I work with sportsmen and women who compete at an elite level. At this level one of the defining characteristics is confidence, the assurance you can deliver during the tough times of competition. One cannot achieve greatness without confidence, but the need for confidence is of pitted against humility, especially if you come from a church background. In the Bible humility and greatness walk hand-in-hand. True humility is fully connected to being rewarded. Most of us know Matthew 23:12 says that “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” So the act of humility is the very pathway to promotion, but for some reason the church has built shame around the concept of reward. It’s become a dirty word. In many people’s minds, the goal of being rewarded, successful, or even glorious, is one that we should remove from our hearts for fear that we would become independent and prideful. But even Jesus achieved greatness for the sake of reward: “For the joy set before Him He endured the cross,” (Hebrews 12:12). If Jesus was against us being great then He would not have given us the key to greatness; humility. So if we may be great, but humility is the key, how do we remain humble? Here are a couple of suggestions: Stay connected to your people. A humble heart is teachable, influenceable and open to correction. This only comes when we are connected to people we trust, people we know that loves us enough to speak the truth to us, because they care about us. Focus on growth rather than achieving. Greatness cannot be achieved with what we know now or our current abilities, which means we have to grow. A growth mindset does not always seek to be right, but is open to correction, it even seeks out the advice of others. It is open to admit mistakes, flaws and failures, but instead of getting offended, it looks to learn, to improve, to grow. Enjoy the privilege to strive for greatness. Just striving for greatness sets you apart from the vast majority of society. This is something to be deeply grateful for and therefor humility is always flavoured with gratitude. It acknowledges that the talent and opportunity is a gift from God and it acknowledges it. But it therefore celebrate others’ successes and lives for a bigger purpose than just self. Do the small things. You will know you are in trouble when you begin to think that something is beneath you to do. The conviction that something is born out of entitlement, thinking you deserve it and very quickly leads us to think that the world owes us something. It does not. You and I are destined for greatness, but humility is the key. There is so much freedom in being confident in our abilities and having peace about our flaws. If you are not sure whether you are humble, just read through the suggestions and ask God’s Holy Spirit to show you if you are battling in any of the areas and then practice the suggestion. We need you to be great, to impact your environment, to change our world. So be great, stay humble and make a difference.
I had a friend years ago who told me that before he went to university he had a sense that he was called to go into the ministry, but he knew that it meant that he would finances would be a problem. Twenty five years later he thought he threw his life away through that one decision. His anguish would not be unfamiliar to you, because you either have a similar story or have been confronted with a decision that seemed so huge that you are scared that you would miss God’s purpose for your life, or you really struggle to decipher what His will is for your life. If this is you, do not worry, I have some good news for you. You probably would have heard this promise that the prophet Jeremiah declared, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11) This promise was given while the Israelites were in exile, but often we miss that whether we translate the word as plans, thoughts, purposes, it is in the plural. There is not a single plan, but many plans, many thoughts, all to bring us to our purpose. I am convinced that we that God has a purpose for your life, but many plans to get you there. If the first one does not work, He goes to plan B, and then C, and then D, until you get to the purpose why you were created. The good news about that is that you cannot mess up God’s plan for your life, because He has many. God is not surprised by the fact that your life is imperfect, or that you make wrong decision. That is why He promised to be with us always, even when we choose the wrong route. Jesus is called the Prince of Peace and when we get panicky under the weight of perfection, of making the right decision, it means that we lost focus of that fact that He is a God of love. God is a good Father, not a task master that requires you to jump through hoops. Remember what the apostle Paul prayed for us, “and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3:17–19). Someone once wrote: “The love of Jesus is multidimensional; it has breadth. It is an extensive, all-encompassing ocean of adoration that covers you in dark seasons and protects you through the night. The love of Jesus has length; it goes the distance. You can’t fall so far that it can’t catch you, run so fast that it can’t get you, or hide so well that it can’t find you. His love is better than your worst day, stronger than the most defiant will, and more forgiving than your cruelest sin. When you give up, love goes on; when you fall down, it picks you up. Love gives courage when you’re afraid, hope when you feel helpless, and strength when you’re weary. Love goes the distance!” But here is the amazing part, the love of God goes further than what we imagine or think. You dream of a family; love dreams of a legacy. You ask for a job; love finds your destiny. You hope for peace; love longs for a ministry. You pray for heaven; love gives you His city. The biggest things you can think or ask for, God’s love goes beyond it. So can you miss God’s plan for your life? No! If you feel the pressure to perform, to be perfect, afraid that you might miss it, remind yourself of that God loves you and has a purpose for your life.
In the church world people often defer to “God’s plan” for our lives. On its surface, it sounds like a “good, Christian” approach to do life. But instead of a singular, pre-mapped path to your final destination, I believe that it is more like a step-by-step process of discovering your purpose. The underlying idea behind God having a plan for your life is that if you follow it, life would be easy, but it is just not the case. The Bible is full of examples where people were in God’s plan, but ended up facing hardship. The fact that you are reading this means you are interested in your destiny and God’s purpose for your life, so make peace with two things; firstly it is not going to be easy, and secondly; it is a process. If you are still interested in your destiny after these two truths, then here are five things you can do to start walking in your destiny today. Begin to do ordinary things in extraordinary ways. When Saul was sent by his father to look for lost donkeys, he didn’t just give up when he couldn’t find them on his own. Instead he sought guidance from the prophet, Samuel, who ended up anointing him as king. His choice to perform this ordinary task in an extraordinary way ultimately led him to his destiny. Today face the ordinary things—the laundry, the administrative tasks in your job, taking out the trash, making your kids’ lunches—with great intention. Be faithful in your current responsibilities. You may be tempted to not take your current job or role seriously, but God is looking for you at your place of responsibility. After the birth of Jesus, angels showed up at the place where the shepherds were keeping watch over their sheep. In the gospels, Jesus came to Peter, Andrew, James, and John where they were fishing and mending their nets and called them to be his disciples. Where God told you to be responsible, that’s where He’s going meet you. If you need to adjust your attitude towards your job then today would be a great day to do that. Learn from everything you do. When David was just a boy tending sheep, he killed a lion and bear with his bare hands when they attacked his flock. When the Israelites were faced with Goliath, David’s confidence in his ability to vanquish the giant won him an audience with the king, and it was his account of defeating the lion and the bear that convinced the king to let David fight Goliath. Like David, the things you are doing at your job now—when no one is looking—are training you for your ultimate destiny. Treat your current job with gratitude as God trains you to defeat your future giants. Do your best, even when you don’t feel like it. In sports, a good team will rise to the occasion and “play up” when going against a stronger team. However, it’s the championship teams, the true winners, that play up all the time, no matter who they are playing. It’s really easy do your absolute best job when you’re feeling passionate, but an extraordinary person does this all the time—even when they don’t feel like it. How can you play up in your current season? Seek His kingdom first. When Jesus brought the Kingdom down to us, He didn’t bring it as another thing to add to our list of jobs and priorities on earth—even if it’s at the top of that list. Rather, it is by and through the Kingdom that everything else in life flows through. He commanded to “seek first the Kingdom and His righteousness and all of these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) If you are seeking His Kingdom, you are not going to miss everything and anything God has for you. He is faithful to honour his word and fulfil his promises. Choose Him above all, and all of these things—including your extraordinary purpose—will be added to you.
Have you ever read the quote from Apple Computer’s “Think Different” marketing campaign: “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” We live in a cookie cutter world where conformity is revered and uniformity is celebrated. But we serve the God of creation, the Maker of an ever expanding universe, Whose Spirit lives in us. We per definition live by faith and faith says there is nothing impossible with God (Luke 1:37). In other words, everything is possible with God! What would happen if we really lived with an “anything is possible” attitude? The world would call us crazy and they may vilify us, but they won’t be able to ignore us. Do yourself a favour and watch the TED Talk by Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Corporation which builds electric cars. Elon is also the founder of SpaceX and his vision is to colonise planet Mars by 2040. The thing that’s different about Elon is that when he had this vision, he didn’t just sit around thinking about it the way most people would. He put actions to his vision and SpaceX has built the most powerful rocket in history! This is just one example of the way that Elon is changing the world. While he was stuck in LA traffic not long ago, he had the idea to build tunnels under Los Angeles and build a hyperloop that would move cars through a tunnel at 200km/h. To put the cherry on top, Mr. Musk is the CEO of SolarCity and his vision is to solve climate change. Why does he do all of this? Because he wants to have a reason to get up every morning and have hope for the future. I think we all have something to learn from this incredible man. Elon Musk is an atheist, so even though he may not realise it he’s only thinking single-dimensionally. He’s limited to the laws of physics, but as Christians we have the manifold wisdom of God which is multidimensional. We can learn from Elon Musk but we can also think on other dimensions! I felt convicted when I thought through this because while Elon is trying to get us to Mars, solve climate change and find ways around traffic, we sit around having a hard time just trying to change one city! What you create doesn’t define you but it does reveal you! The truth is that we’ve got to stop thinking small. We have a mandate to make earth like heaven and to disciple nations, so it’s time we begin to bring heaven to earth! We’re called to transform the world in such a way that when they see our good works they will glorify our Father in heaven. We are the “can do people” and the “all things are possible people.” We’re created to be the kind of people who see bad situations and know that we are called to make a difference. We were born to change the world and bring the Kingdom wherever we go! With God as our X-Factor, let’s live lives that demonstrate the goodness of God on earth as it is in heaven, even if they call us crazy in the end! So think, dream and act big, it is what your Father does!
What I love about Church is that it is tremendously diverse, it is beautiful but testing at the same time. We battle to deal with differences, but because the Church is so diverse, it means there is a tribe for each one of us. If you haven’t found your people yet, look at the following different expression of faith that we find in the Bible, because once you are aware of you expression, you will easily identify your people. Childlike. It is fair to say that we are all called to be childlike. But for some, childlikeness is more than an attribute, it’s a gene that defines them. Do you connect with the humility of the Lamb of God when He proclaimed, “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all” (Luke 18:17)? Is your heart’s motto, “Why can’t everyone just love one another and get along?” If you are the kind of person who never really grew up but instead grew in—into Jesus, into His nature, into His virtues— then maybe you will find your people among this tribe: the people who have simple, uncomplicated faith. Caring. Maybe you are driven to step out and meet the needs of the broken and hurting in a community. For you, responsibility is job number one! You understand that “love suffers long” (I Corinthians 13:4 NKJV), and you feel fully actualised when you are in the fray, mourning with those who mourn and rejoicing with those who rejoice. If this describes you, then you are more likely to find your people in the cornfield than at the ball field, in the workplace than at the bowling alley. Servant-Minded. All believers are royalty and, simultaneously, servants of all. Yet some believers are more servant-minded in their natures than others. They feel fully alive when they do practical things for people. The Kingdom has a high value for the attributes of servanthood. Jesus said, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35). Your seat of servanthood is your throne of destiny. Is your passion activated through service? Do you envision yourself joining others in coordinated efforts to touch the poor or help the broken? If these things are true about you, then these values must be resident in your people in order for you to resonate with them. Leader. Some of you just reek of royalty. You carry yourself nobly and come across as if you work in the Tuyn Huis. The apostle Paul said, “You are already filled, you have already become rich, you have become kings without us; and indeed, I wish that you had become kings so that we also might reign with you” (1 Corinthians 4:8). Do you envision yourself leading in some arena with a team of top-tier advisors? Do you see yourself more like King David or King Solomon than Joseph or Daniel (who advised kings)? If this is you, you are more likely to meet your people in the community than in the congregation. Intimate. The Song of Solomon is the story of two lovers who are so passionate about each other that they make their readers blush. Are you a hopeless romantic? Are you so constantly caught up in romancing the Bridegroom that it seems the rest of life is a bother? Do you value feelings and experiences above tasks and accomplishments? If you answered affirmatively, then passion is the hallmark of your tribal DNA. You probably approach life as the bride does and express yourself through creativity; it’s common to find your tribe in a community of artists, musicians, or dancers—people known for being sensitive, intuitive, prophetic, and creative. Competitive. These folks are the Holy Spirit Olympians! For these folks, a minute wasted is a race lost. Paul summed up this lifestyle when he wrote to the church at Corinth, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win” (1 Corinthians 9:24). Is this you? Do you feel that life is a competition waiting to be won or an obstacle course that must be conquered? If so, your people will probably be found at a basketball court, gym, or in the outback somewhere climbing a mountain—in any environment with activities requiring intense discipline. Armed. The battle-ready are as intense as the disciplined athletes, yet for them life isn’t a race, it’s a war! They view the world as a battlefield and see themselves as soldiers who are engaged in an intense struggle against the devil for the souls of men. The apostle Paul was definitely the personification of a soldier and required those who accompanied him to enlist in his “armed forces.” We see this in his exhortation to Timothy when he wrote, “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:3–4). Hardworking. While some people are soldiers, still others are hardworking farmers. Farmers are consistent and patient people who, through prolonged labor, receive their rewards in harvest seasons. Skilled farmers must be visionaries because they plant trees that yield no harvest for several years. Perhaps this resonates with you? You love to work hard, and you exhibit great patience, knowing your effort will be rewarded in time. You enjoy doing life in different seasons. You love to chill in the winter of life, aware that “He who gathers in summer is a son who acts wisely, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who acts shamefully” (Proverbs 10:5). There are many other metaphors used in the Bible that describes the DNA of tribes. Once you can identify the metaphor that describes your DNA, one that resonates with you, then you can start looking for your tribe. We need all the different tribes, but once you find your people, you will accelerate your destiny. We are shaped by our people and therefore finding your people is crucial to discovering your destiny. Few people find their people and as a result, few find their destiny. God has created you with a specific purpose, finding your people is an important step in you fulfilling your God-given purpose.