Monday, October 19, 2009

Daily Digest #363

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. —Matthew 5:16

I would like to share an article from the Purpose Driven Connection (excerpts from S.H.A.P.E.: Finding and Fulfilling Your Unique Purpose for Life, written by Eric Rees).

God Designed You to Make a Difference

God doesn’t create anything without value. He is the ultimate craftsman. And he designed you specifically to fulfill a unique role in his ultimate plan to establish his kingdom on earth. Even though each of us has made mistakes that make it more difficult for him to perfect, we still are a special work of the Creator’s hands. He even takes time to know about our day-to-day lives. In fact, he is smiling right now, rejoicing as you seek to discover the masterpiece you are to him.

The Bible says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT).

This verse helps us understand that if we want to discover our mission or purpose in life, we first need to look at the masterpiece God has made us to be. While self-help books tell you to look within, I’m saying the key to living the life you were meant to live is to look to God and ask him to help you discover your uniqueness. Once you discover who you are, then you can start figuring out what God has planned for you, the specific way he designed you to make a difference in the world for him.

Another translation of Ephesians 2:10 uses the word workmanship to describe our uniqueness. It’s from the Greek word poiema, which literally means “work of art,” and is the root of our English word poem. You are a work of God – and nothing but the highest and best comes from his hand. Like the artist who takes scrap metal and turns it into an amazing sculpture, God takes our lives and fashions them into a masterpiece.

Your Unique Ministry

God created you as a unique masterpiece because he has a specific purpose for your life – a specific and unique “contribution” that only you can make.

What does that mean? Your contribution is the unique service God created you to make, a ministry only you can perform. It is the specific mission God has given you to fulfill for him on earth. It is what I like to call your unique Kingdom Service.

I define Kingdom Service as “your specific contribution to the body of Christ, within your generation, that causes you to totally depend on God and authentically display his love toward others.” Your Kingdom Service is way more than a career. It is a special commissioning from God to make a significant difference on this earth.

I have discovered that most people, myself included, tend to define their contribution in life by one of three things: trends, what others tell them, or by truth. When we let trends guide our life, we simply are living to fit into the current styles of the world. When we let others tell us what we should be doing, we are living to please them and win their approval. However, when we let God’s truth define our Kingdom Service, submitting to his authority and desiring to please only him, we are able to lead a life of lasting significance, fulfillment, and Kingdom impact.

With this encouragement, challenge yourself to invest in God’s kingdom in a way that will last long after you are gone. Be a contributor, not a consumer. For some people, that means trading in a career for a full-time ministry. For most of us, however, finding and fulfilling our Kingdom Service means discovering how God wants us to minister in the paths and relationships of the daily lives he has given us. For all of us, it means determining that we will let God use us to impact eternity and leave a heavenly legacy on earth.

Your Kingdom Service is expressed through the unique S.H.A.P.E. God gave you. The S.H.A.P.E. concept was developed by Rick Warren, who writes, “Whenever God gives us an assignment, he always equips us with what we need to accomplish it. This custom combination of capabilities is called your S.H.A.P.E.”

Your S.H.A.P.E. points to five specific characteristics:

Spiritual gifts
A set of special abilities that God has given you to share his love and serve others.

The special passions God has given you so that you can glorify him on earth.

The set of talents that God gave you when you were born, which he also wants you to use to make an impact for him.

The special way God wired you to navigate life and fulfill your unique Kingdom Purpose.

Those parts of your past, both positive and painful, which God intends to use in great ways.

Rick continues: When God created animals, he gave each of them a specific area of expertise. Some animals run, some hop, some swim, some burrow, and some fly. Each animal has a particular role to play based on the way they were shaped by God. The same is true with humans. Each of us was uniquely designed, or shaped, by God to do certain things.

Wise stewardship of your life begins by understanding your shape. You are unique, wonderfully complex, a composite of many different factors. What God made you to be determines what he intends for you to do. Your ministry is determined by your makeup.

As we allow God’s hands to lovingly mold us, we submit ourselves to his purpose in creating us. God specially designs each of us for doing his will on earth. Each one of us is intentionally shaped to fulfill the specific plan he has for each life. Understanding this amazing concept should produce in us a desire to humbly and gratefully accept the role God has created us to fulfill.

When we reach this position of heart – when we become pliable and welcome the loving pressure of God – we understand that his purpose is to handcraft us for a special role only we are able to fulfill.

Note: Erik is a pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California.

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