Here are 5 ways God will reveal his purpose for your life.
1. God Will First Work on Your “Why” Before Revealing Your “What”
Other religions work from the outside in. But Christianity starts from the inside and works outward. Thus, whenever God does a work in your life, he will first do a work in your heart.
The same is true when it comes to him revealing his specific purpose for your life. Before he shows you “what” to do, he will first sanctify “why” you are doing what you are doing. Our hearts are idol factories. Apart from Christ, we corrupt everything. Even when something is good, we want it for bad reasons. Without God first doing a work in our hearts, we will want to serve him for our own glory and not for his.
And this word “glory” really is key. Before you can properly fulfill God’s personal will and purpose for your life, he will first teach you what the purpose of all of life is. The purpose of life is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. Everything we do is really meant to be all about God (1 Corinthians 10:31, Psalm 23:3, Isaiah 43:7).
So when God is helping you understand what his purpose for your life is, he will teach you to put his glory above everything else.
2. God Will Lead You to Be Christ-Centered for His Glory When Revealing His Purpose for You
Perhaps you feel point 1 was too vague. What does it really mean to glorify God? Ultimately, the best way to glorify God is to bear his image and reveal him accurately. This is why Jesus came. In sin, we no longer properly reflect the image of God. Through Jesus, we are transformed into his image so we can bring God glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). As Romans 8:28-29 teaches us:
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”
God’s purpose for all Christians is to be transformed into the image of Jesus so we can bring glory to God.
So often we want God to give us a clear and specific purpose that translates well to our desire for earthly titles. We want know if God’s purpose for us is to be a pastor, a worship leader, a doctor, a nurse, a husband, a wife, a mom, or a dad. But really, these are specific callings that will often change over time. But our ultimate purpose will always be the same, to glorify God through making Jesus known.
Thus, when God is revealing his personal purpose for your life, his specific callings and titles for you may change multiple times on this earth. But in each of those roles he will place you, his purpose for you will be the same – to be Christ-centered.
3. God Will Expose Your Spiritual Gifts Through Trial and Error When Revealing His Purpose for You
While God’s ultimate purpose for us all is to bring glory to him, like Peter and Paul, he gives each of us a different focus in life. Peter was called to primarily minister to the Jews. And Paul was called to primary minister to the Gentiles. And one of the ways God made this clear to them was through trial and error. For example, Acts 18:5-6 states:
When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, ‘Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.’”
When his ministry was not being fruitful with the Jews, Paul took this as guidance that God wanted him elsewhere. This is what Jesus instructed when he sent out his disciples. He told them that when one place did not receive them, they should shake the dust off their feet and seek to serve those who did want their help (Matthew 10:14).
In other words, God will reveal his individual ministry purpose and callings on your life through trial and error. While sometimes God will lead us to go to hard ground that is not fruitful, usually he has you move to where you are able to produce the most fruit.
4. God Will Use Other People to Confirm His Purpose for You
There are basically two ways God will use other people to help confirm his purposes for you in life. First, other people will see your gifts and validate God’s calling. This is what Paul talked about in Galatians 2:7-10. Just as Peter’s fruit among the Jews was evident to all, so was Paul’s fruit evident to all among the Gentiles.
The second way God will use other people to help reveal his purposes for you is through giving you gifts that help them with their needs. It’s fine to have passions and interests in life that don’t benefit other people (1 Peter 4:10-11). But when God gives you a spiritual gift, this gift is meant to be used to serve others. If you think you have a gift but no one ever asks you to help in that way, it’s possible this is not really your gift. Other people will see your gifting and ask for your help.
As Ephesians 4:11-12 states, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ . . .”
5. God Will Give You Endurance to Follow His Purpose for You
Again, our main purpose is always the same for all of us – to glorify God. But God’s individual purposes and callings on our lives will be unique and can change at times in life. One way God will show you when it’s time to move on is when your endurance for that calling leaves you. When God calls you to serve in a certain area, he will equip you with the endurance to not give up when times get hard.
While we can lose endurance for our individual callings and purposes, thus needing to move on, God will ultimately never let our endurance run out for his true and main purpose for us. The perseverance of the saints is one of God’s primary signs in our life of true salvation. As Jude 1:24-25 states:
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”
Here’s a related article called Two Questions to Reveal Your Calling.