The Apostle Paul’s life dripped with purpose and intentionality. He says in 1 Corinthians 15:10, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” A little earlier in the same letter Paul described himself as a “wise builder” (1 Corinthians 3:10). Paul lived life on purpose, and it’s an incredible example for us to follow. To help remember what it looks like to live life on purpose, here are seven characteristics that define a life of purpose:
P – Power. If you want to live on purpose you need the power of the Holy Spirit promised to us in Acts 1:8. Your theology may lead you to shy away from the Holy Spirit, but living under His authority and being filled with His presence is the foundation of a purpose-fueled life. Without God the Spirit living in and through you, the pursuit of a life of purpose is a fool’s errand.
U – Unity. Of all the things Jesus could have prayed for when he prayed for future believers in John 17, he chose to pray for unity. If you look at Paul’s letters you see the call to unity woven throughout as a common theme. If you want to live on purpose, work towards the unity of the relationships around you, unity between humankind and God, unity in your church.
R – Relationships. Life was never meant to be lived alone, and a life of purpose will always be a life lived in authentic relationship with other people. If you want to discover purpose, shift your life from one of isolation to one of community. Purpose is found through relationships.
P – Prayer. Purpose comes from being a part of something much bigger than yourself. As you stay connected to God, you will discover the bigger and grander purpose God has for your life. Prayer maintains the connection to God and so your purpose will only go so far as your prayer life.
O – Outreach. If you want to catch a glimpse of your Heavenly Father’s heart, read Luke 15, which contains the stories of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost (or prodigal) son as a rebuke to the religious leaders who couldn’t stomach the sinners gathering around Jesus. If you want to join God’s greater purpose in the world, it’s going to lead you to outreach and sharing your faith with others.
S – Stewardship. If you’re wanting God to give you a grander purpose in life, start by stewarding the purpose He’s already given you. Instead of pining away for something better, learn to flourish where you are. If you’re not taking care of the money God’s already entrusted to you, why would you ever expect Him to give you more? In the same way, if you’re fulfilling the purpose God has for you during this season of life, as small as it might be, God will reward you with more.
E – Excellence. Purpose remains elusive to many of us because it takes a level of excellence and sacrifice from us that many are unwilling to make. Work hard, treat others right, expect more from yourself and those around you. Begin to live every area of your life with excellence, and don’t be surprised when purpose begins come to you in abundance.