m doing what God has called me to do. Because of that, I can name tons of people who have been healed, marriages that have been restored, and people who have been born again. It has been awesome! But you don’t have to be a minister to have a God-given purpose. The Lord has a unique purpose for everyone.
I spend millions of dollars on radio and television, yet there are people you know—friends, relatives, neighbors—who will never hear of me. It wouldn’t matter if I spent ten times as much money as I am spending right now because there would still be certain people who would never hear me preach the Gospel. Some of those people might be your friends and neighbors. An ordained minister might never reach them, but you could.
You have miracles that God has appointed for you to carry out. You may never be on radio or television, and God may not use you to speak in front of thousands of people, but you have a sphere of influence that might never receive the full anointing God has for them unless you reach your potential. You don’t have to mature as a Christian before God will love you. God’s love is unconditional and He accepts you right where you are. But you will be happier and a much greater blessing to the people in your life, once you find your purpose and start heading in that direction.
It’s possible that God wants you in the very business you’re in. Not everyone who wants to live for God needs to become a full-time minister. We need believers who are out in the world, functioning in the power of God and His gifts. Becoming a pastor isn’t the only way to serve God. In fact, God calls more people to be businessmen and laborers than He calls into full-time ministry. Regardless of what you are called to do, God wants you to reach people and manifest His power in the world.
You need to know that you are doing what God made you for, not simply hoping that you are doing something that is acceptable to Him. I think it would be terrible to live your whole life and not know for sure that you are doing what God created you to do. I can’t imagine what that would be like. It would terrify me to go to bed and wake up, not having a clue if I am following God’s will.
The only thing worse than not knowing God’s will is knowing His will and choosing not to do it—either because you have talked yourself out of it or have let others talk you out of it. To know that God made you for a purpose and to feel unqualified or incapable of fulfilling it, is worse than not knowing at all.
It motivates me to know that I am doing what God created me to do. I get up in the morning with a purpose. I know I haven’t achieved all that God has planned for me, but I’m progressing in the right direction. A God-given purpose and a life driven by the Holy Spirit motivate me to work through life’s hardships. I don’t know how people who live without a purpose find the incentive to muddle through, other than knowing that the alternative is worse. Going to work because it beats starving to death is a terrible way to live your life. You need to know that you’re doing what God has called you to do. You need to live your life on purpose.
God has a purpose for every person alive. I don’t care if your parents liked you or wanted you. God knew you were coming. God wrote down everything about you in His book and He has a plan for you. Every gift and talent, the time you were born, the country you were born in, and everything else about you was designed by God. You are not an accident. God has a perfect plan for your life and His plan is better than your plan for yourself.
God’s Universal Will
I can tell you emphatically what God’s primary will for your life is: to know Jesus. He is not willing that anyone should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). God’s will for every person on earth is to know Him. It doesn’t matter what you have done in the past. Paul said he was the greatest sinner of all, yet God chose him to show that anybody who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13). In order to be saved, or to be in right relationship with God, you must be born again.
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.John 3:3
You have to be certain that you are born again. A lot of churchgoers in America think that merely believing God exists is enough to be saved, but the Bible says, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble” (James 2:19). In other words, it’s no great accomplishment to believe in God—even the devil knows that God is real. You have to do more than mentally acknowledge God’s existence; you have to submit yourself to Him. You have to commit your life to Him personally and when you do that, the Bible says you are born again from above. You are changed on the inside.
If you are already born again, great, I’m not trying to talk you out of it. But if you have not committed your life to God personally, you need to. This is the first and most important step in finding God’s will for your life. You need to be certain that you have done it. A lot of people think, “Well, I’m a good person. I go to church,” but that isn’t enough. Sitting in a church isn’t going to make you a Christian, any more than sitting in a garage is going to make you a car. You must be born again.
It doesn’t matter how good a person you are. All of us fall short of God’s standard of perfection. You can’t save yourself and that’s why God became a man—Jesus—and paid the price for sin on your behalf. Nothing you can do will make you worthy of receiving God’s love. No amount of good works will earn you the privilege of being righteous in God’s eyes. The only thing that will restore you to a right relationship with God is putting your faith in Jesus and submitting to Him as Lord of your life.
Imagine standing before God and hearing Him ask, “What makes you worthy to enter into heaven?” How would you answer? If your first thought is to tell God what a good person you are, how you read your Bible, or that your parents used to take you to church, then you aren’t born again. The only correct answer is to say, “I put my faith in Jesus Christ.”
The sacrifice of Jesus Christ is what makes us right with God. In order to receive His free gift of salvation, all you have to do is believe. It’s so simple that people usually think it can’t be that easy. But it really is that simple. Nothing is required aside from believing in the finished work of Jesus. Scripture says,
…if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
The words are easy to say, but you also have to believe what you say in your heart. You have to really mean that you are turning your life over to Jesus—which isn’t to say that you’ll never sin again. None of us are perfect and there are times when we fail. You have to be willing to turn the direction of your life over to the Lord and accept salvation solely on the basis of what Jesus has done for you.
Jesus has already paid for your sins, so salvation is simply a matter of receiving what God desires to give you. It’s not a matter of trying to convince God to give you something He really doesn’t want to give. Salvation is simple, but it didn’t come cheap. Jesus paid for our salvation by taking the punishment we deserved in His own body on the cross. He suffered, died, and defeated death by rising again. Jesus earned salvation for us because we couldn’t. So all you have to do to be saved is say this prayer out loud, believe it in your heart, and you will be born again. It’s that simple.
Father, I’m sorry for my sins. I believe Jesus died to forgive my sin, and I receive that forgiveness. Jesus, I make You my Lord. I believe that You are alive, and that You now live in me. I am saved. I am forgiven. Thank You, Jesus!
God Isn’t Keeping His Will a Secret
Salvation through faith in Jesus is God’s universal will for every person on earth. It brings you into a personal relationship with God. It’s the absolute first step in finding God’s will for your life. Once you are in relationship with God, you can move on to find out what His particular will for your life is. God made you for one specific purpose and your only chance of reaching your full potential is to find that purpose.
Fortunately, God wants you to know and live out His will even more than you do. He desires to reveal His will to you. For the remainder of the first section of this book, we will discuss things that you can do to draw on the power of God and cause Him to reveal His will to you.
The first thing you need to do is refuse to go any further without knowing God’s will for your life. As long as you can live without knowing God’s purpose for your life, you will. After you insist on finding His will and commit to seeking the Lord with your whole heart, He will immediately put everything in motion to reveal Himself to you—but the first step is making a commitment.
For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
2 Timothy 1:12
God is faithful and just to keep that which we commit. No committing; no keeping. You have to commit to something. Are you going to continue to go through life thinking, Qué será, será. Whatever will be, will be? Or are you going to make a commitment to find God’s will for your life? If you are willing to make a total commitment to seeking God and finding His perfect will for your life, then I would like to pray with you. This prayer will be a step of faith that is going to start the process of God revealing His will to you:
Father, I love you. I thank You for the knowledge that You desire to reveal Your will to me. I don’t want to do things on my own anymore. Father, I want to know Your will. I want to know what You created me for. I want to take everything that I am and use it to accomplish Your purpose for me.
I know it’s a process, but I am making a commitment to begin seeking and continue seeking, until I find. I’m not going to be content with living my life for myself. I now humble myself to You Lord and ask You to reveal Your will to me. Father, give me supernatural revelation.
Lord, I believe that right now the process has begun. I have made a commitment and I believe You are going to keep that which I commit. I believe You are going to draw me to a place where I will emphatically know what Your purpose and will for my life is. I thank You Father, in advance, knowing that You will reveal Yourself to me in a way that I can see and understand. I thank You for this in the name of Jesus. Amen.