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3 Principles for Discovering God’s Purpose

Shaping Our Lives to Follow His Plan


By Bruce Witt

Like most Christians, you’re aware of the “finding your purpose” craze in sermons, small group studies, training, and live events. Millions of books have been sold on the topic. Instead of the traditional perspective, let’s take a closer look at purpose from a specific, spiritual angle that must begin with the Lord. Three principles about purpose must be laid as the foundation for a purpose to be genuine, strong and lasting.

The First Question Principle

As we have noted previously, “What is God’s purpose for MY life?” is not the first or right question! It is not about us. The first question is “What is God’s purpose for life?” We must begin with God and His perspective. From this answer, we rightly ask, “How do I fit into His Plan?” We submit our lives, plans, desires to the Lord and He will shape us to meet His plan. This is a subtle yet radical difference!!

We fit into His game plan, otherwise we are attempting to have God bless our agenda and desires. This is the first principle.

The FOR to FROM Principle

God is not interested or impressed in what you are going to do FOR Him. He doesn’t need you nor will you affect His final outcome. On one hand, this may seem harsh or it may seem like word games (semantics). Neither is the case.

If the focus of our life and activities is on doing or being something FOR the Lord, we place ourselves as necessary or crucial to God’s plans. We are not. Although God loves each and every one of us unconditionally and He paid the ultimate sacrifice for us, His Son’s death on the cross as well as His goal and plan are central. We enter into this plan, and we participate as He directs. We don’t contribute to God’s work.  

So my purpose individually or in any organization should not begin with “doing this or that FOR Christ.”

The biblical view in this second purpose principle is that we are made for God’s pleasure and purpose, and He wants to work through you to accomplish His plans.

John 15:5 is a cornerstone verse, “I am the vine and you are the branches, he who abides in ME, and I in Him, he bears much fruit, apart FROM me you can do nothing.” Note that HE is the source of His work and power, we are not. We participate in the fruit bearing, but His is the origin.

Paul captures this and reiterates this truth numerous times in the book of Acts –

When they had arrived and gathered the church together, they began to report all things that God had done with them and how He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.” – Acts 14:27

 When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them… All the people kept silent, and they were listening to Barnabas and Paul as they were relating what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.” – Acts 15:4, 12

 God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul.” – Acts 19:11

The Power of Purpose Principle

This third governing principle of a God-given purpose holds, directs, and motivates our lives. It brings alignment, simplicity, and focus to all aspects of life. In addition, it activates the synergistic power of God to work through us to accomplish far more than we could dream or imagine. We cannot generate this power on our own, it comes from God alone.

Paul prays this prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21, “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”

A Biblical Perspective

James Dobson, Jr sums up this God-focused perspective on purpose very well. In summary, he states –

“I have concluded that the accumulation of wealth, even if I could achieve it, is an insufficient reason for living. When I reach the end of my days, a moment or two from now I must look backward on something more meaningful than the pursuit of houses, land, machines, stocks and bonds. Nor is fame any lasting benefit. I will consider my earthly existence to have been wasted unless I can recall a loving family, a consistent investment in the lives of people and an earnest attempt to serve the God who made me. Nothing else makes much sense.” 

Please share your comments and experience in the comments section below.


There is One Leader Online Training – Watch the Sample

In this in-depth, powerful training series, There is One Leader and You are….Not It!, Bruce Witt shares the seven foundational principles that Jesus Christ, the One Leader, established to eternally impact the world around us.

This is the foundational teaching for this organization and how we train leaders. Watch the sample video session from this upcoming, online training.

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