Do what you love, love what you do.
If you think those words are cliché, think again. God has uniquely created you for a specific purpose, and a big part of that purpose is work. The question is, do you know what you were made to do?
I mean, really made to do. Today we'll talk about how to discover exactly what God made you to do. Stay with me. Well thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Chip's our Bible teacher for this international discipleship ministry focused on helping Christians live like Christians. Today Chip wraps up our series, Answering the Call, but before he dives in, if this series has encouraged or motivated you, would you take a minute after this message and share it with a friend?
You can do that through the Chip Ingram app or by sending them the free MP3s that you'll find at livingontheedge.org. We'll turn in your Bibles now to Ephesians chapter 2 for the second half of Chip's message, How to Discover What You Were Made to Do. Well let's get real practical now, and what I want to do is talk about how to discover your calling in life, and this is going to be like touching the mountain peaks because super, super practical, and on this one, you know, almost every one of these things there's a great resource out there, but I don't want to make it so complicated.
So to discover your calling, we're going to examine your shape, the acronym S-H-A-P-E, and by the way, one of my gifts is I'm not necessarily very original, there's a great book by that name. So the S is for spiritual gifts, what are yours, and then here, to me it's very important, what's your primary or motivational gift? Now there's lots of ways to look at that, you might jot down in the notes, your divine design, even people that are solid Christians, when I ask them what their spiritual gifts are, my experience is, they give me, if they've studied it, or if they've even taken a test, they give me the salad bar answer. Well my spiritual gifts are leadership, mercy, discernment, wisdom, and faith. You know that's like saying what do you want for dinner, steak, chicken, seafood, a little shrimp, and then I say, and how does that help you really determine God's will? Well it kind of took it from here to here, but I'm convinced that there's many good ways to look at spiritual gifts, but when you look at Romans 12, there's eight core things that every Christian is commanded to do, and I see those as a primary motivational spiritual gift.
And I would say if you spend some time really studying them, you'll discover there's one of those that really binged for you. And then you have in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, and Ephesians 4, you have roles and ministry gifts. And then when you do those things, then the Apostle Paul will say it in 1 Corinthians 12, he'll talk about, it's really neat, he puts the whole trinity in the operation, and he'll talk about how he gives gifts, and there's ministries, and there's effects, and then he talks about the motivations and how it works. And what I've realized is, over the years, I thought it was leadership because I ended up leading, then I thought it was this, but I didn't know my primary motivation. And until I discovered my primary motivational gift is prophecy, I want to make the comfortable uncomfortable, and I want to comfort those that are hurting. I want the church to be the church.
You can give me any text, and I'll do my best to teach it through accurately, but somewhere I'm going to call you to live a holy life. Somewhere along the line, my passions are going to be about prophets, and I don't mean telling the future prophets, I mean forthtelling God's word in a relevant, applicational way in the cultural context to move people to act and make a difference. Basically, prophets were always saying, hey, this is what God says and here's where we're at, let's get it on. You know, sometimes you get your arm around and say, let's get it on, okay, okay?
And sometimes you say, let's get it on and get off your duff, and I try and balance those very carefully. But you need to understand, and then what I realize is there's a ministry set of gifts for me of leadership and teaching and discernment that help me put those in a way where I use them the best, and then when I use my gifts, God manifests gifts in people. People get wisdom about what to do in their life. People write and tell me that because of what I heard, I started a ministry of mercy.
People begin to act on the faith and do things that, but that's how it works. But I would encourage you, do you know what your spiritual gift is? What's your primary motivational spiritual gift? And I think you can listen to all that kind of stuff online, so I'm not trying to sell anything and download notes or something. But if you don't know, I'd encourage you to study that.
Second is the H is for heart. What are you passionate about? What are your deepest desires?
What do you dream about? What makes you come alive? What's your personal mission statement?
What role do you most effectively play in an organization? Who could come along you in your journey right now and help you discover what's down deep inside of you? God gave you passions, but they get buried. My passion is that the church would be the church.
I grew up, and you know, you're going to learn, God gives you certain experiences. I grew up in a dead, non-Bible teaching filled with hypocrisy church, and I almost miss God. And then I met a group of authentic believers who lived it out so winsomely and I was so attracted, and then they gave me a Bible. And so somewhere along the line, my greatest passion is to see believers live loving, winsome, authentic lives so people would ask about the hope that's in us. And not legalistic, rigid, holy as in big black Bibles dressing different, self-righteous, being down on everybody. I'm talking about the kind of Christians that, you know, you just say, I'd love to have a marriage like that.
I'd love to have a boss that treats people the way that boss does. Where Christians live like genuine followers of Christ. It's my personal passion. My deepest desires is, you know, this sounds crazy. I want to transform the face of Christianity. I longed for the day when in the media people would see a Christian television program or hear something on the radio and instead of saying, that is weird, those people are idiots. I can't believe anyone would believe that, which is how I grew up. And when I turn it on now, about 80% of it, I think, that is weird, that is ridiculous, I can't believe anyone.
Do you understand who people think we are out there? I mean, if you just want a dose of something to give you righteous indignation and hopefully deep prayer, just like for 24 hours, just watch Christian television. And you know, it's just like, oh my, oh my, oh good program.
Oh, good program. Oh gosh, you know. I mean, people telling people, send me a thousand dollars and God will give you $10,000. People saying, if you have all these debts, send me all of your bills and we'll burn them on TV and you won't have to pay them. I mean, where did this nonsense come from?
I mean, think about this. So that's one of my dreams. I pray for the day and I want to partner and alliance and find young communicators until I die. I pray the day will come when people would turn something on and say, by and large, wow. Abilities, what are you good at? What are your strengths, your natural gifts, your talents? Notice what it says in Romans 12, 3 in your notes, for I say this through the grace of God to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think, but will you underline the phrase, but to think soberly as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. If we had time to develop that, did you notice the word think happens? Do not think, think, and the word sober is the same word. Four words for thinking. Different forms in that 12, 3. Basically, God wants you to look into the mirror and not just the physical, but see who you are and have an accurate view.
He wants you to see you the way he sees you. Good at this, good at this, good at this, gifted here, talented here, this kind of personality, this, this, this, this. And you go, that's exactly who I am.
And these tendencies, you know, will struggle with this, tempted here, strengths, weaknesses, gifts, and no false humility. There's a need. You say, excuse me, I'm very good at that.
When's the last time you were ever in a Christian meeting? We've got this big need. And someone said, you know, excuse me, I would love to do that. Actually, I'm gifted in that area.
I'd love to help out. Well, why don't we do that? Well, what would people think? Do they think I'm arrogant? Is it arrogance to be accurate about what you're good at and volunteer to get into the place where God could use you the most?
I don't think so. There's a book called, I think it's called Discover Your Strengths. It's nothing like giving you the titles of books without the authors and stuff. But, you know, with Google, it doesn't matter, right? Just Google it, Discover Your Strengths. But it's a book.
We took a group through. And it's a guy that has developed an inventory. And you answer a number of questions of the thing that's in the back online. And it will really give you a profile of your strengths are in these areas. But discover what your strengths are. I discovered I'm an entrepreneur. My strengths are speaking and simplifying things, strategic problem solving, building teams, and discerning what's going on in people's hearts. Those are my strengths.
And so that's what I need to do. I mean, and part of it, look backwards. If you wonder, get the rear view mirror and look backwards will help you discover who God made you to be. Because God did not like start at 62 or 23 or 19 or 15 preparing for what you're gonna do in the future. I mean, this is in your DNA. This is who He made you to be.
Where have you been? What did you enjoy? What did God do? And I remember looking back, why did I at eight years old cut my first lawn? Why at 10 did I have 10 lawns? Why did I buy my first riding lawnmower at 13? Right?
Why did I have two paper outs? Why did I buy candy at the store and at Halloween run as fast as I could so I could fill a bag in a big pillowcase like this and store it for months and take it to school and sell five cent candy bars for a quarter? Right? Why is it when I'm 15 years old I lent my parents $3,000 to buy a piece of land and I only charged them six percent interest? God made me an entrepreneur.
Right? I mean at eight I didn't know what an entrepreneur was. I just knew that's how you ought to do things. And so if you want to get big things done you find partnerships. And then you always find people that are better and smarter than you and then you partner with them and you do what? You make win-win propositions. So who did God make you to be? You look back in the rear view mirror of some exciting things and what you did and you'll just find, huh, because he's not starting to connect dots. You know, I'm 67 years old. Why you got a lot of dots to look backward on?
And dot dot dot dot connect connect connect connect. And what you'll see is just like you're charting a graph, you'll see the trajectory of where you've been, what you've done, what God wants you to do in the future. And you can discover your design, your spiritual gifts, your heart, your abilities, and then your personality. How are you wired as you relate to people? Are you an introvert?
Extrovert? I mean what, what recharges your emotional battery? You know, Psalm 139, God says it wasn't an accident. Oh Lord, you've searched me, you know me. You know my sitting down, my rising up, you understand my thoughts from afar. You comprehend my path, my lying down.
Look at this. You're acquainted with all my ways. For there's not a word on my tongue but behold, oh Lord, you know it all together. He knows your ways. He made you a certain way. But what's your personality? You know, take the disk test or take Myers Briggs.
I mean there's all kind of great tools. But get a picture of who you are. And then finally, experience. What have you done? How has God been preparing you and your life so that you can look in the rearview mirror for what he's called you today? I encourage you to sit down, list the things you've done.
Not simply occupation or jobs, but accomplishments, milestones. Think of some of the trauma you've been through. Think of some of the hurts. Is it any wonder that people that have been abused, ministered to those who are abused? Is it any wonder that people have gone bankrupt a couple times, are counselors to people going through financial struggles? Is it any wonder that people that have been through a very difficult marriage that didn't work out now have a ministry to people who are going through difficult times? Is it aha, gosh, I have a heart for people with cancer. My wife died of cancer.
We have an autistic child. You think there's a reason why you have compassion for those people? See, God's going to use all these things. Those weren't random things that happened to you. He has been working all things to work together for your good, for you who are called according to his purposes because he loves you. And it's all a part of that tapestry, that written poem or that picture of the tapestry that is his workmanship that is you, that he prepared before the foundations of the earth that you should walk in those good deeds. And so you look at your experiences. There's a reason why I look back and I think I was a pastor of a church of 35 people in the country.
I mean, way in the country. And then, gosh, that grew to, I don't know, four or five hundred. And then, super conservative, I'm a pastor of eight or nine hundred people in Santa Cruz, California, and they think Berkeley's too far right. And it's weird.
And if you're not pierced or tattooed or, you know, living with someone of the same sex, you're weird. And what am I doing here? And then, you know, so from a church of 35 to 100 to 300 to 500, then a thousand and several thousand. So God let me experience. So when I talk to a pastor who's a solo guy out in the country where everyone's related and he's going, man, this is hard. Well, I've been there, done that. When I meet a pastor who can't break the 200 barrier and can't figure out why he's worn out, I did that. I ended up in the hospital. Let me tell you about that one. You know, that, all those experiences? You know, like, hey, so your church is stuck at 2,500.
Boy, I remember what that was like, and you're probably doing this, and what you need is to hire a staff person in this area. Well, why? Because God wants me to love pastors at all various levels. It wasn't so you're famous. It's not so, you know what, I've met so many pastors that are way smarter than me.
I mean, like, way smarter and way more gifted. But God's been preparing me for what I'm supposed to do. And if you're going to help pastors of a large range of things, God gives you a platform so you get to know them. It's just a stewardship. What's he prepared you to do?
Are you getting it? What's he prepared you to do? Second, not only do you look at your shape, you get wise counsel about who you are, your gifts, your abilities, where you fit, and how to move forward. Proverbs 22, 17 and 18 says, incline your ear and hear the words of the wise and apply your heart to knowledge. One of the greatest things you can do is you get around some people who know you well that are mature, and you say, you know, I'm working through a process to discover who God really made me to be. What do you think my strengths are? What do you think my spiritual gifts are?
What do you think? And you'll get great counsel. When I went through this process of rediscovering, I talked to my wife, I talked to my kids, I talked to pastors that I've known, I talked to the board. I got all the wisest counsel before I said, I'm going to focus on teaching and Living on the Edge and do what God wants me to do. And Lord, you know, I feel like Abraham, the leave part I got, what I'd like a little more on is the to wear.
And God says, I'm the to wear. Okay? I'll show you where to teach.
I'll take care of the needs. But you've got to get wise counsel. I needed people that knew me well to say, Chip, this is a no brainer. In fact, you know, now that you asked, I thought you'd been pretty stupid last couple of years, to tell you the truth.
I mean, literally, I mean, those are not like made up words. Those are guys that know me really well. You know, what are you doing? Running an organization.
I remember when the church kept growing and growing. I worked with a guy 18 years, went to California, sat down with him and his wife, and he's very blunt, and that's why we really get along. He just looked at me and goes, man, you're stupid. Could you go over that again?
A little more spiritually? Yeah. Man, I love you, man. You know, I never, I mean, you're just stupid. I mean, your strengths are here and you're trying to do this over here.
There's 100 people that can run that thing better than you. Get out of that and do what God made you to do. I needed that. I just needed that. Third thing you do is be willing to move out of your comfort zone to fulfill your divine purpose on earth.
Comfort zone. Hebrews 11, 6 says, without faith it's impossible to please God, for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and here's the part we miss, that he exists and he's a rewarder of those that diligently seek him. See, the fact of the matter is, I'm scared, all right? I mean, there's security in my last job. There's finances related to that job.
There's platform related to that job. Now I'm supposed to do this, and I got to rebuild, and I'm back in the startup, and I don't know how God's going to pay for it, and I got all that stuff, right? But without faith, it's impossible what? To please God, but I got to believe that he is.
If he spoke and created all the worlds, I think he can take care of Living on the Edge of my family, right? He's God, but he's a rewarder of what? Those who diligently seek him. God gets excited.
He's a person. He gets happy. When he sees someone like me and all my fears and all my struggles get back into my calling and then go, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, okay, here I go. And I'm thinking, ooh, how's it going to happen? He just, I think heaven roars. Wow, Chip's going to get to see me like never before.
You'll get to see him like never before. But you can't be in your calling and your comfort zone at the same time. I will guarantee part of it will be, oh, my Lord, do you really want me to do this? And the answer is yes, and you'll have practical people try and talk you out of it.
And you will probably be the most practical person. Well, I would really love to do this, Lord, but I mean, it's just not very logical, practical, and reasonable at my age or my stage of life or the group that I'm in and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I spent a few weeks with him on those. He doesn't listen to that stuff.
He wants something better for you. Finally here, make a personal commitment to discover God's calling on your life so you can honor your creator and designer and impact your world and beyond. And we're back to that same verse.
You are, you are, you are, you are, you are, you are His divine workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good work, for a good work, a unique good work that He prepared before the foundations of the earth that you would walk in it. And when you do it, you'll love it and you'll lose track of time. And it'll be so, here's the deal, when you're doing it, when you're in that, you're thinking, this is no big deal, anybody could do this.
Because it isn't something you do, it's the very glasses that you wear. You counsel people and say, oh, I'm a good listener but I'm not really doing anything and everyone's going, could I meet with you, can I meet with you? Or I'm around, I work with a guy who, it's not really a big deal, it's just kind of putting a few details together and organizing and I mean, he's just the most gifted administrator I've ever been around. When you're doing it, you'll think this is illegal. I mean, you don't really get paid for this, do you?
Yeah. In fact, you were made to do it. But would you be willing to make a personal commitment? Did you notice that I actually, I did this real purposefully and notice it says, I blank blank, in mine it says, I, Chip Ingram, commit to discover God's calling for my life so that I might fulfill his highest purposes in me and through me for his glory and my joy. And what I want you to know that in your notes it should not say, I, Chip Ingram.
I mean, I know some of you are a little obsessive compulsive and want to make sure you get it right. But it should say, I, your name. And we're gonna close things up and I really want you to discover your calling and by way of review, it's examine your shape, get wise counsel, be willing to move out of your comfort zone and then make a commitment. I want you to know God will show you. This is not like, oh gosh, this is gonna be so hard, I wonder if God would show an ordinary, regular, just eeny weeny person like me.
He's on the edge of the throne of heaven going, come on, come on, come on, mm-hmm, come on baby, yeah, hey, I'll show you. Psalm 32 eight. Great verse I love about God's will. I will lead you and instruct you in the way in which you should go. I will counsel you with my eye upon you. I'll lead you, I'll instruct you. He wants you to find it. You discover your calling, go back to the quote, okay?
Very first quote. It takes great courage for men and women to discover their calling. Great courage, why? After all, it may not be what you're doing right now and to face your calling squarely may cause some significant disruption in your life and I would add, in your finances, in your relationships, possibly in your location, your vocation, but you'll never be sorry you did. Has anyone had just kind of the mild, just mild, intuition that I might be enjoying myself up here?
You know? I'm doing what God made me to do. His heart's desire is that you do what he made you to do. Chip will be right back with his application for this message, how to discover what you were made to do, from our series Answering the Call. Are you looking for a job, starting a new career, or just desperate for a fresh perspective on your current employment? Through this eight part series, Chip unpacks what the Bible has to say about this idea of work and reveals why God intended it to be more than just what we do for a living. Stay with us as we discover how to find genuine enjoyment and fulfillment in our work and bring praise to God through it. To get more plugged in with this series or our many resources, visit livingontheedge.org.
That's livingontheedge.org. Well Chip's back with me in studio now with a quick question for all of you. Chip? Thanks so much, Dave. I want to ask you something really important. Would you choose to become a financial partner with us? I'm not using that language to disguise the fact that I'm asking you to give or trying to be fancy or asking for money. But when you invest in this ministry, it's more accurately saying, yes, I will partner with you. Yes, I'll go to work with you. Yes, I want to be on this mission with you. When you give, you become a part of all that we do, a part of the hundreds of thousands of people hearing God's Word, a part of discipling new Christians and encouraging persecuted Christians in China and the Middle East. It's a part of supplying teaching and training and resources to pastors right here in the U.S. So will you ask God what part He would give you in all of this?
And then just do whatever He shows you. If all of us do our part, however God leads, it'll be exactly what we need to fulfill exactly what God wants us to do. I want to thank you in advance for whatever God leads you to do, and thank you. Thanks so much for being a partner.
Thanks Chip. Well, as you've heard, God has called this ministry to help Christians live like Christians, both here in the U.S. and all around the world. So if you'd like to help us fulfill that mission, we'd love to have you join the team by becoming a monthly partner. Set up a recurring donation at livingontheedge.org or via the Chip Ingram app. Or you can now text the word donate to 741-41.
That's donate to 741-41. And thanks in advance for doing whatever God leads you to do. Well, with that Chip, let's get to your application for this message. As we close today's program and close out this series, I ask a pretty penetrating and it's really not from me, I believe it's from God. If God would show you exactly what He wants you to do, would you commit?
Would you step up and say, yes God, I want you to know that if you'll show me what my calling is, my vocation, I'll do whatever you want. Here's what you need to understand. He will make that clear. And in order for that to happen, you need to get some wise, honest counsel about who you are, what your gifts are, what your abilities, your fit from people that know you well and that you trust. That you know their judgment is objective and they'll be willing to tell you the truth, not simply what you want to hear. And it's that kind of counsel that provides great safety and direction from the Lord. You need to be willing to move out of your comfort zone like we talked about. I mean, we have a ministry called Prime Movers and I've watched this happen in hundreds of people's lives where he begins to show them this is the next step and then he tests them.
And sometimes it's a financial test or relational test or even a geography test that in order to do that, you need to do that someplace else. I'm not trying to scare you. I just want you to know that God didn't say to Abraham, hey, I want you to do whatever you want on your timetable in a way that works for you and you're really comfortable. He said, Abraham, I want you to go to a place that you do not know.
And the course of history was changed because Abraham believes God and he followed him. So I don't want you to do anything rash. I don't want you in frustration. I hate this job. I hate this life and quit and do something stupid. You need to go through the wise process of God's leading good counsel.
If you're married, talk with your mate and then make a real commitment. Lord, I want to know and I'm going to pursue and follow. I met a lady at a conference I was teaching and she had been a nurse nearly all of her life and was near retirement. And she came up after this series and she said, you know something?
I've never really liked nursing, but my mom and dad wanted me to be a nurse. She goes, you know what? I've always wanted to be my whole life. I said, no, what? She goes, I've wanted to be a teacher.
I said, really? She goes, yeah, you know, sort of on the side, I started taking a few classes here and there. And she said, I'm going to retire in two years and guess what I'm going to do? I said, let me guess. I said, be a teacher? She said, yeah.
And I don't know that you need it all to wait to retire. What I know is there's great joy. She just lit up as she began to talk about teaching kids and doing what she was made to do. And so I would just say to you, ask God for direction. I wrote a book called Holy Ambition, How to Turn God-Sized Dreams into Reality that can maybe give you a way to go about that. We have a resource called Your Divine Design that helps you discover kind of what your gifts are, what that shape is.
If there's a way that we can help you, go to the website, search around. But I think mostly it's your heart saying, Lord, I want to know. And if you pursue it and if you seek Him, believe me, He made you for this calling.
He'll let you know what it is. Thanks, Chip. Well, if you'd like to learn more about the resources Chip mentioned, go to livingontheedge.org, then click on the store button. And while you're there, let me encourage you to look through our small group study guides, helpful discipleship cards, or any of Chip's popular books. We want to help you grow in your walk with Jesus. So visit livingontheedge.org today. Well, until next time, this is Dave Drewy saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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