Our Universal and Unique Purpose
Our purpose as followers of Christ is always the same, no matter our life circumstances. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” and “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37, 39). We are called, in turn, to fulfill the Great Commandment through the vector of the Great Commission: make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18–20).
It is important to realize that, while evangelism is a key part of this calling, edification is the end game. We are not called to make only converts, but disciples—ones who becomes like the Master. Our universal purpose, then, is to love God with our whole life by becoming more like Christ and by making disciples who do the same.
However, this universal purpose will not play out the same way for every person. Each of us will live out a unique manifestation and expression of that purpose. This certainly includes doing the work of an evangelist in our unique circumstances. But it also includes acting as leaders in our spheres of influence and making disciples using the particular gifts and opportunities God has given us.
Our Primary and Secondary Calling
Another distinction similar to our universal and unique purpose is that of our primary and secondary calling.
Our primary calling is simply to know and love God. We do this by progressively becoming in our practice who God has already declared us to be in our position. By the grace of Christ, we have become children of God who are called to live more and more like we really are His children.
Our secondary calling is to express that knowledge and love of God in every circumstance and relationship. It is to apply our love of God in every role we fill—whether as a spouse, a parent, a worker, a boss, a friend, a neighbor, an entrepreneur, etc.
The greatest danger we face when living out our calling is the temptation to replace our primary calling with our secondary calling. We begin to think of our job, for example, as our ultimate purpose. But what we must remember is that our vocation transcends our career. Our three great purposes are to pursue God, pursue godly character, and pursue the highest good of others. But pursuit of God must come first, and pursue the other two in light of our pursuit of God.
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This series on purpose and passion is based on portions of Ken Boa’s Conformed to His Image: Biblical, Practical Approaches to Spiritual Formation.