In your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:16)
In Psalm 139:16, what David seems to express is that all the experiences of his life, day by day were written down in God’s book before he was even born. For all of us, this truth refers not simply to God’s prior knowledge of what will occur in our lives but to His plan for our lives.
God created each of us uniquely to fulfill the plan He has ordained for us. His plan for you and His creation of you were consistent. He equipped you to fulfill His purpose for you. God’s plan embraces the family and social setting into which you were born. It also includes all the seeming chance or random happenings in your life and all the sudden and unexpected turns of events, both “good” and “bad.”
God’s plan for us also embraces that which He wants us to be and to do. God sovereignly determines our respective functions in the body of Christ and gives us the corresponding spiritual gifts with which to perform those functions.( Romans 12:4-6; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11). Moreover, our spiritual gifts are generally consistent with the physical an mental abilities as well as the temperament with which God created us.
God has planned our days before even one of them came to be. He said to Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you”(Jeremiah 1:5). Paul viewed his apostolic call in the same manner; he speaks of how God “set me apart before I was born, and.. called me by his grace” (Galatians 1:15).
Just as we must trust God for who we are, we must also trust Him for what we are— an engineer or a missionary, a homemaker or a nurse.
It is fashionable today to say that we are “trying to find ourselves” so that we may discover who we are and what we are supposed to accomplish in life. So we try new things, new hobbies, new experiences and the like hoping in someway to find something that captures our attention and energy.
All the while, the God who has created us has already defined who we are and what our goal/ mission is in life. Jeremiah gives us this truth that if embraced quiets the anxiety and calms the frustration of trying to find something that fits who we really are.
The confusion of who we are is increasing in society. We are becoming a lost people looking to define ourselves and discover our purpose. Let me encourage you to come before your Creator and ask Him for those answers. As a builder, one of my first questions when asked to build a building was, “What is its purpose and how do you see it being used?” Defining its purpose defined its construction for every building is designed around its use.
In creating you, God first defined your purpose in life and no human has ever been created with no purpose. You may not know it initially, but if you ask the Creator, He will make it known to you. God never creates useless things. Even the tiniest microbe or the largest mammal have distinct purpose built into their design. Since humans are the ultimate created beings, created in the image of God, there are none without purpose. Discovering that purpose and defining the “who” and the “what” is one of the most thrilling, satisfying, and blessed things we can ever know. Once I realize that I have been created by God for His purpose, I can rest in the truth that He will make that purpose known. Once I discover that when God made me, He defined me and who I am is exactly what He made me to be. I think one of the sad things we see are those who aren’t happy being who they are and are constantly trying to be something or somebody else. Oh that we could see that “we are fearfully and wonderfully made.” You may say to me that you are a mess, but if that is so, it isn’t what God designed you to be. Might it be that you in foolish decision have tried to become something that God didn’t design you to be? Or maybe you’re trying to do something that God didn’t design you to do. I have tool boxes with a good number of tools and each have been designed for a specific purpose and when they are used properly in that function they perform well. If, on the other hand, I try to use the for another purpose, they function rather poorly and often are damaged or destroyed in the process. So it is with us, when we persist in doing what we were not designed to do or being who we were not designed to be, often we are damaged and may end up being destroyed.
Every human has been endowed with gifts by God. There are three defined sets of gifts. The first, motivation gifts which are given by the Father; and we all have all these gifts, define who we are and how we respond to life. There are around seven of these gifts and what makes us the distinctive person we are is the order and the intensity of these gifts. Some of these gifts are the gift of administration, the ability to lead and delegate. The opposite gift is the gift of serving, the ability to follow instructions. Some have the gift of mercy. Others have the gift of giving. And others have a variety of other dominant gifts. Each gift is designed by God for good purposes but when a gift is corrupted by self or Satan, it become destructive. For example, an administrator can become a dictator or a giver can become a miser. The only safe thing then is to ask the Holy Spirit to become the gift manager.
Romans and 1 Corinthians tell us of the second set of gifts available to every believer. They are given by the Holy Spirit and are to be used to build up believers. They are the manifestation gifts and include prophecy, tongues and interpretation of tongues, and discernment of spirits and so on. Nine gifts total and each of them work as the Holy Spirit wills through the believer. These gifts correspond with the motivational gifts and work together with them to assist the believer in carrying out God’s plan and purpose for their lives. The third set of gifts, called ministry gifts are given by Christ to the church for equipping the saints, building up the body and helping believers mature in the faith until they come into unity of faith. There are five of these, namely, apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher. We usually think of these as only the “set-apart”, vocational ministers but in truth they may also be in the body without official title. Again these gifts work with both motivational and manifestation gifts and are given by God to each as He sovereignly determines. The beauty in knowing this is the peace that the God who created us has also designed us to be who we are and enables us to do what we are made to do. We can rest in the fact that whatever we are, God has made us and Genesis records that after every creation God said, “It’s good.” Thus we can say that when God made us He said, “That’s good.” Second, whatever God calls us to do, He gives us the ability to do it. One of the ways I have discovered what God called me to do is that if He has called He enables but if it’s something I’ve come up with on my own, there is no supernatural enablement.
Let us say with the apostle Paul:
“Not that I speak from [any personal] need, for I have learned to be content [and self-sufficient through Christ, satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or uneasy] regardless of my circumstances. I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret [of facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need. I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]”
Dr. John Thompson