Who are you, where did you come from, and why are you here? Every one of us has a deep sense of destiny buried deep within us. This destiny has to be awakened and sought after in each of us. If you are not walking towards your destiny, there will be a sense of unrest and confusion in your life.
People today suffer from a profound lack of purpose. They think their lives are meaningless, but in reality their suffering stems from unknowingly deviating from God’s purpose for them. The manifestations of this deviation include depression, anxiety, restlessness, and hedonism.
No one alive today is meant to just live a normal life. That is not why we are here. Every one of us has been sent to this earth with a calling, a purpose, and a destiny in God. In 2 Timothy 1:9, Paul says that God “hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”
You were given a purpose before you even came to this earth. You were given both a destiny and everything to fulfill that destiny. Both your purpose and every situation and resource you would require to fulfill it was set aside for you.
There are many examples in the Bible of individuals who God knew and who were given an assignment before they were born.
Christ. The Lord Jesus’ birth was designated for a specific time from the beginning. Before the creation of the world, his divine mission was appointed. Prophets were told of his sacrifice in vision long before he was ever born. He came and did exactly what was foretold, fulfilling the many prophecies recorded in scripture to the letter. These details included where he would be born, how he would conduct his ministry, what he would do, how he would die, and how he would be resurrected.
Jeremiah. God said to Jeremiah, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5) Long before he was born, God knew Jeremiah. He knew exactly what he would do in this life, and Jeremiah knew it as well. He was born at exactly the right time and place to accomplish his mission.
Cyrus. Cyrus is a very interesting example because he was not a believer. Yet God arranged all his circumstances so that he could fulfill his divine purpose as a deliverer of Israel. God said this about him: “For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.” (Isaiah 45:4) Isaiah wrote this at least 300 years before this man was born! Similarly, God described the reign and exploits of Alexander the Great hundreds of years before he was born (Daniel 8), and told Abraham what would happen to Israel over the next 300 years (Genesis 15). God truly knows all things from the beginning!
These people are not exceptional. God knew all of his children before they were born on this earth. The sons of God existed before this earth was created (Job 38:4-7). You were known before you were born. You existed before you were born. God knew you, and you knew of God. You came here with a purpose—with an assignment, and with a destiny.
Like these individuals, we all have a purpose here. Our task, like theirs, is to discover what it is. This is necessary because we do not remember our existence before our birth here on earth. God discusses this mystery with Job in Job chapter 38. He asks Job where he was when the earth and heavens were created, and what he remembers of how it was done. He says that the sons of God were well aware of these things (v. 7), and suggests that Job was there (v. 21). This was a humbling experience for Job, who had to admit that he knew nothing of it, and therefore should trust that God in his appointed—albeit difficult—life.
If you believe God has a specific mission for you in this life, how will you find out what it is? There are two parts to each person’s destiny. The first part is our overarching purpose in life. Everyone has a shared general purpose in life, which is to be be “conformed to the image of [God’s] son.” (Romans 8:29) This mission is well described in the scriptures. Each of us has the responsibility and privilege to learn of the Lord Jesus and become like him. Additionally, this generation has a shared special destiny to prepare for the Lord’s second coming by sharing the gospel and faithfully living through the tribulations of the end times. It is a great honor to be chosen to live in this generation. God worked it so that you would be alive in this last generation. Many great men saw this day, and many of them wanted to be here. King David, Isaiah, Joel, Jeremiah, and many others were shown and wrote about our day. This generation is a special generation of destiny because it is the last generation before the Lord returns.
The second part of our mission is this life are the specifics that God wants us to accomplish—the part of our mission that is just for us. This is the calling that “was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” (2 Timothy 1:9) How do you find out what that is?
Sometimes, God can tell us of our calling out of the blue, as we are doing our normal work. This happened to James and John:
And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. (Matthew 4:21)
This also happened to Paul:
3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. (Acts 9)
Many times, God slowly reveals our mission in waves. He draws us to him, reminding us of what we promised to do before we were born. The Lord told Jeremiah that he had been drawn to him for a long time. “The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying: I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore with a lovingkindness I have drawn you.” (Jeremiah 31:3) God loved Jeremiah before he was born, and prepared him for his mission. He draws us to him through the Holy Ghost. To increase the strength of his call, so that we can hear him and do what he calls us to do, we must surrender our lives to him. This opens the door to his voice to tell us what to do.
We see this in the life of Moses. As a little baby, he was saved from death. He grew up in Pharaoh’s palace:
And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. (Exodus 2:11)
The palace of Pharaoh was all Moses knew from a baby. But something stirred within him. One day, he saw an Egyptian beating one of his brethren. While he was watching this scene, something happened on the inside. Something moved inside him. God placed a desire on his heart. He wanted to do something about the situation of his brethren. Initially, he got it wrong. He killed the Egyptian. But this moved him with compassion. It was how the Lord awakened the pre-appointed mission in Moses heart.
22 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.
23 And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel.
24 And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian:
25 For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not.
26 And the next day he shewed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another?
27 But he that did his neighbour wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us?
28 Wilt thou kill me, as thou diddest the Egyptian yesterday?
29 Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Madian, where he begat two sons. (Acts 7)
What makes you come alive in this life? Where is God’s pull on your life? What is it that moves you? What is it that makes you cry? Something deep within you stirs during those times. That is God’s pull upon your life.
There is another way we can learn of God’s mission for us. How was Isaiah called to fulfill his earthly mission? “Also, I heard the voice of the Lord saying, who will I send and who will go for me? Then he said, here am I Lord, send me.” (Isaiah 6:8) Isaiah heard God saying, “Who will go for me?” Isaiah heard and felt the heartbeat of God. He felt what was on God’s heart. He said, “Lord, I will go.” He just volunteered. God looked at Isaiah, and said, “Ok, you can go.” He heard what God was after, and what was upon his heart. He was moved on the inside. He said, “I will go for you.” We need to continually offer ourselves to God. If Isaiah hadn’t surrendered to God, he would not be interested in volunteering to fulfill his desires. We need to continually come before God and say, “Lord I will fulfill my destiny. Show me what it is.”
Another way we can be called is through another servant of God. This is how David received his earthly mission.
And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither. (1 Samuel 16:11)
David was sovereignly chosen by God. That came through a prophetic word to him through Samuel. Sometimes it happens that way. It can be through a word of prophecy over your life.
Another way God can call you is through a dream. Joseph’s call came this way.
One thing we need to understand. Between the call of God and the commissioning of God into that call, there is a period of preparation. The call of God is one thing. Then there has to be preparation to fulfill that call. When we’ve gone through that preparation time, there will come another time when God commissions you into the call. Moses’ mission did not begin the moment he felt the call. He spent forty years in the wilderness before he was ready to fulfill that calling. He had to be prepared.
Many times, our prior life experiences, which sometimes seem a matter of chance, end up being a crucial part of the preparation, either in terms of skill and knowledge or circumstance. Paul said that “all things work together for good to them that love God.” (Romans 8:28) Joseph’s story was a good example of this. Joseph’s story is a wonderful example of this. He was almost killed by his brothers, sold as a slave into Egypt, and falsely imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. Yet, after being promoted to the second most powerful man in Egypt, and working a mighty miracle that saved countless people, he recognized God’s hand in setting up the circumstances where he could accomplish his mission. He told his brothers: “Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.” In chapter 45:7 he said: “And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.”
(This essay is based on two sermons on the topic of destiny by Rev. Neville Johnson)