Over the last few couple of weeks on the blog we have looked at why purpose is important and a few of the factors to look at in your life to work out what your purpose is, and in a perfect world that would be all you need. If it were simple and easy then having an understanding of purpose and how to find it would be enough, but the reality is that life is not that straightforward. When we choose to pursue our purpose there are going to be challenges along the way, whether it’s from people opposing us, times of frustration and uncertainty, unforeseen events or circumstances, or something else, we are bound to face difficulties that will make things difficult for us. When we look at the key verse of The Purposed Initiative, Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,” there are a few basic attitudes that we can take from it that will help us push through the challenges in pursuing our purpose. Today we’re going to use some biblical examples to explore these attitudes and how they apply to us.
The first attitude that will help us in pursuing our purpose is being intentional. Finding and pursuing your purpose doesn’t happen by accident, you can’t float along and hope that one day you will miraculously be living out your purpose.You must choose to do it, and you must choose to do it every day. Pursuing your purpose is something you have to consciously do and be proactive about. When we look at Hebrews 12:1, we can see throughout it that it is about being proactive. It talks about throwing off things that hinder us and running, not about letting things fall and floating. There will be lots of opportunities to give in to distractions or give up when things get tough, but you need to be intentional about the decisions you make and how they influence your ability to be purposed. Another example is in 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 which says “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” In other words just like an athlete is intentional about their training in their efforts to win, so we must be intentional in how we live in order to pursue our purpose.
The second attitude that helps us to pursue our purpose is being relentless. The Hebrews verse talks about running with perseverance, which means “persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success”. As stated above, there will be lots of times when you want to give up or take the easier route. There will be struggles, opposition, frustration, hurt and other things which try to stop you pursuing your purpose. But running with perseverance means being relentless, making a daily choice to keep moving towards your goal. This doesn’t mean you are “restless”, if you don’t take time to rest you will quickly run out of energy. Even Jesus took times out from his ministry, and we can see examples of this in Matthew 14:23, Mark 6:30-32 and Luke 6:12. What it means that even your times of rest are for a purpose, it’s not just slacking off, it’s making the time to recharge your batteries so that you have the energy to keep going. And that once you are rested you are back into pursuing your purpose. Being relentless means pushing through when times get tough, making time to get things done even when you’re busy, and not allowing the naysayers to take away the call on your life.
The third attitude which is key to pursuing your purpose is being humble. Your purpose is bigger than you and you cannot do it on your own. Your purpose is also not about you, it is about what God has called you to do for others. In Hebrews 12:1 it talks about being surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, which tells us that this is something that is not just about us, but involves a number of others. It also talks about running a race that is marked out for us, it’s not about blazing a path that suits us best, but about following the path that God has laid out for us. In 2 Corinthians 12:12-31 Paul writes about us all being part of a body, and needing to understand that we all have a role to play. This means that we are part of a bigger picture, we have an important part to play but we can’t do it all on our own. We need the humility to know that we need the support of others to achieve our purpose. We need the humility to know that we will make mistakes and need the forgiveness of others, and well as to be able to forgive ourselves. We need to know that others will make mistakes or do the wrong thing by us and we need to forgive them. We need to know that even though we were created for this purpose, and it is our role to fulfil it, we are not the centre of this, God is. Humility allows us to take the knocks and keep going, because when it’s not about us we don’t take things personally but trust that God is in control.
When we make a choice to pursue our purpose we will face challenges and opposition, it’s inevitable, but that doesn’t mean that we should give up. Instead, there are three attitudes we can adapt to help us to push through. Being intentional gives us the ability to make deliberate decisions which lead us down the path of our purpose. Being relentless means that we can push through the opposition and not allow distractions to get in our way. Being humble helps us to understand that our purpose is bigger than us and that we need help and support to see it fulfilled. These three attitudes are key if we are to live out the life purpose that God has designed us for.
Looking at the attitudes of being intentional, relentless and humble, which of them do you think you do well? Why?
Which one do you think you need to work on the most? Why?
What step can you take this week to start to work on that attitude?
Who can you talk to and/or pray through this with in order to stay accountable?