There are a lot of opinions about purpose circulating the internet streets these days. The opinions are catchy too because they center the person and not God.
This episode is the first of our deeper exploration of purpose and spiritual growth. I figured I would do this little fun episode about my unpopular opinions about purpose to start.
In this episode, I’ll dive into:
- What unpopular opinions are in general,
- My unpopular, controversial opinions about purpose, and
- Support for my opinions
What is An Unpopular Opinion
Unpopular opinions kind of came on the scene towards the beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic. We were at home longing for some kind of connection and people who have large audiences on social media began to ask their followers what their unpopular opinions were. Asking this question was like giving candy to a baby. People responded with all sorts of things from “Mac and cheese is overrated” to “99% of poetry sucks.”
It can sometimes get wild depending on who responds lol, but the intent is the same. They all gave their opinions on things and those opinions are different from the opinions of the masses. So that’s the energy I’m coming with for this episode. My opinions about purpose in this episode are likely going to be different than what a lot of people on the internet are sharing about purpose.
The thing is, I call these my opinions, but honestly they aren’t my opinions at all. The position I take about purpose in this episode are based on what I interpreted from scripture.
My Unpopular Opinions About Purpose
Alright now that we have gotten that out of the way, let’s get into my list of unpopular opinions about purpose. I’m gonna go ahead and warn you, I’m coming in HOT with this one.
1. Purpose is not always meant to be monetized
I know, I know. This is probably contrary to everything you’ve heard about purpose. I already know I might get some push back for this one but I had to include this on the list because this is a huge area for deceit. Whenever we are ignorant about something, the enemy can exploit it.
Scripture supports this position. I have a couple of examples but I want to start with the Apostle Paul who is a clear example of this.
Paul tells us his purpose in the book of Acts. [Acts 20:22-24]. He says, “my purpose is to finish the ministry I received from Jesus which is to testify to the gospel of God’s grace.” That testimony required him to persuade both Jews and Greeks to believe in and follow Christ. Acts 18:3-4.
He mentions it again, differently in Acts 26:16-18, NKJV which came directly from Jesus.
Jesus told Paul...
That was the work Paul did and he did it well as evidenced by the double digit amount of books he wrote in the new testament. But, ministry wasn’t his job or his source of income. He didn’t make money as an apostle, missionary, or church planter.
Paul did actually earn money though. He had an occupation as a tentmaker by trade. That is how he supported himself financially and he was intentional about it. See Acts 18:3. Other apostles were devoted entirely to their ministry and lived off the money donated by Church members. Paul was planting and growing new churches and didn’t want to be a burden on them, so he didn’t collect a salary, He did outside work instead.
As it pertains to his purpose and his job...
…we don’t have to jump through a lot of interpretation hoops to get an understanding of how he earned money.
While on a mission trip, Paul summoned the leaders of the Ephesian church to come over and see him. He wanted to speak with them and see them one last time before he went to Jerusalem because he had a feeling that he would never see them again due to what awaited him once arrived in Jerusalem, so he called them over to Macedonia.
While he was talking to them he brought up the fact that his purpose was to walk out the ministry Jesus gave him which I laid out a few minutes ago. As he was saying this, he went on further and made sure to tell the leaders that he didn’t do the work of his purpose for any personal gain. He specifically said, and I’m paraphrasing scripture here, “he took no silver or gold or clothing. He worked with his own hands to not only support himself but those around him as well. See Acts 20:32-34.
Paul is making it clear that:
- Ministry of grace and leading people to believe in and follow Jesus was his purpose, and
- Ministry was not how he earned money. So we learn that purpose is not always a way to make money.
I know this may be hard to grasp because people on the internet like to teach how to turn your purpose into profit but that is not scriptural. Sometimes God requires us to give money to our purpose, and large sums at that.
Let’s take this even a step further and look at Jesus. Jesus tells us his purpose in Luke. He communicates clearly that he is on earth to bring Good News to the poor, to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free.
Now, can you imagine Jesus charging people to do those things? Imagine if before he healed the blind man he asked the man for $500. Better yet, after casting out the legion of demons from the man who was living in the tombs, he gave the man a bill for $1000.
You might be thinking...
…well their purpose required them to serve and do work in the church/spiritual space so it makes sense that they wouldn’t earn money from that. I don’t think this is exclusive to them though. Your purpose might be related to parenting or feeding the homeless or may be linked to teaching people how to make millions of dollars through real estate investing and whether or not you charge people for what you provide through your purpose is a you and God thing.
2. Everyone won't love their purpose instantly
I’m not sure where the idea originated that you will love your purpose, love every aspect of it, or that you would love walking in it all the time, but that just isn’t how it works. The way this often shows up is when people believe that their passions are their purpose.
Let’s define passion real quick so that we are on the same page. Passion as a strong liking or desire for something. That something can be an activity, an object, or a concept. Another source defines passion as a strong motivation mixed with intense emotions, and these emotions can be positive or negative.
So in essence, passion is about you, what you like, and what you want. It is personal, narrow, and pointed. Passion also tends toward self-preservation, self-gratification, and short-term gains and pleasures.
Well what's wrong with that???
I know someone might have a hard time reconciling this. Especially, when the Bible says God will give us the desires of our hearts.
Here’s the problem with it assuming your passions are you purpose:
- There are a lot of things we like that have nothing to do with God’s kingdom agenda and how he wants us to make an impact on Earth. Another problem with automatically viewing your passion as if it’s automatically your purpose is that the devil will feed you your desires, especially if those desires take you away from your destiny.
- The scripture actually says, “Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Before we can even get to God giving you the desires of your heart, the first part of that verse says that you are to delight yourself in the Lord. Another translation says “seek your happiness in the Lord.” Another translation says, “enjoy serving the Lord.” This verse is not a blanket “God will do whatever you want” clause. It’s saying that we can expect God to move on our behalf when our thinking and desires match his after we seek our happiness in him.
You don't have to take my word for it though...
Let’s look at a Biblical example. As Jesus was walking out his purpose, there were moments where he experienced emotions likely akin to frustration. One moment that immediately comes to mind is when a man brought his son to Jesus because the boy had a demon inside of him. The man explained to Jesus that he had asked Jesus’ disciples to drive the demon out, but they couldn’t.
Jesus responded calling them, an unbelieving and perverse generation. He went even further saying, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? [Matthew 17:14:21]. Sounds like he was frustrated, huh? Remember, setting the captives free was a part of Jesus’ purpose and he had empowered his disciples to be an extension of him in that regard, yet they failed.
It was important for me to include this point about loving your purpose all the time in my list of unpopular opinions because if you know that there is no requirement that you love your purpose right away and if you know that you may not love every aspect of purpose, then you might realize that everything you love to do is not always connected to your purpose.
3. You can’t manifest your purpose
I won’t be spending a lot of time here but I do want to touch on it. Let me start with breaking down manifesting and manifestation. Manifesting means to make something happen. Manifestation is a new age practice. The New Age movement involves a range of spiritual and religious practices and beliefs like astrology, alternative healing therapies like Reiki, the use of crystals, reincarnation, and prosperity consciousness just to name a few. New Age spread rapidly in Western society in the 1970s and ʾ80s through the occult and through metaphysical religious communities.
Manifesting is also inspired by various philosophical traditions: Hermeticism, New England transcendentalism, specific verses of the Bible, and Hinduism.
Here’s the problem with it. Manifestation is rooted in the occult, which is demonic, and centers the manifester in the place of God. It really makes the manifester think they are God in a sense and this is a dangerous place to be. We were made in the image of God and he gave us dominion here on earth so yes, we do have a measure of power and authority. However, when we start to see ourselves as the source of that power and authority, then we are moving into the lane of manifestation and manifestation is God’s job.
I don’t want to underestimate how tempting it is to see yourself as the source of your strength, power, and authority. It’s easy to do it, and it’s one of the oldest temptations there is [Genesis 3:5].
The thing about purpose is that it comes from God.
He reveals it when he knows we are ready for it. We can’t force him to tell us our purpose, and that’s essentially what manifestation seeks to do.
Here’s another thing, manifestation is rooted in the occult which is a practice that involves the use of supernatural forces or beings to make something happen. Make no mistake about it, those supernatural forces they use are demons. So know that as you’re trying to manifest something, you could very well be partnering with demons to make it happen, regardless of your intent.
At this point, you’re probably like, well if I’m not manifesting my purpose what should I be doing instead. Here’s my advice:
It is not our job to make our purpose show up and be revealed to us. Our job is to pray in agreement with what God has said about our purpose and his plan for preparing us for our purpose.
4. Purpose and your job are not always the same thing.
Sometimes the job we do as a career can be the same thing as our purpose, the thing God created us to do in the kingdom. A great example of this that comes to mind is Dallas Jenkins, the person who created the series The Chosen. I don’t know what Dallas’ purpose is so I’m only using this as an example of what it can look like when someone’s career and purpose are the same.
Dallas is an American film and television director, writer and a film producer. He’s produced some short films and some feature length films, and in 2018 he released a television drama based on the life of Jesus Christ that he created, directed and co-wrote. That’s his ministry.
Another example could be a surgeon. We need people in the medical profession who believe in the healing power of Jesus and who have faith in the success of complicated procedures that other surgeons would discount and not perform. Spirit-filled doctors are able to use the physical needs of people to introduce them to their spiritual needs. That’s ministry and purpose.
On the other hand...
There are some people whose job can be a source of support for their purpose. This is my current testimony. You may or may not know that I am a lawyer by profession. This year makes ten years that I have been practicing law full time as an attorney. I enjoy it. It pulls on a lot of my skills and some of my gifts, but it is far from my purpose.
My purpose on the other hand has nothing to do with law, but I am able to use income from my job to support the things I do in my purpose. I spend a good amount of money creating and facilitating things as I teach others how to discover their purpose. For example: podcasting is not free but it’s one of many things I provide to others for free. That is a choice.
There are many ways to monetize a podcast and require people to pay to subscribe in order to access the content but I am committed to keeping the podcast content free. That means that someone has to pay the expenses for it. That someone is me, through the support from the income I earn from my job.
Jesus was a carpenter by trade which is different from his purpose.
5. Purpose isn’t about you.
This one is probably tough to digest as well but if you have been following me for a while, then you have heard me say this before. Purpose is what we are called to do here on earth and when we act according to the impulse and conviction we have to pursue it, we find meaning and fulfillment. People are striving to be fulfilled in life and until they walk in their purpose they will never have it.
This makes it really easy for us to think that our purpose is about us, but it isn’t. I want to share a scriptural text with you that will shed further light on this.
Let's explore this scripture...
This scripture is from a letter from the apostle Paul to the church in Corinth. He was basically checking them in this letter because they had allowed worldliness to enter the church there. They had become more concerned with spiritual gifts and the manifestation of God’s power in them that weren’t loving one another properly, among other things.
So here, Paul was addressing their behavior. He called them out for allowing envy and strife among them because they started to identify with different leaders and separate themselves according to who they followed, telling each other, “Oh I belong to Paul” or “I belong to Apollos.” Kinda like we tend to today when we immerse ourselves into the identity of our spiritual leaders, especially when those leaders have large platforms.
Paul and Apollos were two men walking in the Purpose God assigned them and they were demonstrating God’s power while doing it. Not only did they need each other but they also needed God.
Their purpose was about the people they were serving and the God who empowered them to meet the needs of those people.
This can be confusing to people looking at them because Paul and Apollos were extremely popular in the church in Corinth. Think TD Jakes, Joel Osteem, Sarah Jakes Roberts, and Mike Todd level of popularity.
The point Paul is making...
…is that we’re merely operating in a role God assigned to us, but it’s God who is actually doing the work. We’re just his coworkers. So yes, Purpose benefits us but it isn’t really ABOUT us. Paul brings this point home when he says, “According to God’s grace that was given to me, I have laid a foundation as a skilled master builder, and another builds on it. But each one is to be careful how he builds on it. For no one can lay any foundation other than what has been laid down. That foundation is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:10–11 CSB
Purpose is God’s thing that he does through us. It helps to keep this in the forefront of our minds.
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