“All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:16 NIV)
It is my belief that God has a unique purpose and calling for everyone whom He creates. Both the Old and New Testament repeatedly refer to the fact that God in a very real sense calls us to be His from our mother’s womb. Psalm 139 written by King David and quoted above is one of the most poignant portions of scripture in describing God’s hand upon our lives even before our birth. It is to this truth that Apostle Paul is referring when he pens a thousand years later “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
Discovering this sense of divine purpose can have a dramatic and motivating effect upon a person’s life. Jeremiah’s entire life was shaped by the realization that God’s plan for him was set in motion while he was yet in his mother’s womb. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5 NIV) Isaiah had a similar experience being called by God even before his birth to an amazing prophetic ministry. (Isaiah 49:1) And even Paul discloses in one of his epistles that “God set me apart from birth and called me by his grace.” (Galatians 1:15 NIV) That understanding gives us a sense of what propelled him in his life of unceasing travel and writing for the cause of the furtherance of the Gospel.
Have you come to recognize God’s purposeful involvement in your life? Have you begun to realize His unique calling upon you? Do not be too quick to dismiss the likes of Jeremiah and Paul as people with whom you cannot identify. Albeit, few callings are as lofty as theirs, but nonetheless each of us is similar to them in that we are meant to know God’s purpose for our lives.
One way that is helpful in discovering divine purpose is to take some time to consider and recount God’s hand upon your life, from birth to the present. Enlist God’s help in identifying how your days have been preordained. Simply ask Him to reveal to you how His plan for you was unfolding in your life even before your knew it or had any cognizant part in making it happen. The more you see His hand the greater your awareness will be of His calling and purpose.
1. Were there any unusual circumstances surrounding your birth or early childhood that might reveal God had a hand in making sure you took up residence on the planet? My parents related to me two things that in retrospect speak volumes about God’s intentions for my life to serve Him. For one, my mother was unable to conceive and my birth seven years into my parent’s marriage was their only pregnancy. Their desire for more children resulted eventually in the adoption of my sister. The other thing was that as a newborn, I barely survived because of an inability to digest milk. It was scary for my parents, but repeated doctor’s visits and hospitalization finally resolved it. God has used both of these circumstances to convince and remind me over the years that He has a plan for me. What about you?
2. Have you had any near fatal accidents or life threatening sicknesses or diseases? Anytime God allows our survival and shepherds us through perilous times is a clear indication He has more for us to do for Him. I had a friend who, years ago missed an airline flight that eventually crashed. It changed his life and now nearly 40 years later he is still serving the Lord fervently.
As I look back over my life, I can recount numerous times when God has spared me from serious harm and death. Just prior to my conversion God used several auto accidents and a near fatal bike accident to convince me of His gracious, purposeful hand upon my life.
Where do you see Him at work in your life? What does that mean to you in terms of recognizing and responding to His beckoning call?
God’s grace in protecting and preserving our lives should motivate us like nothing else to dedicate our lives to serving Him.
3. Finally, what people has God brought into your life as guiding lights to point you to Him and His service? It is always an uplifting exercise to make a list of those whom God has used to shape your life for Him. Spiritual mothers and fathers in the faith, mentors and counselors, godly examples and witnesses of His faithfulness all have lasting impact upon the spiritual formation and direction in our lives.
Who are the people in your spiritual hall of fame? My sister is at the top of mine. She came to faith before me, was a dramatic example of a changed life and was persistent in inviting my wife and me to her Bible study. God used her influence to get me to the place where I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior. That night Jesus released His plans for me like the uncorking a champagne bottle. His purpose and calling came bubbling out of me by the Spirit and changed the trajectory of my life from architecture into ministry.
How has God used people in your life to release calling and purpose?
As you press into Him, may the Lord grant you the grace “to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of [you].” (Philippians 3:12 NIV)
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