You have a purpose and that purpose needs to be protected. 1 Peter 5:8 warns us to, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” The good news according to 2 Corinthians 2:11 is that “…we are not unaware of [the devils] schemes.” The enemy has overplayed his hand. Whatever he’s trying to do today to devour peoples purpose, he’s tried before. In this article your going to learn how to protect your purpose as well as identify and eliminate threats to your purpose. (To learn how to discover your purpose, click here)
The first thing you need to know…
The first thing you need to know is that purpose protection begins with subtraction.
More than likely there are already things in your life that if allowed to stay would hinder your ability to discover and fulfill your God given purpose. Things like entitlement, jealousy, insecurity, selfishness, ego, etc. The process of pulling these things out of your heart can at times get tough, but if you’re serious about protecting your purpose, you have to submit to God’s process of subtraction. Of all the toxic elements that can hinder your ability to walk in your purpose, hands down, the most deadly is pride.
Nothing will poison your purpose and put a lid on your life as quickly as pride. Pride is purpose poison.
Pride is to your purpose what cancer is to the body. It consumes you from the inside out and places invisible lids on your life. I’ve seen pride destroy families, marriages, ministries, and companies. Pride is the only disease known to man where everyone is aware of it’s presence except for the one who has it.
[shareable cite=”@PastorTHall”]Pride is the only disease known to man where everyone is aware of it’s presence except for the one who has it.[/shareable]
Pride makes you unteachable. It keeps you from asking important questions because pride always assumes it already has all the answers. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall” and James 4:6 says, “…GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”
I don’t know about you, but for me it’s not just the thought of missing out on a dose of God’s grace that scares me most; it’s the reality that when I embrace pride – God personally begins to oppose me. Could it be that some of the doors that have started closing in your life isn’t because people are against you, but because you’ve embraced pride and so God’s lifted his grace and He is personally opposing you. I don’t know about you, but of all the positions I don’t want to be in, in opposition to the one true God has got to be at the top of that list. And let me be clear – the reason God opposes you isn’t because He’s your enemy. It’s because pride has put you on the path of destruction and so He opposes you to protect you from you.
Pride will tell us that we know more than we really know and will often times convince us that we’re more qualified than we really are. Pride doesn’t just keep you from learning new things, it will eventually dilute your ability to do the things that you used to do really well. Nothing will help you find you a place on God’s shelf quicker (and longer) than pride. It shrinks your world and has the ability to keep a qualified person contained.
If you’re serious about protecting your purpose then you have to also be serious about addressing any and all pride in your life.
The second thing you need to know is that protecting your purpose will require you to establish clearly defined boundaries around 3 nonnegotiable areas of your life.
1 – You have to establish boundaries around your heart.
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
You’ve got to guard your heart from bitterness, unforgiveness, resentment, pride, jealousy, and offense. If you’re serious about protecting your purpose, you can’t let just anyone gain access to your heart.
If you’re married, part of establishing boundaries around your heart means making sure you’re staying faithful to your spouse and not building inappropriate romantic relationships at the office or secretly on social media. If you’re single this means it means that you’re careful about who you date. To take this a step further, if you’re a follower of Christ, guarding your heart means that you wouldn’t even consider dating someone that doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus because your purpose is at stake the scriptures are clear that that kind of relationship would never be part of God’s plan for your life (2 Corinthians 6:14).
Guarding your heart means keeping it free and clear of any and all bitterness, jealousy, offense, and unforgiveness. It means you’re not going to let yourself build an emotional attachment with anything or anyone that could potentially lure you away from God’s ordained purpose for your life.
If you’re serious about protecting your purpose, you have to establish boundaries around your heart.
2 – You have to establish boundaries around your thought life.
You have starting thinking about what you’re thinking about.
Most of the battles you fight in life will be fought between your ears. If you want to protect your purpose, you have to protect your thought life.
In 2 Corinthians 10:5 the Apostle Paul said, “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,”
In the pursuit of your purpose, the enemy will bombard you with thoughts of discouragement, defeat, and condemnation (read more about mental strongholds here). He’ll tell you that you’re not good enough. He’ll tell you that you might as well quit. He’ll tell you that you’re too old, too young, too inexperienced, or that you’ve made too many mistakes to ever fulfill your God given purpose.
But Satan is a liar.
The bible says that we’re supposed to take those thought captive and make them obedient to Christ. In other words, if you’re going to protect your mind against the attack of the enemy, you’ll have to learn how to fight off those toxic thoughts with the word of God. Take those thoughts captive and replace them with the truth of God’s word. Truth like Romans 8:37 that says, “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” or Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” One of my personal favorites is Romans 8:31, “…If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Replace every self limiting thought with the truth of God’s word by declaring God’s promises over your own life. You’ve got to decide which thoughts you’re going to entertain. Are you going to replay that offense over and over again in your mind or are you going to take that thought captive?
Our life tends to move in the direction of our thoughts and it’s hard to move into the future if we’re always thinking about our past. So, think about what you’re thinking about.
Philippians 4:8 says it this way, “… Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
If you’re going to protect your purpose you have to establish boundaries around your thought life.
(To read about the 5 Toxic Thoughts that Can Keep You Stuck in Life and Leadership, click here).
3 – You have to establish boundaries around your time.
Psalm 39:4 says, “Show me, LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.”
Time is a precious commodity. It’s short and fleeting. We all get the same 24 hours in a day and how we invest that time will greatly determine our ability to discover, develop, and protect our purpose. If you don’t intentionally manage your time, others will do that for you. Are you using a planner or daily calendar to plan your week/days? Or are you just waiting for life to happen? You can’t pursue your purpose until you’re committed to doing life on purpose and doing life on purpose means planning out your weeks and days.
One of the most well known titles held by Satan is – thief. One of the things he loves of steal most is our time because he understand it’s value so very well. Honestly, sometimes I think he understands the value of time better than we do.
And he’s often stealing our time and postponing our purpose without us even knowing it. He does this by presenting us with what I call “attractive distractions.” He custom tailors these distractions based on our own personal weaknesses. Below, I want to wrap up this articling by highlighting two of the most common distractions that keep people from walking in their purpose.
1 – The first attractive distraction is: Living to please people.
If you’re serious about your purpose you’re going to have to learn the art of saying “no.”
Not every opportunity that comes along is God’s will for your life. If you say yes to every good thing you’ll never be in position to say yes to the God thing (your purpose) that’s coming. You can’t effectively protect your time without learning to say no.
Will some people get disappointed from time to time? Absolutely. You will disappoint people from time to time, but you just have to learn how to be okay with that. Those people can’t fulfill your purpose for you and you can’t fulfill their purpose for them. In Galatians 1:10 the Apostle Paul said it this way, “… If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”And Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.”
Living to please people is a trap that will hold your purpose captive to the opinions of others. Initially its an attractive distraction because you like the idea of everyone liking you, but news flash: as you start walking in your purpose not everyone is going to like you. The sooner you accept this fact the sooner you can get your joy back, be yourself again, and start walking in your purpose.
And by the way – you don’t need the approval of your critics to be successful and fulfill your purpose.
Instead of living to please everyone – live to please one – Jesus.
2 – The Second Attractive Distraction the enemy will use to steal your time is what I call “Entertainment Gluttony.”
Entertainment Gluttony is what happens when life gets out of balance and you go from investing your time into meaningful things to wasting it on things that have absolutely no ROI (return on investment).
Before I go any further, let me stop here and say that I’m a huge fan of entertainment – in moderation. I like watching football and basketball. My wife and I don’t miss an episode of This Is Us and we love The Blacklist (oh yeah – and Andy Griffith and Little House on the Prairie…don’t judge me!).
We have our shows, but our shows don’t have us. Entertainment itself isn’t a problem it’s the lack of boundaries around it that becomes an issue, because anything that doesn’t have boundaries will eventually become bondage.
[shareable cite=”@PastorTHall”]Anything that doesn’t have boundaries will eventually become bondage.[/shareable]
For example: If you’re serious about protecting your purpose you may have ask yourself, “Am I going to waste 8 hours in front of this gaming console, or will I use this time to develop my purpose and build meaningful relationships with the people in my life?” Or “Am I going to veg out in front of the TV/laptop for 12 hours straight or am I going to really work on my vision for life, fill out that collage application, get organized, read a book that will help me grow, or invest some more time into my relationship with God?” (To learn more about purpose development, click here).
More and more it seems like I’m watching the purpose of a lot of gifted people get pulled off track by a screen of some sort; a TV screen, a phone screen, or a computer screen.
Have you established boundaries to protect your time? Just like you need to know how you’re going to spend or invest your money, you need to know how and where you’re going to spend or invest your time. Remember, people of purpose do life on purpose.
If you’re serious about protecting your purpose you’ll need to remember that:
- Purpose protection begins with subtraction; getting the toxic stuff out of your life.
- Protecting your purpose will require you to deal with any and all pride in your life.
- You have to establish boundaries around 3 nonnegotiable areas of your life:
- Your heart.
- Your mind.
- Your time.