God formed every creature on this planet with a special area of expertise. Some animals run, some hop, some swim, some burrow, and some fly. Each has a particular role to play based on the way it was shaped by God. The same is true with humans. Each of us was uniquely designed, or shaped, to do certain things.
Before architects design any new building, they first ask, “What will be its purpose? How will it be used?” The intended function always determines the form of the building. Before God created you, he decided what role he wanted you to play on earth. He planned exactly how he wanted you to serve him, and then he shaped you for those tasks. You are the way you are because you were made for a specific ministry.
The Bible says, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works” (Ephesians 2:10 BSB). Our English word “poem” comes from this Greek word translated “workmanship.” You are God’s handcrafted work of art. You are not an assembly line product, mass produced without thought. You are a custom-designed, one-of-a-kind, original masterpiece.
God never wastes anything. He would not give you abilities, interests, talents, gifts, personality, and life experiences unless he intended to use them for his glory. By identifying and understanding these factors you can discover God’s will for your life.
The Bible says you are “wonderfully complex” (Psalm 139:14 NLT). You’re a combination of many different factors.
Unwrap your spiritual gifts for serving God
God gives every believer spiritual gifts to be used in ministry. These are special God-empowered abilities for serving him that are given only to believers. The Bible says, “Whoever does not have the Spirit cannot receive the gifts that come from God’s Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:14 GNT).
You can’t earn your spiritual gifts or deserve them—that’s why they are called gifts! They are an expression of God’s grace to you.
Because God loves variety, and he wants us to be special, no single gift is given to everyone. Also, no individual receives all the gifts. If you had them all, you’d have no need from anyone else, and that would defeat one of God’s purposes—to teach us to depend on each other.
Your spiritual gifts were not given for your own benefit but for the benefit of others, just as other people were given gifts for your benefit.
Sometimes spiritual gifts are overemphasized to the neglect of the other factors that God uses to shape you for service. Your gifts reveal one part of God’s will for your ministry, but not all of it. There’s much more.
Heed your heart in serving God
The Bible uses the term “heart” to describe the bundle of desires, hopes, interests, ambitions, dreams, and affections that you have. Your heart represents the source of all your motivations—what you love to do and what you care about most. Even today, we still use the word in this way when we say, “I love you with all my heart.”
What is in your heart is what you really are, not what others think you are, or what circumstances force you to be. Your heart is the real you. It determines why you say the things you do, why you feel the way you do, and why you act the way you do.
God had a purpose in giving you these inborn interests. Your emotional “heartbeat” is the second key to understanding your shape for service. Don’t ignore your interests—consider how they might be used for God’s glory. There is a reason that you love to do these things.
Repeatedly, the Bible says to “serve the Lord with all your heart” (Deuteronomy 10:12 NIV). God wants you to serve him passionately, not dutifully. People rarely excel at tasks they don’t enjoy doing or don’t feel passionate about. God wants you to use your natural interests to serve him and others.
How do you know when you are serving God from your heart? The first telltale sign is enthusiasm. When you are doing what you love to do, no one has to motivate you, challenge you, or check up on you. You do it for the sheer enjoyment. You don’t need rewards, applause, or profit, because you love serving in this way. The opposite is also true: When you don’t have a heart for what you’re doing, you are easily discouraged.
The second characteristic of serving God from your heart is effectiveness. Whenever you do what God wired you to love to do, you get good at it. Passion drives perfection. If you don’t care about a task, it is unlikely that you’ll excel at it. On the other hand, the highest achievers in any field are those who do it because of passion, not duty or profit.
Figure out what you love to do—that which God gave you a heart for—and then do it for his glory!