By Naomi Cassata
When we are small, we are often asked what we want to be when we grow up. Our answers are not usually taken serious, but the older we get, the more thought and planning goes into this question.
The deeper, more important, question is “What does God want me to do with my life?” Some believe God lets us choose our own path, while others believe He has a specific plan for each to fulfill. If the later one is true, how do we find that “specific plan?” If God has really orchestrated a plan for our lives 1) How do we make sure we don’t miss it? 2) How do we become equipped to fulfill it?
These are important questions that we need to know the answers to. Every person who gives their life to God has a specific purpose to fulfill. When we choose to live for God, we are in essence “surrendering” everything to His will. Our lives are not our own. Read Luke 14:27-33. Jesus taught that we should consider the cost of following him. The cost means we forsake our old lives and take up a life of surrender to God. We should never choose God unless we are willing to forsake all we have and follow Christ’s example. It is better to never come to Christ than to come to Christ and live your life yielded to your sinful pleasures.
Serving God is not a demand. God never forces someone to surrender their life to Him. He only accepts willing vessels. To force anyone to surrender would not produce genuine service. Those that choose God, do it willingly and joyfully because they’ve come to a place that the only thing that brings real satisfaction to them is to do God’s will.
Let’s briefly examine the lives of a few of God’s people that fulfilled God’s plan for them. Through the lives of Joseph, Moses, David and Paul we come to understand how God prepares us for our future. We find 5 common elements familiar to all four.
1) They were unlikely candidates; 2) They were men who desired, from the heart, to please God; 3) They all struggled to fulfill their destiny due to opposition; 4) They saw a cause which became their purpose; 5) The gifting God placed in them helped them along the way.
1) Unlikely Candidate: God doesn’t have requirements that we must be mighty, strong or wise for Him to work through. Our destinies are not chosen for us based on our strengths. It’s God who equips us based on our obedience. He only looks for the humble and obedient vessels because those are the ones who will be willing to let God work through them. Moses was called the most “humble” man on the face of the earth (Numbers 12:3). When God commissioned him to free the Israelites, Moses was fearful and uncertain, but God looked past his inadequacies and was able to use him to accomplish His will for a whole nation.
2)Desire to Please God: The state of our heart is very important to God. If our desire isn’t for God’s purposes to be achieved, we will miss out. Samuel said, “The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be commander over His people,” (1 Samuel 13:14). David was the youngest of eight boys. All seven of his older brothers were more than capable of being king, but they were missing one thing that David had: A heart that was set on God. God “sought” for a man whose agenda would be to honor Him and His word. It wasn’t by random chance David was chosen, rather God searched him out. When God looks upon the earth, he doesn’t see as man sees. We identify people based on their outward appearance. Not God. He identifies us by the state of our heart. Although David’s outward appearance did not make him the ideal candidate to be Israelite’s next leader, His hearts identity was exactly what God was looking for in a king.
3)Struggles and Trials: Just because God has a purpose for your life, does not mean it will be handed to you on a silver platter. No one that fulfilled God’s purpose, in the Bible, had it easy. They went through trials, struggles and much opposition as they attempted to walk the path allotted them. It didn’t come easy, but the goal set before them became their passion; and despite their trials, nothing could persuade them to lay it down. Paul’s ministry was marked with “…much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness…” (2 Corinthians 6:4-5). Yet, he continued and persevered. So what was it that kept Paul pursuing after God’s plan for his life when he faced so many challenges? He plainly says it in his own words, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;” (Galatians 2:20). He had surrendered his life long ago and he knew what it meant to let Christ live through him. All the trials he faced paled in comparison to his desire to please God.
4)A Cause became their Calling: Before we clearly understand God’s will for our lives, we see a need on the earth that concerns us. Before Moses left Egypt, he saw the injustice that was being done to his people. Although it didn’t affect him because he grew up in royalty, it was a cause that caught his attention. He killed an Egyptian that was unjustly beating a Hebrew slave. This deliverance episode was a foreshadow of Moses’ destiny; for later, God called him to “deliver” the Israelites from the bondage of the Egyptians.
5)Gifting/Talents: Every person is giving giftings/talents to fulfill their purpose. These are instilled in us even at a young age. As we pursue God, they will develop and be used as stepping stones to our destiny. Joseph had the gift of interpreting dreams. When he was thrown into prison unjustly, it was this gifting that pathed the way for him to take hold of his destiny. He interpreted a dream for the king’s official and word got to the king. A need arose for his gifting, and he became not only a free man, but second in command of all Egypt. It was the interpretation of the king’s dream, by Joseph, that saved his own family from starving to death during the famine.
During the preparation of our destiny, patience must be our closest friend. David was a youth when he was anointed by Samuel to be king. He didn’t start ruling over “all” Israel until he was 30 years old. Joseph was 17 years old when he was sold to the Ishmaelites by his own brothers. He lost his freedom for 13 years before he was free. Moses was 40 when he delivered the Hebrew from the Egyptians, but not until he was 80 did God send him to deliver all of Israel from Pharaoh’s hand. We look at these circumstances and wonder why did God take so long? God never rushes preparation. We are told over and over to wait upon the Lord and we will be strengthened (Psalm 27:14). It is during the long process of preparation that God is equipping and strengthening us to fulfill His plan for our lives. We must understand that we cannot do what He has called us to do without his equipping us. He is our strength and our helper.
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