This week we’ll look at Part 5 of Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life. Even though this is a Christian-oriented book, the wisdom Warren treats us to is for everyone desiring to live a life filled with purpose and meaning.
This one is a little longer than the others, but I hope you’ll find well worth it!
Part 5 – You Were Shaped For Serving God
Chapter 29. “Accepting Your Assignment: You were put on earth to make a contribution. You weren’t created just to consume resources…God designed you to make a difference with your life. God wants you to give something back. This is God’s fourth purpose for your life, and it is called your “ministry”, or service.
- You were created to serve God. Whenever you serve others in any way, you are actually serving God.
- You were saved to serve God. You’re not saved by service, but you are saved for service. We are saved to serve, not to sit around and wait for heaven.
- You are called to serve God. Your call to salvation included your call to service. Anytime you use your God-given abilities to help others, you are fulfilling your calling.
- You are commanded to serve God. Jesus was unmistakable: ‘Your attitude must be like my own, for I, the Messiah, did not come to be served, but to serve and to give my life.’ (Matthew 20:28)
You are going to give your life for something. What will it be—a career, a sport, a hobby, fame, wealth? None of these will have lasting significance. Service is the pathway to real significance. It is through ministry that we discover the meaning of our lives.”
Chapter 30. “Shaped for Serving God: Each of us was uniquely designed, or ‘shaped,’ to do certain things. Before God created you, he decided what role he wanted you to play on earth. Whenever God gives us an assignment, he always equips us with what we need to accomplish it. This custom combination of capabilities is called your SHAPE:
Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, Experience
Unwrapping Your Spiritual Gifts: God gives every believer spiritual gifts to be used in ministry. These are special God-empowered abilities for serving him that are given only to believers. Your spiritual gifts were not given for your own benefit but for the benefit of others, just as other people were given gifts for your benefit.
Listening to Your Heart: The Bible uses the term heart to describe the bundle of desires, hopes, interests, ambitions, dreams, and affections you have. Your heart represents the source of all your motivations—what you love to do and what you care about most. Your heart reveals the real you—what you truly are, not what others think you are or what circumstances force you to be. Your heart determines why you say the things you do, why you feel the way you do, and why you act the way you do.”
Chapter 31. “Understanding Your Shape: God designed each of us so there would be no duplication in the world.
Applying Your Abilities: Your abilities are the natural talents you were born with. All of our abilities come from God. Even abilities used to sin are God-given; they are just being misused or abused. To discover God’s will for your life, you should seriously examine what you are good at doing and what you’re not good at. God will never ask you to dedicate your life to a task you have no talent for. On the other hand, the abilities you do have are a strong indication of what God wants you to do with your life.
Using Your Personality: When God made you, he broke the mold. There never has been, and never will be, anybody exactly like you. Your personality will affect how and where you use your spiritual gifts and abilities.
Employing Your Experiences: You have been shaped by your experiences in life, most of which were beyond your control. God allowed them for his purpose of molding you. In determining your shape for serving God, you should examine at least six kinds of experiences from your past:
- Family experiences: What did you learn growing up in your family?
- Educational experiences: What were your favorite subjects in school?
- Vocational experiences: What jobs have you been most effective in and enjoyed most?
- Spiritual experiences: What have been your most meaningful times with God?
- Ministry experiences: How have you served God in the past?
- Painful experiences: What problems, hurts, thorns, and trials have you learned from?
Using your shape is the secret to both fruitfulness and fulfillment in ministry.”
Chapter 32. “Using What God Gave You: Begin by assessing your gifts and abilities. Take a long, honest look at what you are good at and what you’re not good at. The best way to discover your gifts and abilities is to experiment with different areas of service.
Consider your heart and your personality. Ask yourself questions: What do I really enjoy doing most? When do I feel the most fully alive? What am I doing when I lose track of time? Do I like routine or variety? Do I prefer serving with a team or by myself? Am I more introverted or extroverted? Am I more a thinker or a feeler? Which do I enjoy more—competing or cooperating?
Your shape was sovereignly determined by God for his purpose, so you shouldn’t resent it or reject it. Instead of trying to reshape yourself to be like someone else, you should celebrate the shape God has given only you.”
Chapter 33. “How Real Servants Act: How can you know if you have the heart of a servant?
- Real servants make themselves available to serve. Being a servant means giving up the right to control your schedule and allowing God to interrupt it whenever he needs to.
- Real servants pay attention to needs. Servants are always on the lookout for ways to help others.
- Real servants do their best with what they have. Servants don’t make excuses, procrastinate, or wait for better circumstances. They just do what needs to be done.
- Real servants do every task with equal dedication. Whatever they do, servants ‘do it with all their heart.’ The size of the task is irrelevant. The only issue is, does it need to be done?
- Real servants are faithful to their ministry. Servants finish their tasks, fulfill their responsibilities, keep their promises, and complete their commitments. They don’t leave a job half undone, and they don’t quit when they get discouraged. They are trustworthy and dependable.
- Real servants maintain a low profile. Servants don’t promote or call attention to themselves. Instead of acting to impress and dressing for success, they ‘put on the apron of humility, to serve one another.'”
Chapter 34. “Thinking Like a Servant: Service starts in your mind. To be a servant requires a mental shift, a change in your attitudes. God is always more interested in why we do something than in what we do. Attitudes count more than achievements. Real servants serve God with a mindset of five attitudes.
- Servants think more about others than about themselves. This is true humility: not thinking less of ourselves but thinking of ourselves less.
- Servants think like stewards, not owners. Servants remember that God owns it all.
- Servants think about their work, not what others are doing. Real servants don’t complain of unfairness, don’t have pity-parties, and don’t resent those not serving.
- Servants base their identity in Christ. Because they remember they are loved and accepted by grace, servants don’t have to prove their worth. They willingly accept jobs that insecure people would consider ‘beneath’ them.
- Servants think of ministry as an opportunity, not an obligation. It doesn’t matter what your age is, God will use you if you will begin to act and think like a servant.”
Chapter 35. “God’s Power in Your Weakness: God loves to use weak people…God will use us if we allow him to work through our weaknesses. For that to happen, we must follow the model of Paul (the Apostle).
- Admit your weaknesses. Own up to your imperfections. Stop pretending to have it all together, and be honest about yourself.
- Be content with your weaknesses. Your greatest life messages and your most effective ministry will come out of your deepest hurts. The things you’re most embarrassed about, most ashamed of, and most reluctant to share are the very tools God can use most powerfully to heal others.
- Honestly share your weaknesses. Humility is not putting yourself down or denying your strengths; rather, it is being honest about your weaknesses.
- Glory in your weaknesses. Instead of posing as self-confident and invincible, see yourself as a trophy of grace. When Satan points out your weaknesses, agree with him and fill your heart with praise for Jesus.”
I can’t emphasize enough how this book will help you develop a “purpose-driven life”, a life filled with meaning and direction, in every area of your life!
You can download a free copy of “Part 5 – You Were Shaped for Serving God” outlined above at my website Wisdom-Matters by clicking on the “Free Resources” tab.
Next week we’ll complete the 6-Part series on Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life. Wisdom Matters!
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