“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you… We have different gifts, according to the grace given each of us.” (Romans 12:3, 6a)
God has uniquely created you. Yes, you. Not only that but God has uniquely gifted you. Yes, YOU!
In Romans 12, Paul is urging us to come to a reckoning with who we are and what it is we are called to do. Be self-aware, he effectively says. Do some self-assessment. Discern from the Spirit. Discover your identity in Christ and your gifts from God. Then live into them!
The way John Ortberg puts it in his little book Overcoming Your Shadow Mission is: “You and I were created to have a mission in life. We were made to make a difference. But if we do not pursue the mission for which God designed and gifted us, we will find a substitute. We cannot live in the absence of purpose. Without an authentic mission, we will be tempted to drift on autopilot, to let our lives center around something that is unworthy, something selfish, something dark—a shadow mission.”
Are you living with purpose? Do you know the authentic mission God has designed specifically for you?
When I was in high school and college, I was wrestling with what I was going to do with my life. All throughout my academic career I had excelled in the areas of math and science, but I also loved writing and had a keen interest in history. I believe I could have literally done anything with my life. I envisioned careers in medicine and engineering. But something just didn’t feel right. So I got a second opinion. I asked God.
And when I turned to God—or as it says in Romans 12:1 when I “offered myself to God as a living sacrifice”—I got a very different answer as to what my unique combination of personality and gifts were for. I was convinced that I felt God calling me to ordained ministry. It’s something I hadn’t considered. It didn’t seem right at first. But the more and more I questioned it, the more and more I felt affirmation.
As I look back on it now, I still think I could have done anything. But if I had, I believe my life would have been exactly as Ortberg describes in that quote, my life would have centered around “something that is unworthy, something selfish, something dark.”
Even now I realize that I must continually return to Romans 12:1, and re-“offer myself to God as a living sacrifice.” Otherwise, I get off track.
It’s never too late. Offer yourself to God. God has uniquely created and gifted you. God has a purpose for you. Find your fit today.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2)