Believe your life has purpose: Your church services, your congregations, and even your calling have been tested in the past year. You’ve added online services, learned the tips and tricks of the webinar world, and dug deep into your creative and spiritual consciousness to touch your congregants’ lives and hearts at a distance. In person, you changed your music to avoid spreading disease through singing and you’ve required masking and social distancing.
You’ve longed to be at the bedsides of those dying of Covid, unable to be with them in their final moments and say goodbye. And you’ve comforted families at their loved ones’ funerals.
In the midst of the pain is the emotional suffering of those targeted with racism and injustice that is encouraged by those we called leaders. What we hoped to be a way of the past rose with a full vengeance, leaving beloved people dead and a country laid in ruins.
Your people need your care and continue to need your teaching. This is your moment as people look to their faith for comfort, clarity, and calls to action.
You can give them the deep connection they are longing for by empowering them to believe like Jesus. That’s the mark of an apostle.
Jesus Believed in His Purpose
And Jesus transferred that purpose to you. Your job is to embrace the belief that he had and share it with others. So how do you believe like Jesus and how does that lead to action? Walk with me through this process to deepen your own faith, and that of the people you lead.
Soulful Steps: Jesus’ Four-Part Process
Jesus’ life reveals a four-part process of identifying purpose in the Gospels. Take for example this story of healing in Luke 4:40-44.
At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah. At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.”
In this story, you can see the four-part process, and how it connects you with Jesus and purpose.
Part One—Doing What You Love: What deeply engages you, comes easily, is natural for you and serves the greater good? That’s (at least one of) your purpose(s). In this story, Jesus was laying hands on people who were sick and ailing—physically and spiritually. He healed them and cast out demons that were tormenting them.
Part Two—Challenges Arise: Something contrary to your purpose happens. Identify what pulls you off course, or causes you to settle for a lesser good. In Jesus’ life, the people he had healed came back to beg him to stay with them. Understandably, they didn’t want him to go.
Part Three—Clarity Emerges: Contrary or challenging conditions make a way for you to get clear on your purpose. In this Gospel story, Jesus answers the people, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” In other words—No can do. I have other places to go and people to heal.
Part Four—Clarity Leads to Action: This chain of events makes the way clear for you to take action. We see it in Jesus’ life: “He kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.”
Embrace the Belief that Your Life Has Purpose
To embrace the belief that your life has purpose, personalize the process by writing out these steps:
First, write out the things that come naturally and easily to you, and that serve a greater good.
Second, write out situations that have arisen that are contrary to the things you noted in step one.
Third, note what you have found yourself saying or thinking that point you back to your purpose.
Fourth, write what actions you have taken or now can take that are aligned with your life’s purpose.
These steps can help you believe your life has a purpose.
At the same time, be free to say NO! when something threatens to derail you from living out your life’s purpose.
But don’t worry if you are not crystal clear on your purpose. I remember when I was agonizing over my call. Everyone else seemed to know what they were doing, but I didn’t. One day it occurred to me that my gifts were my path. God would not have called me to a path that I wasn’t prepared for in some way. Just as Jesus’ purpose was revealed in his gifts, your purpose will be too.
If all else fails, simply act as though you do have purpose. And trust that what you are currently involved in reveals some aspect of your purposeful life.
Join me on my next free session of “How to Create a Culture of Renewal.” After all, “All things work together for the good for those who love the Lord and are called according to God’s purpose.”