Welcome to the third and final part of this series. If this is your first time on Coach's Corner, I hope you will go back and read the previous two posts. In fact I hope you go to the beginning of the blog and read all the posts. (Not at one sitting of course J) In the last two posts, we have discussed the first two steps in fulfilling your purpose in life, which is to do the good works that God has prepared in advance for you to do. Sorry, if you don't remember what they are you have to go back and look them up. JJ So, on to step three.
Step three in fulfilling your purpose has to do with finding your spiritual gift or gifts and operating within them. Again, so many people seem to struggle with this and it should not be so. I think that part of the reason for this is that they neglect the previous step and don't receive the baptism of the Spirit. You can't operate properly in your spiritual gift, without receiving the power of the Spirit to do it. Now, since you can get many books and messages about the individual gifts I am not going to cover them in this post but I think it is important to understand that to do the works that God has prepared for you, you must operate in the gifts He has given you. Paul talks about these spiritual gifts in two different sections of scripture. The first section is found in 1Cor 12:4-11 and 27-30. Paul gives another list of spiritual gifts in Ro 12:6-8. Some people like to break these down into the categories of "natural or "supernatural" gifts. Either way you see them, they are given to you by God's grace (Ro 12:6).
Many times people are frustrated and get burned out in the ministry that they are doing and it's usually because it is not what God has called them to do. How do you know which gift or gifts you have been given? Well, One extremely important question to ask is, what do you do in service to the body that brings you JOY? When you are operating within your spiritual gifts, there is such joy in doing the task. You just feel so blessed when you do it.
Let me illustrate: maybe when someone was in need, you brought them a meal. If, when you did that, it brought you such joy that you couldn't wait to do it again; you may have the gift of helps. If, when doing it, you complained about the time and effort it took and then they didn't even say thank you and you thought how rude, that is probably not your gift.(ok, hopefully your attitude wasn't that bad. If it was, you need to repentJ, but you get the idea.)
Our spiritual gifts should operate in agape love, done without expectation of anything in return. The blessing comes in just doing it, not receiving any other reward. You also needn't worry about how "successful" it is. That's up to the Lord. If you know that you are following the leading of the Spirit, He will bring the results He desires to bring.
Now, most often these gifts operate in a very natural way and they don't have to be forced. For example, one of my gifts is the gift of exhortation. That is an important one to have when you are a teacher. It involves encouraging, consoling, imploring. For me, this happens in a very natural way. I often am doing that without even thinking about it. I may have a conversation with someone and later on they will say thanks for the encouraging words and I don't even remember what I said. So, my only response has to be, "Praise the Lord" because it came from Him. I love that! Remember, when we operate in and by the power of the Spirit, God gets the glory, not us.
Now, this leads me into the 4th step in fulfilling your purpose by doing the good works that God has prepared in advance for you. Did I mention that before, the good works that God has prepared in advance for you? Good. The 4th step is humbling yourself before the Lord and realizing it's not you that's doing the good works, it's Him working through you. You see, it's human nature to seek after our own glory. Pride is a mighty powerful force. Pride and seeking glory is what led Lucifer to become Satan. He still thinks that He will be like the Most High and be worshipped as God.(Is 14:14) God makes it very clear that He will not share His glory with others but He also makes it clear that He loves the humble.
Luke 1:52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
1 Peter 5:5 "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
The apostles knew this. Their biggest fear was when God used them to do miracles that people would want to worship them instead of God. In Acts 14 the Lord used Paul to heal a lame man. When the people thought that he and Barnabas must be gods to worship, they tore their clothes (a sign of distress or anguish). Listen to what Paul says about this in Acts 14:15 "Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them.
Now, I will confess to you that for me, this is the hardest step. When people praise you for something that God did through you, it is hard not to get puffed up and start thinking that you are really something. I have some news for you. If you really want God to stop using you, just start taking the glory for yourself. God has a way of quickly showing us that it's not because we are so great, that He uses us. He honors humility. Now, He can humble us or we can humble ourselves. The latter way is usually much less painful. That's why my new favorite verse is Gal 6:3 "If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself."
1 Peter 5:6 says "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time." This is such a beautiful verse. We don't need to build ourselves up but just let the Lord work and He will lift us up.
The older I get (ok, stop laughing) and the longer I serve the Lord, the more I understand this concept.
I really can do nothing of eternal
value on my own, but it is awesome to watch what God can do. There is nothing that brings more joy than being used by God and watching Him receive the glory!
GAME PLAN: Review the four steps to fulfilling your purpose on this earth.
Receive Christ and be born again
Receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit
Find and operate within your spiritual gifts
Humble yourself before God
I pray that you can follow these steps and thus accomplish the good works that God has prepared in advance for you to do!
God bless you as you seek to fulfill YOUR purpose in this life,