PurposeDiscovery

ABOUT THE MANY CATEGORIES OF PURPOSE

Recently, a friend asked a question in a Whatsapp group I belong to about Primary and Secondary purposes. Apparently, someone had taught, mentioned or implied that such categories of purpose exist. I responded that while I was not familiar with such categorization, I am aware of another categorization (for want of a better word) of purpose into General and specific purposes.

What I want to do in this piece is to share with you my thoughts on this subject. I have met too many people who have become confused about this issue and I think it is time I provided some clarity for such people.

First of all, the idea of categorization of purpose stems from another question that often bothers people about purpose. I have been asked a number of times if a person can have more than one purpose. From my interactions with people who ask this question, I have seen that they are generally unclear about this because from their analysis of their gifts and passions, they have realized that they are capable of achieving more than one thing with their lives. This is why purpose discovery is beyond the analysis of your gifts, talents, passions and experiences. Purpose discovery must begin and end with God. He is our Creator. He is the One who can tell in specific terms why He has put each of us here. Our gifts, talents, passions and experiences can only be pointers, they are not enough to ground our discovery without a revelation from God as to why He put us here.

My answer to the question of whether a person can have more than one purpose has always been that I believe God had one specific thing in mind when He created you and I think this is consistent with Scriptures. I have not seen anyone in scripture who had two purposes. It may require a depth of clarity to see the unity in their purposes, but I encourage you to take your time to study. You will find that men in scriptures were not jumping from one purpose to another neither were they running with different purposes. God is not the author of confusion.

It may be helpful to understand that your purpose is like a tree. Its root may extend to several places, it may have many branches, yet it is still one tree. Again, understanding how the different discoveries you have made about your life unify into one may require a depth of clarity but it is not out of your reach. I have personally walked several people through the process. It is amazing when you realize how all the pieces fit perfectly into one thing your whole life can be about.

Let me close by sharing some thoughts about the three dimensions of your purpose. I prefer to use the word “dimensions” rather than “categories” because I find it more apt in this context. First, there is the ULTIMATE purpose of every man which is about God’s dominion mandate to mankind i.e. to extend the influence of God’s Kingdom to every part of the Earth. Second, there is the GENERAL purpose of every believer (I hope you notice the specificity) which is to glorify God through worship, service, missions, discipleship and fellowship with other believers. Lastly, there is God’s SPECIFIC purpose for your life which is your unique way of fulfilling the Ultimate and General purposes by expressing your unique gifts, talents, personality, experiences and passions.

See, there is nothing complicated about why God has put you here. I recommend that you read this piece about the Kingdom to understand the Ultimate dimension of your Purpose and then read Rick Warren’s classic, Purpose Driven Life to understand its General dimension. My whole life work is to help you discover your purpose in its specific dimension. I believe I have shared a lot of actionable content to assist you in this journey and I certainly will do more.

Today and always, my prayer for you is that God’s light will shine on your path to give you clarity and precision about why you are here.

How have you found this helpful? Blessed? Please let me know in the comment section.

You matter to me always.

I call you blessed.

PurposeDiscovery

Redefining Purpose

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Last year, Christine attended a seminar in school in which the speakers conveyed the idea that a person who does not know his purpose is like a walking corpse. She then began to give serious thoughts to the issue of her purpose. She read several books, attended virtual and live conferences all of which promised to help her uncover her life assignment and live life to the fullest.

 Sadly, she soon became confused about this whole purpose thing because she could not find a generally accepted path to purpose discovery. One of the books she read stated that she only needed to identify her passion and begin to pursue it. The problem however, was that Christine could readily identify at least three things she was very passionate about. Another book she read said the key to unlocking her purpose was identifying her gift. The gift of a man makes room for him, the book emphasized. Again, Christine is a tremendously gifted individual so you can imagine her frustration when she could not just decipher her purpose based on her gifting.

 Then, she attended a conference in which the speaker spoke a lot about how her needs were too small to be the foremost preoccupation of her existence. The speaker identified some of the plenty problems of humanity that are screaming for solutions. But this was not very helpful either since Christine could readily identify two major issues that were serious problems in her environment. At this point, she began to ask whether there is really one specific purpose for each person. Can the philosophers who say human life has no purpose or significance, so each of us must create or derive meaning for our lives wherever and however we can find it be actually right?

 In the course of my work, I have met several people like Christine who have become confused because of the many truths available about purpose. From her story, we can identify three ways people usually define purpose: passion, gifts and needs. But like it is the case for Christine, any of these approaches to purpose is not a complete way to look at purpose. It would have been a lot easier if Christine could identify a need she was passionate about and which she finds she has been uniquely gifted to meet. But she could not. Frankly, most people can’t.

So, what I want to do very briefly is to redefine purpose. I am convinced that most people are yet to find their purpose because they really don’t know what they are looking for. Some others have become frustrated at what they thought they found as their purpose as they soon became dispassionate about the good cause they called purpose.

Simply put, purpose is the original intention of a creator for the creation. It is the idea that was conceived in the mind of a manufacturer that necessitated the creation of the product. Thus, while understanding your passions, gifts and the problems around are great steps in the direction of knowing your purpose, you will miss the real thing if you don’t first get connected to the Creator. This is the whole idea behind the manuals that come with products. The manufacturer is trying to communicate the identity, purpose, potential of the product to its user in order to avoid abuse or misuse.

Your passion can certainly be a pointer to your purpose, but it is not the same as your purpose. Your purpose is also beyond your gifts. In fact, I have met a couple of people whose purpose at first did not seem to give expression to any of their readily identifiable gifts. Your purpose is beyond meeting needs. Your purpose is the reason behind your existence. It is not your decision. It is your discovery.

God has a work he has been doing since the foundation of the world. He is colonizing the earth to make it look like Heaven first by reconciling all men to Himself by His grace through faith in the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ. You have a role in this global plan. This is your purpose and to find it you only need to be reconciled to Him and then let Him show you through His Manual why He put you here. It’s as simple as that.

Are you like Christine, confused and frustrated? Develop your relationship with God first and He’ll show you why you were made. Shalom!

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Has this post blessed you? Do you have any questions about this definition of purpose? What are your thoughts about the story of Christine? Join the conversation, leave a comment!

JustPurpose

Holy Week Reflections

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Here in Yenagoa, not much has been happening with respect to Easter. It was a friend who reminded me that last Sunday was Palm Sunday ushering us into the week called the Holy Week.

During Christmas, we celebrate the love of the Father for giving us the Son and during Easter, we celebrate the grace of the Son who was willing to die for us when we did not even deserve it.

If we think about it, we’ll realize why purpose is about God and His kingdom. It has been Him who has continued to work for man’s redemption and now He works in us through the Holy Spirit who helps us become all that we can be based on the finished works of Jesus.

The purposeful life, sacrificial death and glorious resurrection of Jesus is the central focus of the Easter season. So, this Holy Week, I will like to share my thoughts on some lessons we can glean from the Easter story about finding, pursuing and fulfilling purpose.

1. Doing Purpose has a price.

Jesus was a man born to die. We may think it should have been easy for him since He was as much God as He was human. But when we read of His experience in the Garden of Gethsemane, we see that His death was a tradeoff of His will for that of the Father. On the cross, Jesus suffered a momentary separation from his Father. It was the price He had to pay to fulfill His purpose.

2. Doing Purpose is putting others first.

Jesus lived the whole of his life putting others first. He would go out of his way to eat with outcasts and reach out to the brokenhearted. On one occasion, He wept and even on the cross, Jesus still put others first as He asked that God forgive His persecutors for their ignorance. His death was not for His own redemption. It was for humankind’s.

3. Doing Purpose is passing it on.

Jesus’ death and resurrection was about empowering mankind to establish the Kingdom on earth. From the beginning of His ministry, Christ focused on empowering his followers to live like Him and carry on His vision after His ascension. Through his sacrifice and the glory He gained, we all share his baton and have the hope to share in His glory in eternity.

John Maxwell wrote, “if you desire to lead, and you hope to find and fulfill the purpose for which God created you, then, you must have something to give.” Jesus gave up His glory and sacrificed His life to fulfill purpose. What are you giving up to fulfill your purpose? Are you living solely for yourself or using your gifts to sow seeds that benefit others? What will become of your vision when you are gone? Are you paying attention, to empowering others? Do the potentials of others thrive around you?

Happy Easter!