If the law of God can be summarized in a positive command, then we consider how to “run to” God rather than merely how to “run from” sin. Life is not primarily about what we avoid, but what we pursue.
As you read through and answer these nine questions, remember God’s patience and timing. There will be some aspects of God’s design that you can engage in immediately. But there will also be ways you want to serve God that will require you to mature more or be equipped before you are prepared to fulfill them. The main thing is to begin to have a vision for life that involves being God’s servant and actively engaging that vision where you are currently equipped.
1. Am I willing to commit my life to whatever God asks of me? This is a “do not pass go” question. If your answer is “no,” it will bias the answers you give to each subsequent question. Do not get lost in guilt or pretend that your answer is “yes” (both responses would lead you back into sin). Rather, identify the obstacle. What is the cost you are unwilling to pay?
Are there specific things you believe God is asking of you? Be sure to record your thoughts on this question before reflecting on the subsequent questions.
2. What roles have I neglected that God has placed me in? The first part of being a good steward of one’s life is to fulfill one’s primary roles with excellence. When Paul says in Ephesians 5:17 that we are to “understand what the will of the Lord is,” he goes on to describe God’s design for major life roles (spouse, parent, child, and worker in 5:22-6:9).
3. What are my spiritual gifts? Stewarding your life for the glory of God involves utilizing the spiritual gifts God has given you. God gives spiritual gifts that coincide with the calling He places on each individual’s life. Read Romans 12:1-8 and I Corinthians 12:1-30. If you need further assistance discerning this, talk to a pastor about taking a spiritual gifts inventory.
4. For what group of people (age, struggle, career, nation, language, etc…) am I burdened? From God’s earliest covenant with people His intention was to bless us that we might be a blessing to others (Gen 12:2). By investing your life in those you have a burden for allows you to be other-minded and find joy in it.
5. What am I passionate about? At this point in the stewardship evaluation, you can begin to see Psalm 37:3-8 fulfilled in your life. What are the God-exalting “delights” in your life (v. 4)? What wholesome things can you give yourself to and you are more energized afterwards than before you started?
6. With what talents or abilities has God blessed me? These don’t have to be spiritual gifts. Read the amazing description of abilities God gave Bezalel and how he used those abilities to serve God (Exodus 31:1-11). Think through the skills and expertise you have accumulated in your life.
7. What are my unique life experiences? Both pleasant and unpleasant experiences should be listed. We are sometimes tempted to think that God can only use the good or spiritual experiences of our lives. God is glad to use our successes (Matt. 5:16), but God also delights in displaying His grace by transforming our low points for His glory (2 Cor. 1:3-5).
8. Where do my talents and passions match up with the needs in my church and community? We should seek to steward our lives in cooperation with our local church. God’s way of blessing and maturing those we serve is through the Body of Christ, the church. By identifying where your gifts, burdens, passions, and abilities fit within or expand your church’s ministries, you are maximizing the impact service can have on those you are seeking to bless.
9. How would God have me bring these things together to glorify Him? This is not a new question, but a summary question. Look back over what you have written in response to the first eight questions. Talk about it with your Christian friends, family, mentor, or pastors. Dedicate a time to prayerfully ask God to give you a sense of direction. Then begin serving as a way to steward your life for God’s glory.
Thank you Tim Challies and team for developing the images included on this post.
This post is meant to offer guidance to common “What now?” questions that could emerge from Pastor J.D.’s sermon on Psalm 57 entitled “Does God Have a Purpose for My Life?” preached at The Summit Church Saturday/Sunday September 6-7, 2014.