Discovering What God Made You For

by Toney Upton on

Articles 4 min read
Romans 12:4–6 1 Corinthians 12:7

In one of the best Disney movies of all time there comes a moment when Simba, the son of a king, is confronted by an old friend, Nala, about their homeland’s desperate need for help. Simba has been out in the wild on his own for a while, enjoying the “Hakuna Matata” life (no worries, no responsibilities). Preferring to just live the care free life, he has no desire to face his past or the foes who have taken control of the homelands. But through the pleas of Nala and a renewed sense of his father’s presence and encouragement, Simba responds to his calling. He returns home to conquer the foes and destruction that had overtaken his family and friends.

The Hakuna Matata life is very appealing to each of us. No worries. Nothing to take care of. No one expecting anything from me. Just worry about me. That’s all. Yet we, as sons and daughters of the Most High King, understand that we were designed for more than just our own happiness and comfort. We are family, serving and giving of ourselves for one another’s best. We are agents of the Kingdom, instruments in God’s redemptive plans. To those ends, the scriptures describe special appointments and resources that are given to each believer to help us carry out those callings. Given to us by the Holy Spirit, they are labeled as gifts. “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us” (Romans 12:4-6). And we each use the gift(s) given to us to honor the Lord, to nurture God’s work in the lives around us.

So, the question is… “How do I know what gift(s) God has given me?” Adapted from Saddleback Church, here are 5 areas to consider as you seek your answer to that question.

  1. Spiritual gifts. “A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church” (1 Corinthians 12:7, NLT). One of the most helpful ways to discover your gift is to take a spiritual gifts profile. I would recommend, but you might find other good online options.
  1. Make a short list of what you just love doing. When you have spare time, what types of things do you enjoy? Could be hobby-like. Could just be an interest. What are you moved by? Without preparation, what could you talk for 30 minutes about?
  1. What are you good at? What do you have a skill in doing? Are you good with craftsmanship? Public speaking? Athletics? Cooking? Music? What seems to come very naturally for you that others have to work for?
  1. Our temperament is the lens through which we often see and communicate to our world. There are several popular personality profiles such as Myers-Briggs and Enneagram. A simple yet very helpful one that I would recommend is the DISC profile, which you can find online for free. You’ll be energized as you serve within your personality fit.
  1. Romans 8:28 states, “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” Consider all the experiences of your life. The good and the bad. The fun and the hard. The Lord can use those in your life to serve and bless someone else who is also going through those things. Make a highlight list (good and hard) of your experiences in these areas: Spiritual, Physical, Family, Career, Education, Ministry.

Pull all of these together and you’ll have a really good idea of how the Lord has gifted you. You should also seek out the affirmation of someone in your community of what you are discovering. Do they also see these gifts in you? And finally, just go for it. Find a place to serve and begin to give your time and heart. You are much more likely to discover your giftings by serving than just by studying.

About the Author

Dr. Toney Upton (D. Min., Fuller Theological Seminary) is Lead Connection Pastor and Community Pastor at Central Bible Church.