6 ways to discover God’s purpose in your life

Often times in life we find ourselves at a crossroads—of not being sure where we’re going, or how we’ll get there. In those uncertain, turbulent times we can wrestle with one of the most fundamental questions of our faith: What’s God’s purpose in my life?

As much as we’d want God to speak through a powerful revelation or epiphany, His ways can be subtle, like a gentle whisper, or a still small voice crying in the wilderness. Coinciding with our new Abide Guide, Finding Your Meaningful Pursuit, we explore six ways you can discover God’s purpose in your life.

1. Spend time with God. That may sound like a no-brainer, but the worries and bustle of life can drown out His voice. Shut off the TV, take a break from the unrelenting Facebook feed; set aside time out of your day to focus on Him. As Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Isaiah 26:3 echoes a similar sentiment, that “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”

If you’ve got little free time, start small, and weed out the clutter in your daily routine that saps precious time. If you commute to work, turn off the music and pray or listen to prayers while driving (or riding). Even five or ten minutes of prayer and reading the bible can make a difference--and you may find that He’s been trying to speak purpose into your life all along.

2. Know who you are. God has created each of us with a unique calling, for “God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as He chose.” We are all one in Christ according to 1 Corinthians 12, yet every person has a particular purpose within the body. How has He gifted you spiritually? What is your natural gifting? While God often stretches us beyond our strengths, and uses our weaknesses for His glory, His purpose in your life can be revealed in your innate passions and God-given talents.

3. Be faithful in the little things. There are times when life doesn’t move in the direction or pace we expect, whether it's a promotion that never came, a broken relationship, or financial hardships. While we may have bold, God-given visions to advance His kingdom, often times it starts with the smaller steps of obedience. As spoken by Jesus in Luke 16:10, “He who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much”—God knows what you can and can’t handle, and if you’re in transition it might be because He’s preparing and refining you for the greater calling that’s to come. The giant leaps and breakthroughs start with baby steps of following Him.
4. Wait on Him. As we live in a connected world that demands instant gratification, taking a step back to wait on God can seem alien, even unwise. But God’s sense of time is different than our own—with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day—and His answers may not immediately be forthcoming. It could take days, months, or even years. But the “Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

5. Be in community. As previously mentioned, we’re one in the body of Christ, and He hasn’t designed us to be spiritual Lone Rangers. Surround yourself with mature, loving believers that are passionate about Christ. Sometimes their insights can shed light on your purpose, and if not they can still support you in prayer and encouragement.

6. Listen to the Holy Spirit. When engaging in prayer, we can sometimes approach God as an eternal Santa Claus, where we unload our wish list on Him and hopes he signs off on it all if we’ve been good. But prayer isn’t a one-way street, and if you leave space for Him to speak He may surprise you with what He says.

Ask open-ended questions like, “what are You doing in my life,” or “where are You leading me?” As Jesus says in John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me.” Of course, any conviction you receive in prayer should always be consistent with Scriptures, and it’s important to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God” (1 John 4:1). The good news is that when you seek Him, you will always find Him.

To help you in Finding Your Meaningful pursuit, we've included the first of the six-step guide: Listen to prayer

Experience the rest of the series by going into the Guides tab in the Abide app.

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