One of the basic truths of Christianity is that God has a purpose for your life. You are not a mistake or an accident, regardless of the circumstances of your birth. God has a purpose for you.

     In a few cases God reveals His purpose right up front. The first time God’s word came to Jeremiah God stated His purpose: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained  you a prophet to the nations." Jeremiah 1:5.

      Before John the Baptist was ever conceived the angel of the Lord appeared to his father, Zacharias, and told him that John would be the forerunner of Christ. (Luke 1:5-17)

     There came a time when the apostle Paul could say with confidence, "...(God) who separated me from my mother's womb and called me through His grace …" Galatians 1:15, but as old timers used to say, "Paul first had to make a few trips around Robin’s barn". Although God’s purpose for Paul was for him to be His apostle to the Gentiles Paul spent a lengthy portion of his life furiously persecuting Christians.

Does God Have a Purpose For Me?

      Many Christians, however have the attitude, "I can understand that God had a purpose for Jeremiah, John, the Baptist, Paul and other great servants of God, but I have so little to offer I can’t see how God has a purpose for me." That’s the reason God has given verses that make it clear that He has a definite purpose for every believer…and for every person who will become a believer. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10. When we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior we become "a new creature" (2nd Corinthians 5:17). Along with becoming a new creature we receive a lifetime purpose of good works. As we perform those good works we are fulfilling God’s purpose for us. Those who have experienced God using them in fulfilling His purpose will joyfully testify that there is no greater thrill in life than to be used of God. That’s because the key to significance, satisfaction, and meaning in life is to let God use you to fulfill His purpose for you.

The Biggest Hindrance of All

     The problem with the vast majority of Christians is that they believe God has a purpose for their life, but they lack the confidence that God can or will really use them. For that reason many Christians won’t even try to find out God’s purpose. Others may have a pretty good idea, but they hold back because they lack confidence that they will be successful in fulfilling what God wants them to do.

Joshua: Our Example for Gaining Confidence

     Perhaps Joshua is the best example in all the Bible of someone who desperately needed to gain confidence as he approached the deadline of launching out to fulfill God’s purpose for him. There were two reasons for this:

(1). Joshua has just replaced Moses as the leader of Israel. He surely felt honored, but he also felt inadequate. "…no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses…" Deuteronomy 35:10. Moses was also a great leader. He led Israel out of slavery in Egypt to freedom in the wilderness. Leaving Egypt, they were not much more than a poorly educated, discouraged mob. When they arrived on the west side of the Jordan River, they were a nation highly developed in civil, religious, and military ways. Through Moses they held in possession God’s first five books of written revelation to man, what we now call our Bible. Israel, and God would have great expectations of the man who replaced Moses.

(2). God made it clear to Joshua that he had been called to accomplish a humanly impossible task. God had already revealed through Moses, "…the LORD your God shall bring you into a land… to possess it, and cast out many nations before you…seven nations greater and mightier than you." Deuteronomy 7:1 And now, God says to Joshua, "You’re the guy I’ve chosen to lead Israel to do this." (Joshua 1:2) We get the idea that at this moment Joshua was having a confidence problem because God exhorted him three times "Be strong and of good courage." (Joshua 1:6, 7, 9). Then, the leaders of Israel repeated those very same words. (1:18).

     In effect, God was saying, I have already put everything in place. The only thing remaining is for you to have the confidence to step out and lead Israel to do what I’ve called you to lead them to do."

     It’s a great deal like starting our car in the morning. The gas is in the tank and fuel lines. The battery has the power to make the electrical system work. The starter is ready to turn the engine. It doesn’t make any difference whether we need to go five miles or several hundred miles, everything is in place. All we need to do to get all that horsepower to work is to have the confidence to turn the key. Confidence is what enables us to turn on the power.

     God also gave Joshua three keys to develop confidence. They worked for Joshua. He immediately told the leaders of the twelve families of Israel, "Tell the people to get ready. In three days we’re crossing the Jordan and possess the land God promised us." (Verse1:11). These three keys will also work for us when we know what God wants us to do, but we lack the confidence.

Banish Fear and Doubt

"…Be strong and of good courage: do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." 1:9. When we get it settled as to what God wants us to do, we need to pass some internal laws. One is, "It’s a violation of my internal law for fear and doubt to be present in my mind or emotions or to affect my will."

     When obstacles get big enough or opposition gets fierce enough fear and doubt can barge into our mind and emotions with a bluster that causes us to think there’s nothing I can do about this." But God says that we have the authority to decide whether we will be strong and courageous or be filled with fear and doubt. When fear and doubt interlude and try to scare us from doing what God wants us to do we tell them, "It’s against my internal laws for you to be here. Now, get out and don’t come back!"

     It helps to know that there are two major sources of fear and doubt:

  1. Comparing ourselves with others. We know people who are doing the same thing God has called us to do and we feel we can’t do it as well as they do. We should never compare ourselves with others because we are unique. God doesn’t want us to try to copy someone else. He has shaped us to be an original and doesn’t want us to become a poor "carbon" copy. Besides, if we compare ourselves to others we are going to find somebody doing a better job and we’ll become discouraged. Or, we find we are doing a better job and become proud…either of these attitudes short-circuits God’s power.
  2. We fear that we’ll experience the shame of failure. Most of us have experienced the shame of failure. Maybe it was in athletics, and we didn’t make the team. Perhaps our team lost a game because we goofed up. Maybe it was a moral failure and we felt ashamed that we hurt not only ourselves, but others. Whatever our failures, we need to learn that they don’t count when it comes to doing what God wants us to do. God promises, "I’ll be with you wherever you go." That means that no matter how great the obstacle or formidable the opposition, God says, "I’ll be there to make things work. Banish fear and doubt!

Claim A Promise From God

     Notice that right after God told Joshua what he was to do He reminded him of a promise He had made to Moses; "Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon, I have given it to you, as I said to Moses." 1:3. In addition, God made three promises to Joshua:

  1. Strength – "No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life…(1:5a)
  2. Success – by meditating on and living by the words of revelation given through Moses. (1:7, 8)
  3. Support – "I will not leave  you nor forsake you…" "…the Lord your God is with you wherever you go" (1:5b, 9b).

     Sometimes we hear Christians say, "God said it; I Believe it, and that settles it!". The fact is, that when God said it, that settles it. It’s going to happen whether we believe it or not. To be more correct, we need to say, "…that settles it for me." We will then be affirming that God is going to do what He said and when we believe we have come on board to do our part in doing what God wants us to do.

     After claiming God’s promise Joshua led Israel to possess the promised land. As he was nearing his time to die he reminded Israel, "Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth.  (I am going to die)  And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you, not one word of them has failed." Joshua 23:14

     As we consider God’s promise, let us remember that the Bible tells us "God is no respecter of persons". (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11, etc). What God has done for others, He will also do for us.

Launch Out In Faith

     Our goal should be, Go With God!

     The two mistakes to avoid are:

  • Getting ahead of God
  • Lagging behind God

     There had been countless planning sessions and preparations, but Joshua never twitched a muscle until God said, "It’s time." When God said, "It’s time", Joshua immediately commanded his leaders, "Get your people ready. In three days we’re moving out!"

     Three days later the people of Israel gathered on the western bank of the Jordan River. What they saw was very discouraging "…for the Jordan overflows all it’s banks all the days of harvest." Joshua 3:15. How were 2 ½ to 3 million men, women, and children going to cross the Jordan river at flood stage? Neither Joshua nor Israel’s leaders had to figure out the answer. Joshua had led Israel to launch out by faith to do what God wanted them to do. When they met their first formidable obstacle God was there to tell them how to get past it. "…command the priests who are carrying the ark of the covenant, saying ‘When you come to the edge of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan…And…the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, and the waters which are flowing down from above shall stand in one heap.’"  Joshua 3:8.  They did what God said and the waters were cut off some 17 miles upstream. Israel crossed the Jordan and before the day was over camped in the land of their promised possession. They would meet many more obstacles and enemies, and God would be there to direct them to victory…except one. That would be at a city called Ai. Two factors resulted in Israel experiencing defeat: One of Israel’s warriors willfully disobeyed the clear command of God and Joshua and his leaders would neglect to look to God for guidance and enablement (power) because they felt they could handle this battle in their own strength. (Joshua 7). It was a bitter experience and they did not make the same mistake again. As each new challenge would come they would remember to launch out in faith.

     Hopefully, every believer here sincerely desires to do what God wants you to do and fulfill God’s purpose for your life. As you fight the battle of confidence let me encourage you once again to:

  • Banish fear and doubts
  • Claim a promise from God
  • Launch out in faith

     For those of you who are investigating Christianity, the fact that you are here indicates that you have some desire to fulfill God's purpose for your life. That desire may be strong or it may be weak. If your desire is strong I urge you to take the first step in fulfilling God's purpose by reaching out to Jesus Christ in faith and receiving Him and His sacrifice on the cross for your salvation

.. He will honor your faith and save you. You can begin your life journey of fulfilling God's purpose for you today. If you have questions just talk to one of the pastors or church leaders. They are ready to help.

As you take this step, you can look forward to a day when you can say with Joshua, "Not one of the good promises of God has failed. They have all come to pass."

Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scripture quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted

    Copyright © 2008 Truth Helpers Inc.