What is your purpose?
By Bill Wilks
What is your purpose? Do you know? Many people struggle to know what their purpose in life really is. They travel through life without a clear sense of direction.
It is very important to find clarity on this. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, there is one person who can tell you what your purpose in life is. He is your Lord and He speaks with great authority.
According to Jesus, your purpose in life is one main thing. It is two words—MAKE DISCIPLES.
Jesus has called us to a life of making and multiplying disciples. The problem is that genuine disciple-making is not a strength for many Christians or churches. We should be greatly concerned about this.
There are a couple of thoughts to consider.
First, there is a common misconception about discipleship. Many think of discipleship as either evangelism or teaching. Discipleship does involve evangelism, but is not evangelism alone. Likewise it involves teaching, but it is not teaching alone. We must not separate the two. The disciplining process of Jesus joined together both evangelism and teaching in a relational small group environment that included mentoring and accountability.
Second, we need a process of multiplication for discipleship. Few believers today live a lifestyle of reproducing disciples. Most churches do not have a simple process for equipping believers to make and multiply disciples. Rarely do churches have any ministries at all that are truly multiplying. For the most part, we are attempting to reach the world by addition and we cannot keep pace. Jesus’ plan for world evangelization was not one of addition, but one of exponential kingdom growth through the remarkable process of multiplication. This is why, in His three short years of ministry,
Jesus literally poured Himself into the discipleship of twelve men. He invested His life into twelve ordinary men who would continually reproduce as trained disciple makers and have a significant impact on the world for God’s kingdom.
In Mark 3:13-15, Jesus officially began His personal journey of making disciples and modeling a lifestyle of discipleship. The Bible says, “And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those whom He desired, and they came to Him. And He appointed twelve (whom He also named apostles) so that they might be with Him and He might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons.”
At the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, He called together a rather ordinary group of men to be His first disciples. They were not highly educated or greatly gifted. Jesus chose common people to be His first disciples to show us that anybody can live a life of discipleship.
Here we see that making disciples is Christ-like. The bulk of Jesus’ three-year public ministry was involved in His personal investment in these twelve men. He intentionally trained them to be disciples who would go out and make other disciples.
The first command of Christ to His followers is found in Matthew 4:19. Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” This was Jesus’ way of communicating to a group of fishermen that He was calling them to a lifestyle of making and multiplying disciples.
The last command of Jesus to His followers is found in Matthew 28:18-20. In His resurrected body, just before He ascended back into heaven, Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
We refer this passage of Scripture as “The Great Commission,” and Jesus’ commission is emphatically clear. In the Greek, there is only one verb in the Great Commission. Jesus commanded us to “make disciples.” The Great Commission is not a great suggestion! It’s a command. It is the one main thing Jesus has called all of His followers to do. As followers of Christ, our lives should involve a never-ending process of making disciples who make disciples. This is our supreme purpose in life.
From Jesus, we learn that true discipleship is not a program. It is a lifestyle. By reading the four Gospels, we learn there are six practices of lifestyle discipleship that Jesus modeled for us. Jesus’ process of discipleship involved fellowship, teaching, prayer, ministry, multiplication, and accountability. Jesus modeled all six of these practices in the highly relational environment of a small discipleship group.
You may be asking, “How can I live this lifestyle?” “How can I live out my supreme purpose in life?” “Am I really able to do this?” In your own strength and ability, you are not able. You must believe that Jesus will empower you to do what He has called you to do. You can be certain that He will be with you and He will empower for this purpose.
As lead pastor of NorthPark Church in Trussville, discipleship is my purpose and my passion. I feel a great responsibility to equip believers for a life of discipleship. This is the great mission of our church family and I believe it should be for every church. We must realize that every single life has the potential to reach our world for Christ through a lifestyle of making and multiplying disciples.
The tool we use to equip believers for this purpose is called D-Life. D-Life is a simple, biblical, and intentional process for equipping all believers for a life of discipleship. The goal of D-Life is to see a global grassroots disciple-making movement. For more on D-Life go to: www.livethedlife.com.
It future articles, I will share more about Jesus’ six practices of discipleship and how we as common people can live out our supreme purpose in life.
Dr. Bill Wilks is the lead pastor at NorthPark Church in Trussville.