Your God-given purpose

We can start each day by asking, What’s my God-given purpose at this moment?

If you long to find real meaning or purpose in your life, you’re in good company. Many biblical characters needed to find or regain direction and purpose. As they prayed, they not only found God to be a source of comfort but also learned what God really is—all-good, omnipotent Principle, infinite Love.

Paul’s second letter to the young church at Corinth reveals deep spiritual truths of God’s infinite, purposeful care for His children. Encouraging them—and us—to press forward in our Christian journey, Paul writes, “It is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. . . . We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (II Corinthians 4:6, 8, 9, New Revised Standard Version).

That may seem a depressing list, but Paul reassures readers that these suggestions of confusion and doubt are not the last word when he continues, “Because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. . . . So we do not lose heart” (verses 14, 16, NRSV). The fact is, God is light and expresses His divine purpose in each of us every moment, and we each have a unique role in God’s creation.

The ministering Christ never leaves us behind but provides for purpose and direction to take root in our lives.

The original Greek words Paul uses for crushed, despair, and forsaken include the sense of being hemmed in, utterly at a loss, and left behind or deserted (Geoffrey W. Bromiley, ed., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Abridged in One Volume). But Paul is reminding us that no matter how unsure we may feel, we are not hemmed in or utterly at a loss about how to move forward. The light of Christ, Truth, shining in our consciousness, rescues and saves. This ministering Christ never leaves us behind but provides for purpose and direction to take root in our lives. Not so that we can just cope with difficulties, but so that we can “overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21, NRSV) and demonstrate harmony and meaning in our lives.

God’s Christ is always revealing reality as spiritual, harmonious, and purposeful. And this divine influence nudges us toward full recognition of already-present good. Reflecting the balanced calm of divine Mind, God, we express hopeful poise. As Paul puts it, “We do not lose heart.”

Another New Testament writer speaks of God as having “saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace” (II Timothy 1:9, NRSV). How reassuring that we each have a unique and specific purpose in life that we don’t have to work out alone. It’s God-planned, God-designed, and God-given, unfolded through His grace. God’s will for us always opens up new avenues of good. 

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, wrote in her main work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “Spirit, God, gathers unformed thoughts into their proper channels, and unfolds these thoughts, even as He opens the petals of a holy purpose in order that the purpose may appear” (p. 506).

Accepting this promise, we can start each day by asking, What’s my God-given purpose at this moment? Our answer might start modestly: I’m expressing divine Life by being myself. Recognizing divine Life’s activity leads to a deeper, richer experience than what comes from feeling that life is about just existing or getting by. Each daily task, wherever we are, becomes an opportunity to express God’s qualities, such as integrity, balance, calm, and joy. As Eddy wrote to a branch Church of Christ, Scientist, “Thus may each member of this church rise above the oft-repeated inquiry, What am I? to the scientific response: I am able to impart truth, health, and happiness, and this is my rock of salvation and my reason for existing” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 165).

Each of us is needed as a precisely individual reflection of God, completing His allness.

The developing understanding of our unique place in God’s universe isn’t selfish, then, but embraces our world. Realizing we have a special role to play, we find that no one can usurp, overrule, or interrupt this purposeful development. Each of us is needed as a precisely individual reflection of God, essential to His allness. We cannot be deprived of our usefulness as an indispensable part of God’s complete creation. Nor can we deprive another. Because our role is God-defined and -designed, the fulfillment of our purpose blesses all.

No matter how challenging we may find it to realize our purpose, we can trust God to develop and guide our every step. We may find ourselves letting go of some relationships and developing others, or leaving the job we thought was our destiny only to discover a more meaningful calling. 

When I left university with a history degree, I had no idea what avenue my working life would take or even how to start. But when I prayed for my spiritually based purpose to become clear, I found satisfying employment opportunities opening up in very different career paths that led to real and satisfying progress in being of benefit to others.

Humbly desiring to do God’s will and expecting the attainment of our purpose fills our hearts with hope—not hope based on human wishes but on an acknowledgment that God fulfills His promises. How unproductive it would be if God were to supply us with a purpose but not the ability to carry it out. In fact, the opposite is true. An understanding of how to carry out our purpose is what we’ve been God-designed to know. And when our heart unselfishly yearns for this, we cannot fail to be led forward in the direction in which we need to go.

Jesus, understanding that God sustains our continuing purpose, promised, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). This promise includes our divine purpose and our complete ability to fulfill it. So, we can trust that every step of the way our divine Parent not only opens up the opportunities for us to live purposefully but also underpins that purpose and nurtures its fulfillment in our experience.

January 30, 2023
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