Excerpted from ‘Summoned’ (Moody)
By Megan Brown
I remember having a conversation with a pastor from my home church a few years ago. We were discussing the idea of living with purpose. The phrase “living with purpose,” or “walking out your purpose,” is one that I hear often in women’s ministry.
I was frustrated because church people, particularly women, were obsessed with “finding their purpose.” Women would constantly struggle with what God was calling them to do or be. They would spend hours scouring self-help books or listening to podcasts by women who apparently had figured it out.
He said something that helped me clarify how to respond to these women who were steeped in concepts like destiny. He said, “God rarely reveals his unknown will to those who are not already walking in his known will.”
Here is what I’m trying to say. When we are more concerned with finding our purpose, not finding God’s purposes, we will always miss the mark. God has given us his Word, a revelation of himself, his will and his ways. The Bible is our answer book, specifically our answer to the question of What does God want me to do? He calls us to know him, love him and share him.
Is there something you know God wants you to do that you just haven’t been able to?
I was talking with a woman who had regularly attended our weekly Bible study. As we were drinking coffee and talking about different aspects of life, she blurted out, “I wish God would just tell me what he wants me to do!” She was discouraged. She had grown up in the church and spent her life around people who seemed to have it all together, and the primary focus in her life was her inability to “live up to her purpose.”
I’m going to ask you the same questions I asked her.
Are you part of a local church?
Are you in his Word regularly, spending quality time with him?
If you are married, do you understand the call to biblical marriage, seeking to serve with and alongside your spouse?
If you are a parent, are you willingly shepherding your children?
Is there a sense of urgency in your life when it comes to sharing the redemptive story of Jesus?
These are all things that we know God is calling us to do. We should be active members, living and breathing parts, of a local church. We should prioritize our time to sit at the feet of our God, listening intently to hear him speak through his Word. Our hearts should be fixed on our spouses, understanding that marriage is an institution that gives God glory. And we should be striving to raise our children to know and love the Lord. Likewise, we know that it is the calling of every believer to be and make disciples. Rather than making God fit into our plans, we should figure out how we fit into his plans.
So many times, we beg God for opportunities to serve him in ways that cater to our own self-importance. We want to write bestsellers or speak on a stage before the multitudes, but we haven’t even begun to walk within his known will for each of us. The point of asking all these questions is not to overwhelm or bring shame, but to put in right perspective the heart of God. He is already giving us many opportunities to serve him in our daily lives. Have we answered his invitation?
In Esther’s case, she is being given the opportunity to serve God in a big way, by taking her own life into her hands. She is being summoned by a heavenly King to go unsummoned before an earthly one.
Is this truly the kind of opportunity we would want to ask God for?
The message in his Bible study is not “Be brave like Esther” or “Be the queen God meant you to be.”
Rather, this Bible study is an ardent call for us to examine our own hearts and find that we, like the characters in Scripture are, more often than not, self-centered and self-focused.
Esther was consumed by the thought that her intervention may lead to her immediate demise and, like many of us if faced with the same scenario, she hesitated to move.
How can you be walking in God’s known will this week?
What is one area where you will be more committed to focusing?
Do you anticipate any obstacles in responding to God in this way?
Take a moment to pray over this area in your life, asking God to bless it or grow it. Ask him to walk with you as you seek his will.
Excerpted from Summoned: Answering a Call to the Impossible: An 8 Week Study of Esther by Megan B. Brown (© 2021). Published by Moody Publishers. Used by permission.