Every one of us has internally questioned the reason(s) we exist, why we are here, or what we were uniquely created for. Many people seek the advice of friends and family in their search for answers. We use assessment tools like Meyers Briggs or DiSC to tell us things about ourselves that we cannot see for ourselves. Some of us have even sought the advice of a paid professional, such as a life coach, to help us find the solution. It is a universally confounding issue for humankind regardless of your station in life, culture, beliefs, affiliations, or worldview.
Countless authors have written self-help books that answer the question of purpose, either directly or indirectly. It will likely be written about countless more times in our own lifetime. Even I have written a text that offers a strategy for creating a better quality of life that includes finding and then walking boldly in one’s purpose. My coauthors and I tied the guidance offered in the book to one’s personal connections with the most important people in their life, but the book only alluded to the most significant relationship you could hope to have.
The term “Christian” identifies our connection to God the Father through our belief in the death and resurrection of His son, Jesus Christ. It is through that relationship that we receive all things in this world and in the next. Prior to Christ, believers were made to rely on the prophets to hear from the Spirit of God. But under the New Testament, we actually have direct access to the Spirit, which dwells in us!
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Romans8:14)
What often keeps us from hearing from God is our expectation that our directions have to come from the pulpit by the preached word of our modern-day prophets. If it doesn’t come true in a sermon, then we pray for God to reveal it in some spectacular fashion–opening a door that we could not have possibly opened for ourselves, giving us favor in places where our credentials or character make us unqualified, or cracking the sky open and revealing His will to us in a vivid vision of what’s to come.
Our heavenly Father can and certainly does operate in such ways, but we miss out on what God has in store for us when we are not tuned into that still, small voice. God only speaks to us in this manner when we have made the effort to tune out the distractions of this world. Not only visible, audible, and tangible disruptions but also the noise that exists primarily in our heads. It is the clutter and the commotion that God waits for you to turn off of your own free will. The voice of the Holy Spirit is small, but when you shut out the world and turn towards Him the small voice speaks in a clear and authoritative manner. So much so, that you will believe there is someone else in the room. I had just such an experience that led me on the journey to becoming a relationship expert with the credentials to back up my ministerial calling. On at least two separate occasions, I heard the voice of God speaking to me as if He was standing over my shoulder.
The first was in response to me directing these thoughts to him: “God, I’m tired of chasing after what I want. I know it’s good, but I know it’s not for me because You are keeping it from me. From now on, I will do what You want-even if I don’t like it.” His first words to me were “Stop trying to make money. Do as I tell you, and eventually, money will come.” It scared me to death at first. How was I supposed to share this with my wife? But knowing that I could not have come up with this idea on my own, and knowing that I heard Him after surrendering to him reassured me that it could only come from Him and that I simply needed to move forward and my success was guaranteed.
Deciding to obtain my master’s degree was the second moment of obvious Godly revelation. Since graduating from college in 1995, I have had a reoccurring nightmare that I needed to return for a semester to finish my degree. I had this dream annually(at least)and once it even pushed me all the way back to high school. Ugh! Getting a graduate degree was something Iwasopenlyopposed to. Once again, God gave me an assignment that I knew I could not have dreamed up for myself. This time I was not afraid. I was however slightly disappointed.“Really?”, I thought. “Ok, if YOU say so”. As I write this, I have come to the realization that Ihaven’thad that nightmare for about 3 years now.
Allow me to thread the needle and explain how this can happen for you too. Understand that your relationship with God is your own. Though your pastor is indeed a shepherd, you have direct access to the Spirit and your pastor expects you to come to a place where you respond to the voice of Jesus by way of the Holy Spirit all by yourself. I’ve already given you two of the three steps:
- Shut the world off
Those mean nothing without this:
- Study Scripture daily.
Please understand that I don’t mean to say that theme-based reading plans in your bible app, daily bread style eNewsletters, and sermons replayed on the radio are not useful or do not bless you. Of course, they do. I am, however, saying that those are meant to be the butter on your bread. Jesus tells us that His sheep know his voice and respond to it. If you believe that you are having trouble discerning His will for your life when it comes to finding your purpose, then you have to question how well you know the voice of the Lord. Deuteronomy teaches us that “. . .man does not live by bread alone, but by EVERY word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3). Read your Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth and you will find comfort in knowing the voice and the promises of the Lord for yourself.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” (John10:27-28)