I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man’s foundation. … For this reason I have often been prevented from coming to you.
–Romans 15:20, 22
God has not only given us the general purpose to be His representatives to point people to Himself, but He has also given each of us a specific purpose, a way you and I are individually going to fulfill that calling. In Romans 15, Paul understood that God gave him a specific way to fulfill his ministry of pointing people to God, and that was to be a witness to the Gentiles, the non-Jews. On the road to Damascus, Jesus appeared to Paul and told him that His purpose for Paul was to be a light to the Gentiles, to take the gospel where it had never been. And that specific purpose gave Paul direction in his life.
The secret for you to have an effective life is to have a clear understanding of the specific purpose for which God has called you. You may say, “Well, no light has appeared to me on the road to Damascus. God has not shouted out from Heaven and told me my specific purpose. I know I am to be a witness for God, but exactly how am I to do that with my life? How do I know what my specific purpose is?”
My friend Bobb Biehl has suggested some questions you can ask and answer that will help you discover God’s specific purpose for your life:
- What needs that I see in the world are of concern me?
- What age group or type of people naturally interests me?
- What are the major needs among my neighbors, my friends, and my family?
- What abilities do I have that other people tend to notice and affirm?
- As I review my life, what accomplishments give me the greatest satisfaction?
In Romans 15:20-22, Paul told the Christians in Rome that he would have come to them, but it did not fit his purpose of going where the gospel had never been preached. “I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man’s foundation.” Paul was saying, “The reason I haven’t come is that it did not fit God’s purpose for my life. My purpose is to go where the gospel has never been.” That is one of the values of knowing your purpose in life. It helps you to know what to say yes to and what to say no to.
There are many things you can invest your time and money in. You need to know your clear purpose from God so you can use your resources effectively. Paul said in Ephesians 5:15-16, “Be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time.”
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “A Life Well Spent” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
Questions adapted from Bobb Biehl, “Masterplan Your Life In One Day” (Laguna Niguel, CA: Masterplanning Group International, 1985), 6.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.