The Purpose of everything determines its nature, design and features. Since the creator is a God of Purpose, He had your Purpose in mind when he designed your whole personality. What God has made you to be is intentional, meaningful and guaranteed to succeed. Thus, discovering who you are is an important key to unraveling You Purpose. Rick Warren says ‘You are who you are because you were made for a specific contribution on earth.’ God never wastes anything. Your gifts, talents, unique experiences and personalities are what makes you who you are. Understanding these factors will help you discover you unique Purpose.
What is S.H.A.P.E?
The term S.H.A.P.E was developed by Rick Warren in his bestselling book, Purpose Driven Life. The word S.H.A.P.E refers to five specific characteristics of who you are. It is an acronym that refers to the combination of your Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Aptitude, Personality, and Experiences.
This refers to a set of special abilities that God has given you to share his love and serve others. Spiritual gifts are God-given special abilities given to every believer at conversion by the Holy Spirit. Spiritual gifts are not any of the following (1) NATURAL TALENTS (2) CHRISTIAN RESPONSIBILITIES (3) FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT.
The Bible assures us that every believer has at least one gift (1 Cor. 7:7b). The best way to discover your gift is to serve. Eric Rees says, the more you serve God in ministry, the more clearly you will see your gifts. You must let God lead you to areas of service in your church or local body of believers. When you use your spiritual gifts, people are edified, God is honoured and you are fulfilled. If you aren’t involved in a local church, it is advisable that you find a bible believing church and join them.
There are five passages from the Scriptures from which the gifts can be identified: Romans 12: 6-8, 1 Cor. 12:8-10, 1 Cor 12:28, 1 Peter 4:9-10, Eph. 4:11. From these passages, 20 spiritual gifts can be identified. These are: administration, apostleship, discernment, encouragement, faith, giving, healing, helping (service), hospitality, interpretation, knowledge, leadership, mercy, miracles, pastoring, prophecy, teaching, tongues, and wisdom.
This refers to your Passions. You hearts reflect your dreams and desires. This is not the same as your hobbies. Your passion refers to what drives you, who you deeply care about, the needs you desire to meet, and the cause you deeply wish to conquer. To discover your passion, find the things that make you happy when you do them. Find the change you most desire to see in the world. What do you hate most about the world? You probably have the solution to that problem. Some issues that have been passions of people all over the world include; abortion, child abuse, women emancipation, spiritual apathy, divorce, leadership etc.
These refers to the things you are naturally good at. God has given each of us the ability to do some things well. Each of us has talents which are natural to us. God gave us those talents with our Purpose in view. Note that this abilities may also be acquired or learnt. Rick warren writes:” The abilities you do have are a strong indication of what God wants you to do with your life”. God does not waste abilities, he matches our calling with our capabilities! Below are a list of abilities. You must take your time to see what you are talented at. Ask your Christian friends too. Examples of such abilities include:analysing, coaching, consulting, cooking, designing, decorating, writing, speaking, repairing, planning, traveling etc.
The bible clearly shows that the people God used were different in personality. Rick Warren writes: “Like stained glass, our different personalities reflect God’s light in many colours and patterns.”Your personality refers to your character and temperament. You must understand your temperament combinations for they account for how you relate with others and respond to opportunities. Whether you are introverted or extroverted, outgoing or reserved, self-expressive or self-controlled, cooperative or competitive, solo or team player etc. are factors that are determined by your personality all of which are keys to your design and thus, your purpose.
You have been shaped by your experiences in life, most of which were beyond your control. God allowed them for his purpose of moulding you.” In determining your shape for serving God, you should examine at least six kinds of experiences from your past: • Family experiences: What did you learn growing up in your family? • Educational experiences: What were your favourite subjects in school? • Vocational experiences: What jobs have you been most effective in and enjoyed most? • Spiritual experiences: What have been your most meaningful times with God? • Ministry experiences: How have you served God in the past? • Painful experiences: What problems, hurts, thorns, and trials have you learned from?
God intentionally allows you to go through painful experiences to equip you for ministry to others. The Bible says, “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
Note that not all painful experiences are God-sent but all can be God-used.
Your achievements also form part of your experience. Your experience is a major source of your passions. The Bible says, “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
The first and principal way to discover Purpose is to discover God. There is no shortcut; for the purpose of a thing can only be revealed by the maker of that thing. Your S.H.A.P.E would help you discover your purpose only if you are connected to the God of Purpose!