Divine Design

Overcoming Evil through Your Unique Mission

"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:21

I have a coaching client who jokes with me about how he loves to "destroy evil." His worldview, shaped of course by the Bible, is often caught up with the ideas of spiritual warfare and how the church is called to overcome evil in the name of Jesus. This desire to destroy evil is good and, indeed, a sign of the Spirit's work in his life.

But, how does one actually achieve victory over the forces of darkness? 

Well, first off, there is prayer. When we pray "thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" we are calling on the Lord of Heaven's Armies to break through the darkness with his marvelous, heavenly light. Our prayers in accordance with God's will is one way we partner with God in the destruction of evil. 

There is also the armor of God as described in Ephesians, chapter six. One of the pieces of spiritual armor is the "sword of the Spirit, the word of God." So, when we speak the word of God and we argue with lies according to the word of God, this too is an act of spiritual warfare. I was told as a young boy that "the pen is mightier than the sword." This is true in the natural, but also in the supernatural. There is nothing more powerful than God's Word enlivened by His Spirit.

In addition, as the verse at the top of this article indicates, we also overcome (i.e. destroy) evil with "good." In other words, the "good works" that "God prepared for us in advance" (Eph 2:10) that "we should walk in" are missles of holy war against the darkness. This should not be hard to comprehend since the works of God's Son, Jesus Christ, in his life, death, resurrection and ascension dealt the mortal wound to all of the world's evil; we join with his mission as we continue to walk as he walked and love and he loved. Jesus performed good works to overthrow the Enemy; we do the same. 

But, how does this connect with our unique mission?

If God has prepared good works for us to walk in and good works are what overcome evil, then knowing and walking in the specific good works you are designed for actually destroys evil in this world. To maximize our ability to overcome evil in our world is directly connected to our ability to confidently live out of our unique mission. On the flip side, if we do not know how we are wired and therefore do not know what to do with our lives, we are not doing our part in overcoming evil.

Now, this might make a direct connection to your work, but it also may be indirect. If you are designed and called by God to work for the CIA, FBI, a military branch or local law enforcement, yet you forego that call to work at State Farm Insurance, this is an obvious abdication of your responsibility to overcome evil with good. This is a direct connection we all understand.

However, anytime we neglect God's unique mission for our lives and opt for another path, we are lessening our ability to overcome evil with good. For example, if you are designed to be a homemaker, but are pressured by the world to go into sales, then your ability to overcome evil with good is limited. Why? Because in neglecting your call, you are neglecting your good works. "Good" works done in disobedience to God's plan for your life are not good at all; they are sin.

A perfect example of this is King Saul of the Old Testament. When Saul did a "good work" of sacrificing animals won in wartime to the LORD, but did so without God's permission or the oversight of the LORD's prophet Samuel, he was fiercely rebuked and disciplined.

"'You have done a foolish thing,' Samuel said. 'You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed his ruler of his people, because you have not kept the LORD's command.'" (1 Samuel 13:13-14)

So, how can we learn from Saul's mistake?

We each have a unique way we are wired to display the glory of God's image in the world. We do this when we align our time, energy and resources to live out the unique mission he has given to us. If we do not know who we are and what we are called to do, it is imperative that we find out. For the overcoming of evil in the world and for the reward of God's promises, we must fight to live in step with His plan--year-by-year, job-by-job, day-by-day, decision-by-decision. 

Do you know how God has wired you and what you need to do about it? 

Do you want to overcome evil with the good works God has prepared in advance for you?

Let me know. I can help. Find out more at michaelswindell.com.

E-mail: michael.swindell@gmail.com

Text/Call: 630-589-4752

 

Let God Be God So You Can Be You

God spoke and the world came into existence (Gen 1). God became human in Christ and overwhelmed sin, death and hell (John 11:25; Heb 2:14). God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy (Rom 9:18). God has done, is doing and will do things that are too marvelous to comprehend, let alone try to accomplish with human strength. 

Bluntly: God is God and we are not.

So when it comes to determining how to think about your unique identity and unique mission, you must begin with God. God is both the Creator and Redeemer. Thus, for those of us who are in Christ, we must think about our identity through this lens.

1) God is the Creator

As the Creator, God has the right to command us as he wishes and to use us as he pleases. We only have rights insofar as they are given by God. In the biblical view, there is no such thing as "human rights" apart from those rights given by God to humanity. Humans do not determine our rights; God does. Democratic processes may form legally binding agreements between humans, but God's claim on our lives is the supreme law that oversees all people in all places and at all times. Whenever the "human rights" of the world collide with God-given rights, the God-given rights are what should govern. 

What does this mean for your unique identity?

It means you are the created of God. Just as each work of art is uniquely crafted, so are you. You have been given a uniqueness in at least the following ways: family of origin, genetic make-up, skin pigmentation, facial features, experiences, location of birth and home, desires, and talents. All of these make up your unique identity, but they must all be seen as designed by God's sovereign plan. And, all this is for your good (Rom 8:28) and His glory (Isaiah 43:7). 

What does this mean for your unique mission?

Living your unique mission, therefore, means living in accordance with the design given to you by your Creator. This means that you cannot "create your identity" or "choose your identity." To truly glorify God and enjoy His love is to trust that the way He created you is best for you and for others. Part of abiding in Christ (John 15:1-11) and "bearing much fruit" is learning how God has wired you, and then strategically aligning your time, energy and resources to this uniqueness. 

For example, it would be futile for 99.9999% of 5'1" men in the United States to attempt to make the NBA (It's not 100%, because, well, miracles do happen.). On the other hand, if you are 6'8" in high school and love playing sports, are surrounded by good coaching and had a father who played in the NBA, your unique design is probably telling you to pursue some form of athletics. 

2) God is the Redeemer

Again, for those who are in Christ, who have repented of our sins and turned to Christ as our only hope for forgiveness and everlasting salvation, God is also the Redeemer. This means God has a "double claim" on your life. Not only are you to obey, because He is your Creator, but because he has rescued you from your present sinfulness and eternal damnation (Rom 6:23; Matt 25:31-46). 

What does this mean for my unique identity?

This means that you have specific sin patterns that God has rescued you from. It means that you were on a specific path to destruction that the Holy Spirit lifted you from to put you on a path of righteousness, joy and peace (Rom 14:17). It means that God has redeemed you and not only those in Christ. Taking the time to dwell on this reality should result in praise and thanksgiving to God.

What does this mean for my unique mission?

Your redemption, like your design, is connected to your calling. Where have you been rescued? Where have the addictions been broken? If you were still following "the ways of the world", where would you be? Think about it. More than likely, it is there were God will send you to partner with Him in "seeking and saving the lost." 

Now, it's one thing to know that God is our Creator and Redeemer. It is another thing to carefully, intentionally and prayerfully connect the dots to everyday life. This is why I am passionate about Michael Swindell Coaching. Everyone needs coaching to perform at there best in any area of life. It is no different as you seek to understand who you are and live out your unique mission. 

Do you want to learn more about your unique, God-given identity and mission? Let me know.

Call/Text: 630-589-4752

Email: michael.swindell@gmail.com

Learn more at michaelswindell.com

Some Practicals for Developing a Mission Statement

In my last blog post, we looked at the value of discovering and writing down our unique purpose in life by way of a personal mission statement. Below are some questions to get you started in a more focused way.

In order to obtain a rough draft of a mission statement, I encourage you to think through these questions and write a rough draft mission statement with no more than 20 words.

Questions:

  • In light of how God has designed your personal gifts and talents, how would you best be able to partner with God, and God’s people, to fulfill God’s mission of making disciples of all nations?
  • What is something you would love to do 40 hours per week every week for the rest of your life?
  • What is something big enough to take your entire life to accomplish while being specific enough that only you (think 1/1000 people) can do it?
  • What are 10 words you would use to describe your core values? (e.g. personal development, love, friendship, unity, etc.)
  • What are 10 words you would use to describe your core competencies? (e.g. writing, editing, inspiring, administrating, etc.)
  • What are you doing when you are most alive? When time flies? When your energy soars and your emotions are joyfully engaged?
  • Which life accomplishments are you most proud of? What does this tell you about the way you are wired? About what you value?
  • Who are some of your biggest heroes and why?
  • What do you want to be remembered for? Why?
  • Is there a particular demographic you want to serve? (e.g. refugees, politicians, divorcees, children, etc.)

Requirements of a Great Mission Statement:       After reading your rough draft aloud,

  • you feel inspired.
  • it makes sense 
  • your two best friends would agree with it
  • you realize that doing this will take your entire life
  • you can think of—at most—only one other person in your life who would have a mission statement very similar
  • you would become your own biggest hero if you were to actually fulfill your mission statement for a lifetime
  • you can memorize it quickly
  • you realize that you CAN do it in EVERY season of life, to one degree or another

Some Examples:

  • To joyfully identify, inspire, equip and send Spirit-led leaders who make disciple-making disciples and plant church-planting churches in all nations
  • To live with Christ in the impossible
  • I was born to bring about reconciliation between two or more parties with long-term, traumatic conflicts
  • Reforming the American Church toward personal holiness
  • Teaching the next generation of church leaders how to faithfully shepherd the people of God entrusted to them
  • To glorify God through developing artists in the inner city of Detroit
  • I’m determined to craft excellent, inspiring music for the global, urban context
  • To bring systematic changes to the court system of the State of Georgia to increase justice

Do You Have a Personal Mission Statement?

My personal mission statement is this:

To identify, inspire, equip and send Spirit-led leaders who make disciple-making disciples and plant church-planting churches in all nations.

A more compressed version is this:

To mobilize apostolic leaders and movements.

Or, most simply:

To mobilize leaders.

The personal mission statement is not about you. It is about how you partner with God for the mission of God, in light of your divinely-given design. Thus, the mission statement seeks—through a long-term process of discernment—to clarify how you, in light of your divinely-given design, best partner with God for the mission of God. The result should be a clear and captivating declaration of your God-given, unique mission on earth.

Discerning this personal mission statement, thus, requires some pre-work. It requires, firstly, that you have a core, biblical framework for the person and character of God. This Triune God of the Bible—Father, Son, Holy Spirit—is not only the foundation for your mission statement but for the entire world, seen and unseen.

And it also requires a second understanding: before you were born with the desire for mission, God had already been on a cosmic mission of glorifying Himself by redeeming and reconciling the world to himself in Christ. You are alive because of God’s mission; your end, in some form or another, will be encompassed in the grand narrative of God’s mission to be completed at the return of Christ. 

The question is, how will you BEST partner with God for HIS mission

To best answer this question, you must be aware of many different facets of how you are put together, including: aptitudes, skills, passions, family history and personal experiences.

Aptitudes: What are you naturally the best at doing?

Skills: What are your most strongly developed skills?

Passions: What are you most passionate about?

Family History: What about your family history positively, negatively or neutrally impacts your view of the world?

Personal Experiences: How do your personal life experiences shape and influence your understanding of your personal call to mission?

By taking the time to answer these questions and beginning to write down a few words about what seems to be your unique mission, you will see your motivation, growth and fruitfulness begin to take off. Each time you determine to discover and clarify why God put you on earth you will be adding value to yourself, your family, your friends and (this is not too much to say) the world.

If you do not have a personal mission statement, then I would urge you—at all costs—to take the time and effort, spend the resources, develop the relationships and do whatever else is necessary to discover yours. It is that important.

God is about the great work of glorifying Himself by redeeming and reconciling the world to Himself in Christ. You are a part of that mission. But, how so? Your answer will set the course of your life, legacy and eternity. 

What is your next step?

Take one hour today to craft a very rough draft mission statement. Show it to your spouse, best friend and/or mentor. Determine to keep working on it until you are completely satisfied with the result.

Need help?

Contact me about a free 30-minute discussion about whether coaching is the best next step of you. 

What Is Your Unique Life Mission?

God is on mission: He created all things to glorify himself (Rom. 11:36). By glorifying the Triune God through our lives, we partner with God in His mission while being filled with indescribable joy (1 Pet. 1:8).

It is the goodness of God that the intersection of God's mission and our lives leads to the fullness of joy. 

But not only does God have a mission, and not only does His Church have a mission, but as members of his Church, each of us also has a unique, personal mission to be lived out in community with others. 

Ephesians 2:8-10 says,  "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

God saves us that we would uniquely bear His image (Gen. 1:27) by walking in the good works that He prepared in advance for us to do. What is our personal mission? Walking in step with the leadership of the Holy Spirit, doing the things that God prepared in advance for us to do. But, the leadership of the Holy Spirit and our ability to understand in any given set of circumstances what we are to do is difficult. It requires discernment. It requires intentional time and prayer and thinking about how God has wired us, positioned us and experienced us. 

We do not just wake up one day and find out how we are wired.

This takes lots of reflection over the years. It takes opportunities to see how our desires attach or don't attach to certain activities. It may take understanding our personalities through the lens of testing such as Meyers-Briggs (16personalities.com), StrengthsFinder 2.0 (HERE), StandOut (HERE), or the Enneagram (HERE). It takes an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses (Like THIS book can help with). It make take interviewing the people you know best about how they experience your good, bad and neutral tendencies. Whatever it takes, it's worth the effort.

Understanding our unique mission also takes a view of our current position.

What is our relational network? What is our vocation? What are our finances? What city do we live in? What church community are we called to love and serve? No one has a unique mission without a specific context to live out that mission. If you are called to live out a mission, it is going to be in a specific time and place with specific people whom you already know. Why? Because just like God's mission, our mission is for the sake of God, others and creation.

One more thing to understand about discerning our specific mission is that it takes a sobering look at your past and how that connects with your present and possible future (Two great resources are HERE and HERE.). God has sovereignly ordained our parents, siblings, towns and cities we grew up in, our education, our opportunities, our joys and wounds, and everything else about us to work out in conformity with the purpose of His will (Eph. 1:11). ALL things work out in our lives for our good and His glory. This doesn't mean Satan doesn't hate us or hurt us; it means that God is greater than Satan and can redeem the work of evil for greater good (Rom. 8:28). 

So, God has a mission and you have a unique role to play in it. Do you know what that is? If not, begin today doing the hard work of discerning God's role for you to play.

Pray about it. Purchase some of the resources given in this blog. Talk with your pastor.

Talk with me about how Michael Swindell Coaching can partner with you to help you clarify your unique identity and confidently live your unique life mission.

Whatever you do, don't ignore it. Don't assume understanding will strike like lightening. Invest in a process of discovering who you are and what you are called to do. 

 

Don't wait.

Start today.

 

 

Quote on God's Will

"There is no greater blessing in life than to know that we are right in the middle of the trail God has marked for our lives and to know that He is providing the strength and endurance to play our part in His plan for the World." -Steve Saint, son of the late missionary Nate Saint, in the forward to The Missionary Call by Dr. David Sills

Amen.