3 Guidelines for Aligning With Your Purpose

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(HPP Series, Part 3)

Welcome to our third installment of the Human Performance Potential (HPP) Series. In Part 1 and 2 of this series, I laid out some of the foundational concepts that help us see our performance potential and why we must reach it:

  • We were originally created by God to be His appointed rulers and stewards of creation (Genesis 1:28, 2:15).
  • This potential was marred by sin, but then God Himself came in the person of Jesus to model what man was supposed to be like, reconcile our relationship with God, and restore our authority and assignment to represent Him on the earth.
  • The first step toward performing as He designed lies in knowing our identity. We are sons of God, and everything we do in life must flow from our relationship with the Father.

The main point of the last blog, “What’s Your Purpose?” was that if we try to seek our purpose without first knowing who we are, we will end up in an unhealthy place of striving. But once we do know our identity, we will be able to recognize our purpose in life and pursue it from the right place.

Jesus modeled a life of great purpose and mission lived from confidence in His identity and relationship with the Father. He had absolute clarity about His assignment while He was on the earth. He knew exactly what to say yes to and what to say no to. Every single thing He did was aligned with His purpose. I think everyone who is anchored in his identity as a son of the Father has the potential to live with that kind of clarity and decisiveness.

I recently read a book by Simon Sinek, Start With Why, that introduces a helpful concept for gaining clarity and alignment around our purpose. The book is mainly aimed at workplace and business leaders, so Sinek applies his concept to their world, but I think it can easily be applied to our individual lives as well. He explains that most major companies have clarity around WHAT they do and HOW they do it, but not the WHY behind those things. So, for example, a car manufacturer might know they build cars and how those cars are built, but don’t have a clear WHY for building cars—beyond making money, which is actually a result, not a purpose. (Start With Why, 39). He argues that the most successful companies are organized around and communicate a clear WHY. Being purpose-driven improves performance and fosters a loyal base of customers that believe in that purpose.

I think many of us work backwards and try to figure out the WHAT and HOW of our lives before the WHY. But starting with WHY is the better way to go.

On one level, our WHY, HOW, and WHAT will be absolutely unique to us as individuals. However, that specificity will be grounded in what’s true about all of us as sons of the Father. Here are some guidelines to help you as you think, pray, and write about your purpose:

WHY—Heaven on Earth 

Jesus didn’t just come to die so God could forgive our sins and let us in to heaven someday. He came to end the divorce between heaven and earth. He came to rebirth us with a new nature and relationship with the Father so that we could live a new life—a life that expresses the reality of the kingdom of God.

Our primary WHY as believers is to live from this kingdom and release its influence to those around us. We have a role to play in bringing heaven to earth. We are to partner with the Holy Spirit in reversing the effects of the kingdom of darkness—sin, disease, strife, division, bondage, etc.—and bringing the effects of restoration—hope, joy, healing, freedom, reconciliation, etc. Everything we do in life, whether we are raising a family, leading a team, creating a solution to a problem, playing sports, or just doing chores, should be aligned with this WHY of “on earth as it is in heaven.”

HOW—Set Our Minds and Hearts on Things Above 

Living from the kingdom of God and releasing its influence is something we do from the inside out. It comes down to allowing the Holy Spirit to help us unlearn our old sinful patterns of thinking, motivation, and behavior and replace them with the thinking, motivations, and behaviors of true sons. As our hearts and minds are overhauled and restored to operate like Jesus’ does, we begin to live a new life that manifests the kingdom.

Paul spells this inside-out training and transformation in Colossians:

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. [Col 3:1-10 NIV]

WHAT—Do the Works of Jesus 

In Acts, Paul sums up Jesus’ ministry brilliantly: “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and…he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him” (Acts 10:38). If we have faith to believe it, this is also our job description. Jesus clearly told His disciples (and us), “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12). The evidence that our thoughts, desires, and choices are beginning to line up with our identity and imitate Jesus is that we begin to step into the situations in our lives with our Father’s power and authority to do good and bring healing to people.

If there is one word that encapsulates this WHAT, it is love. In everything Jesus did, whether it was healing people’s bodies, casting out demons, raising the dead, feeding the multitudes, teaching truth, or even rebuking the religious leaders, He demonstrated the Father’s love for people. Such love is not simply having affectionate feelings or doing nice things. It is a passionate, sacrificial love that comes to rescue people and destroy everything that is hurting or holding them captive.

It is this love that Jesus commands us to have for one another:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35 NIV)

So, in short:

  • Our WHY is to bring the kingdom.
  • Our HOW is to unite and align our hearts and minds with His.
  • Our WHAT is to love like He loves.

The specifics of our individual purpose in life should align with these three things. With these guidelines, we can start to ask more focused questions about our personal mission.

References:

Simon Sinek, Start With Why (London, England: Portfolio, 2009)

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