What can happen when you wake up and live your purpose? by Lisa Kai
Do you want to be a child of God who GETS UP and is able to get things done?
Acts 9:36-43 portrays the beautiful story of a woman named Tabitha (also called Dorcas in Greek) who was “always doing good and helping the poor.” What a legacy! With just a few simple but powerful words, this Bible passage sums up her life. Tabitha was a woman who refused to hit the snooze button and let the enemy deceive her into remaining oblivious to the world around her. She was always—not sometimes . . . or only when she felt like it . . . but always—doing good. Tabitha knew who she was and used her talent of sewing to meet the needs of those around her, whether clothing the widows or giving part of her earnings to bless the poor in the city of Joppa. I would love to have met Tabitha, just to have the opportunity to talk with her. What a selfless woman she must have been, using her gifts to help those in need. The loss of her life would have been a loss to the community. Tabitha had a purpose to fulfill, and she had no intention of letting the enemy lull her to sleep.
Fully awake with eyes wide open, she lived out that purpose and, as a result, got things done.
Sadly, Tabitha became sick one day and eventually died, causing the widows to tearfully reminisce about the robes and other clothing she had made for them while still alive. At the insistence of the disciples, Peter went to see Tabitha. When he arrived at her upstairs room, Peter got on his knees to pray and commanded Tabitha to get up! She opened her eyes and sat up. Peter helped her to her feet so that she was presented to the believers, especially the widows, very much alive. I can only imagine how much more Tabitha must have done for her community once she realized that one day, she would not be here on earth to do good.
Some of us are still spiritually asleep. Like Tabitha and Lazarus, we must get up and get on our feet if we are to fulfill the purposes God has for our lives. If you were given a second chance in life, how would you serve your community? Would you do something different? Would you strive to always do good? God calls us to get things done while we still have breath and strength.
Are you getting things done for Jesus? What are you doing with the gifts God has given you? Are you using them to always do good and serve others in your family, neighborhood, church, community, city, state or country? There will come a day when you meet Jesus face to face, and He will ask you this very question. “And all were judged according to their deeds (works),” (Revelation 20:13, NLT).
Will you, like Tabitha, be able to say that you always did good with what God has given you?
I am adamant about using the gifts God has so graciously given each of us today as we work and serve others while we are here on earth—not tomorrow, next week or next month but today. In 2 Timothy 1:6 (NIV), Paul encouraged Timothy to “fan into flame the gift of God.”
If a campfire is left unattended long enough, it begins to smolder or dwindle down to embers until you blow fresh oxygen over them to fan the flames. This introduction of fresh air causes the fire to reignite, producing warmth that radiates throughout the campsite.
When we neglect the gifts that God has given us, it is as if we are leaving our fires unattended until they eventually burn out and are no longer useful. We forget that God has equipped us with all the gifts necessary to fulfill His unique purpose for our lives. Only when we allow the Holy Spirit to breathe a fresh wind over our gifts and fan the flames are we able to meet the needs of those around us. Perhaps we have allowed the enemy to blind us, so we only see the gifts in others, but not ourselves. Maybe you are unaware of the gifts God has equipped you with to get things done. First Peter 4:10 (NIV) urges, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
What are these spiritual gifts, and how can we determine the gifts God has placed in our lives? First Corinthians 12:7-11 mentions some of these gifts as wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, tongues and interpretation of tongues. In Romans 12:6-8, we learn that other spiritual gifts include prophecy, service, teaching, encouragement, giving, leadership and mercy. Other gifts in action mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:28 include apostles, prophets, teachers, miracle workers, healers, helpers and those who guide and speak in tongues.
What we must remember is that each of us has gifts unique to us.
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. —1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (NIV)
When identifying your spiritual gifts, it is important to surround yourself with believers who can see what you cannot see and are able to point out gifts that are evident in your life. If we are going to get things done for God, we must be willing to not only call out the gifts we see in one another but also inspire others to operate in those gifts. We must spend time with God, reading His Word and asking Him to reveal and make clear the gifts He has given us.
If we are to use our gifts to get things done, we must guard against wasting our time on
meaningless activities that distract us from our calling and assignment. What are some of these meaningless things that steal away our time? One of the biggest weapons the enemy uses to distract us from getting things done is our relationships—the ones that will not take us to where we need to be. There are two types of relationships that can become stumbling blocks to our getting up and getting things done: courtships and friendships.
Courtship Or “More Than A Friend” Group
How do you know if you are dating someone who is a distraction? Eventually you will begin to notice he is doing his own thing and leaving you out. You will find yourself complaining, “I just wish he would lead us spiritually instead of me always having to pray and share my devotions.” The Bible is clear that we should not be teaming up with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14). Well, what if the person you are dating is a Christian and a really nice guy? At the end of the day, is this someone who is going to lead you to what God is calling the both of you to do? Or is he wasting your time and forcing you to put your calling on the shelf, so he can do what he wants to do, and you are just along for the ride? I am not saying it is wrong to follow someone you love, but you must ensure the person is leading you in God’s direction for your life.
If you are not married and are already questioning this “nice guy” or complaining about his lack of spiritual guidance, you have an opportunity to make a U-turn and adjust the path that you are on right now. I could go on and on about this, but you get my heart. I promise you; you will thank me later when you are married to the one God has chosen for you—the person who encourages you to use your gifts to get things done. I am being optimistic for your sake—get out of the relationship now!
What if you are married, and your spouse is not aligned to God’s purposes for your life? Let me encourage you to keep your vows and ask God to work on your heart. Pray that God will help you learn to be content but never complacent in your marriage. Find ways to work together and ask God to help you encourage your spouse so that he operates in his gifts and grows in his walk with the Lord. You are a team, and you must stick together as a team. Do not allow the enemy to distract you into engaging in things that ultimately tear you and your marriage apart. Find a ministry where you both can serve together and use your gifts to further God’s kingdom as husband and wife.
We all need friends, but which circle of friends encourages and helps you get to where God is calling you? I have learned over the years that all of the friends in our friendship circles matter. You may have a circle of friends with whom you hang out when you want to have fun and another circle that supports you as you build your family.
But do you have a circle of friends that challenges you to new heights and helps you expand your vision? These friends may not necessarily be older but are ahead of you in their calling or careers. These friends are role models because they are getting things done by operating in God’s calling and using their gifts to make a difference. We need all of these friendship circles because they each play an important role as we journey through life.
What happens when you are stuck with friends who continually disappoint or criticize you or remain complacent with life because they continue with old habits and refuse to change? These are people who do not understand you are growing in your faith and want to believe there is more to life than what this friend group has to offer. While I realize I can have many friends, my closest circle is made up of those friends who inspire and encourage me to live out my best life as a woman, wife, mother and friend. I want to surround myself with friends who help me see things I have never seen before—people who will be an influence on my future and cheer for me as I reach my full potential in Christ.
Develop the kinds of friends who help you to be “perfectly you.” Sound familiar? Sadly, people are so committed to their friendships that they sacrifice their calling, potential and gifts just so they can remain in those friendship circles. If your friends are not adding to your life but only taking from you, perhaps it is time you reevaluate those relationships.
There is one final group that I consider meaningless because it takes away time from your getting things done—your social media or fan group. You follow a person or group, and suddenly you feel like you have a new friend when in reality, you are just part of their fan group. They want you to like them and become a fan not because they want to be your friend but simply so they can gain more popularity.
I am not knocking social media. I have joined several social media sites and believe in their purpose to connect people from across the globe. The problem is that social media can become a huge distraction to getting up and getting things done when all you see is what the world wants you to see. You allow the enemy to deceive you into believing that you must act or look a certain way to be successful. You forget your identity in Christ and become suckered into buying beauty products that promise to enhance your looks but fail to deliver.
I believe we have become so unhappy with how we look and what we have because we continue comparing ourselves to those perfectly happy people on social media. We, once again, close our eyes to the truth and see only what people want us to see. How many people actually share their struggles on social media or post pictures that are unfiltered and possibly unflattering? Not many! Most of the posts on social media show the good times, celebrations or major milestones. Media can drive you to the point of stress, anxiety, frustration and unhappiness as you compare your life with those who appear to look better, seem to have more, or act as if they feel happier. I get that we can find amazing information on social media, read encouraging stories and discover data that we need, but let us not become so distracted that we forget who we are in Christ. It is OK to be a fan, but remember that your fan friend is different from your inner circle of friends who will be there for you in good and bad times.
When you are up and wide awake, you will realize that relationships and friendships can either move you toward God’s purposes for your life or hinder your potential, keeping you from getting things done. Like Tabitha, you were designed with a specific purpose that only you can do. You were created to accomplish a whole lot more than you realize and equipped with gifts unique to you. Would you believe me if I told you that the greatest potential lies within you because you are destined to do mighty and amazing things for the kingdom?
When you get UP, you get things done! Knowing that you are empowered to get things done, how will you strategize your day, week or even your life? What will your checklist look like? If you made a list of everything God is calling you to do, you probably would not be able to accomplish everything in your lifetime. My desire is that you live out your full potential in Christ so that you can look back on your life and say, “Wow, I am so glad I took myself out of that relationship, friendship or mindset that said I have to be like everyone else instead of being perfectly me.”
My friend, let me encourage you to get up, open your eyes and like Tabitha, get things done that only you can do. Get going and stay awake because you have too much that God wants you to do in this lifetime.
This article was extracted from issue 8 of Thrive Today! Journal (Winter 2023).