Keys to Understanding Yourself and Releasing Your Purpose
Joseph Mattera has been in full-time ministry since 1980 and is currently the overseeing Bishop of Resurrection Church in New York.
Known as “a leader’s leader,” Joseph is also a virtuoso on the guitar. He has received formal education in Kingsborough Community College, Elohim Bible Institute, received ministerial training from The International Christian Center, and has received an honorary diploma from Zion Bible Institute. Joseph earned a Doctor of Divinity from the Christian Leadership Seminary, participated in BILD (Biblical Institute for Leadership Development), successfully completed a one-year certificate program with the Wilberforce Forum, and has earned a Doctor of Ministry from Bakke Graduate University, with a concentration in Biblical Worldview and Urban Ministry.Joseph and his wife Joyce founded Resurrection Church in 1984. A multi ethnic congregation of 40 nationalities, Resurrection Church has developed and sent out high-impact leadership and numerous non-profit corporations that have greatly impacted nations and the New York region, such as Children of the City (COC regularly ministers to more than 2,000 at-risk children with counseling, after school programs, tutoring, mentoring, and other holistic ministries) and The Ekklesia Leadership Institute (which held intensive monthly seminars and week-long summits with a focus of raising up the next generation of leadership with a Christian world and life view).Joseph also has hosted his own radio show “Light Your City” and a weekly cable television programs “The Ekklesia.” He is a regular contributor to Christian newspapers, and through the years has given numerous radio and television interviews and press conferences, including guest appearances on TBN. His first published book Ruling in the Gates was released in April 2003 and has already had international acclaim.
In recognition of his years of faithful service and significant influence, numerous local and national bishops and apostolic leaders consecrated Joseph to the Office of Bishop on April 29, 2006.
Joseph, his wife, Joyce and their five children live in Brooklyn, New York.
“When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, ‘Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?’ So they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’”
1. The question Jesus asked His disciples is very important because how a person is perceived and received by others will determine their purpose and destiny. The importance of this is shown by the result of understanding Jesus’ identity, which is the foundation of the church and the key that opened the kingdom of heaven.
a. Purpose is the innate sense of knowing why you were born (John 18:37).
b. Vision is the ability to see in your heart your purpose unfolding (Luke 4:18).
c. A mission is the general description of your purpose (Mark 16:15)
d. Goals are practical steps that bridge your vision and dreams to reality (Luke 13:32). (There are long term and short term goals: daily, weekly, annually, and decade-long goals that are practical steps in fulfilling your vision and purpose.)
e. Likewise, understanding your purpose and role in the kingdom of God is the key of the kingdom that will enable you to bind and loose on the earth what heaven has already declared!
f. Most people want their lives to be filled with meaning, purpose, and significance.
2. We should all be positive about life because God created us all for a purpose; we are not accidents! In the same way God created acorns, trees, oxygen, water, the sun and moon for a purpose, He mapped out our lives before we were born for a purpose. Read Ephesians 1:4.
3. According to Acts 17:26 and Ecclesiastes 3:2, we were born at the right time.
4. According to Ecclesiastes 3:11, God set eternity in our hearts at birth; that is to say, He put His own heart and desire for our eternal purpose within us. Psalm 42:7 says that “deep calls unto deep.”
5. Isaiah 46:9-10 teaches that God finishes something first in the spirit realm, then He backs up and creates it physically.
a. The fact that you were born is proof that you were already completed because God always finishes what He starts (Philippians 1:6).
b. Our purpose existed before we did. Thus you were sent into the world and not just born! (Proverbs 19:21 teaches that vision is more about God than about us.)
6. God designed us perfectly to accomplish our purpose. (See Psalm 139: “I was fearfully and wonderfully made.”)
7. Purpose is already inside of us at the time of our physical birth (not only after we are born again). Ephesians 2:10 teaches that we were saved because of the purpose inside of us!
8. Fulfilling purpose is never selfish but always blesses humanity.
a. God didn’t give you a purpose to have a nice house, cars, and luxury. Those are only by-products of blessings but not the purpose of your existence.
Part I: The Following Seven Principles are Keys to Understanding Who You Are and What Your Purpose In Life Is
I. Know Who You Are as an Image-Bearer/Child of God
1. Genesis 1:26-27 shows that we were made to reflect the person of God. Do not allow derogatory comments about who you are to be your standard of judgment for yourself.
A. Ephesians 4:22-24 teaches us to lay aside our former self and put on the new man.
B. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that those in Christ Jesus are new creations; the old is past away and all things have become new.
2. Being secure as a child of God is the first and most important step in understanding your purpose and calling in the world.
(The following points are from “The Purpose and Power of God’s Glory” by Myles Munroe, pages 51-53.)
3. Ephesians 3:21: When we reflect the image of God we also manifest the glory He called us to walk in.
A. Glory: to fully express the true nature of a thing. The greatest way we glorify God is when both our heart and actions fully reflect the holiness, creativity, and gifts the Lord has endowed upon us. (One of the definitions of the Hebrew word for “work” (abad, Genesis 2:15) is “worship.”)
B. God didn’t put Adam in the Garden of Eden to sing songs and hold prayer meetings, but to work, because the work we do attaches a purpose and meaning to our lives.
4. We need to have the right environment to walk in the glory of God. As Adam was called to work and worship in the Garden of Eden, so we too can only walk in our purpose by walking in the presence of God.
II. You Are Not Someone Else
1. Just as the people thought Jesus was John the Baptist or one of the prophets, they will compare you to someone else.
A. Myles Munroe said (Principles and Power of Vision, page 35) “Although we are all born as originals, most of us become imitators.”
B. In my field of work, many preachers are poor imitations of T.D. Jakes or Joel Osteen instead of operating in their unique anointing. This makes them mere echoes instead being an oracle of God.
2. When you compare yourself with others you are not wise. See 1 Corinthians 4:2, 6-7; 2 Corinthians 10:12.
3. In the same way your fingerprints are different from every other person who ever lived, God made you as a unique individual as part of the corporate body of Christ.
4. Only the few closest to Jesus knew who He really was.
A. First, I care about what God thinks of me, but then I care more about what my family and closest friends think of me than what the public thinks.
5. Be careful who you celebrate in your house; your children will emulate them. (I don’t allow teen magazines in my house, even if there is no sexual material, because I don’t want my daughters admiring and emulating airheads like Lindsey Lohan and Britney Spears.)
III. Your Past History Indicates Your Purpose
1. Jesus didn’t ask His disciples what people thought of Him until He had a public track record.
2. What works have you done, even before you were a Christian, that seemed to give you the most satisfaction?
A. Public speaking, personal counseling, organizing around a cause, writing, painting, composing music, helping others succeed, entrepreneurial endeavors, etc.
IV. Your Natural Giftings and Temperament Point to Your Purpose
1. If you believe you are called to be a psalmist for the Lord but you have no skill to sing, compose, or play an instrument, then you are greatly mistaken.
2. Your natural talents and abilities always contribute and correspond to your purpose and destiny.
A. From childhood, I knew I had leadership ability but had no gifting in the areas of construction, electrical, plumbing, etc.
B. If I look at a map and try to figure out where I am, I get severe headaches and have no grace for it. (I would rather stop and ask someone for directions than try to read a map!)
3. Your temperament and/or personality type corresponds to your calling and purpose. (The below information is about the DiSC personality profile which can be found online at http://www.discprofile.com/)
A. I have noticed through the years that great evangelists would make great used-car salespersons because of their “I” (influencer) temperament that enables them to be great salespeople.
B. High “I” temperaments are influencers who are usually great with people but not great with details. These people are great to hire as receptionists but terrible as administrators.
C. High “D” (dominant) personalities are task-oriented more than relationally driven.
D. High “C” (cognitive) personalities are introverts/thinkers who are often very creative and/or detail orientated. Great administrators must have “C” as part of their make-up.
E. High “S” (stability) personalities are relaters who make up most of the population. These people don’t like to take risks and would rather stay at a stable 9 to 5 job rather than be involved in high-risk entrepreneurial endeavors.
V. Your Spiritual Gifts Point to Your Purpose
1. The gifts of the Spirit found in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.
A. I happen to move in the words of wisdom and knowledge more than any other gift because those are the two supernatural gifts I need most to accomplish my role as a discipler of leaders and bishop to a growing movement of churches.
B. If your redemptive gift (Romans 12:4-7) is to be an exhorter of others so they can fulfill their purpose, then the gift of prophecy may be very strong.
C. If you are in a vocation in which you are constantly in situations that allow you to share the gospel and win people to Christ, then you may move in healing gifts, miracles, the gift of faith, or discerning of spirits.
2. The redemptive gifts found in Romans 12:4-7.
A. Redemptive: What motivational gift do you have that describes how you express yourself in God’s Kingdom?
B. Prophecy: a passion to declare and correct based on the standard of the Word of God.
C. Service: a passion to operate in the ministry of helps to bless other people.
D. Teaching: a passion to explain truth.
E. Giving: a passion to finance the kingdom of God and bless people.
F. Exhortation: a passion to be an encouragement and positive voice to others.
G. Leading: a habitual leader who is born with an intuitive gift of leadership. (Most Christian leadership books are really more about behavior modification to help leaders become more proficient then making someone an actual leader.)
H. Mercy: a passion to minister to people in spite of their faults.
VI. Your Present Passion Points to Your Purpose
1. What is burning on the inside of your heart?
A. What makes you angry and/or discontent is an indicator that points to purpose. For example, Nehemiah had a great job as the cupbearer of the king but was still miserable.
2. What has God personally spoken to your heart?
3. What keeps resonating in your heart and mind the most? What are you obsessed with when you dream dreams for God?
A. I constantly think about vision, purpose, and how I can release people to their destiny!
4. If your life doesn’t transcend living for yourself or pleasure, then you are already dead!
VII. What the Church and Others Affirm Points to Your Purpose
1. Every Christian’s purpose is expressed through the Body of Christ, which they belong to.
A. Individual destiny doesn’t work in spite of what is preached on the airwaves!
B. Your mission and purpose is always fleshed out in the context of a local church’s mission to the world.
2. Through prophetic words.
A. I keep a record of every prophetic word given to me, my family, or the church, and I review them a few times a year to make sure I am on track. Read 1 Timothy 1:1.
3. Through what I do that bears the most fruit.
A. There are certain things I do that seem to be greatly blessed and other things I do that are uneventful.
4. Through what I do that receives the most affirmation resulting in transformation of lives.
A. Matthew 10:41: “If you receive a prophet in the name of a prophet you will receive a prophet’s reward.” This means that how I am perceived and received by others will determine the level of my anointing and gifting they can suck out of me for personal transformation. That is to say, if you disrespect or don’t recognize and celebrate the gifts of others, then the gifts in others will remain inside of them and not affect you.
Part II: Seven Things Jesus Said About Knowing Yourself and Your Purpose
1. Jesus cared about what others perceived regarding who He was because it was connected to Him fulfilling His destiny (Matthew 16:13).
2. Jesus made sure others didn’t mistake Him for other people (Matthew 16:14-15).
3. Jesus said that the Rock on which the church was built was the knowledge of Him as the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:18).
a. The knowledge of who you are and your concomitant purpose is one of the cornerstones of being released into your purpose.
4. Jesus said that the gates of hell will not be able to stop the advance of a corporate people (ecclesia) walking in their purpose (Matthew 16:18).
5. The keys of the kingdom are connected to knowing and releasing who you are and your purpose on the earth (Matthew 16:19).
6. The ability to bind and loose on the earth is commensurate with your ability to match what you do and who you are to what has already been decreed (bound and loosed) in heaven.
a. When people walk outside of their grace, anointing, calling, and gifting they do not have heaven behind their endeavors.
7. We should understand the timing and process of releasing our purpose (Matthew 16:20).
a. In Jesus’ case, the process involved the cross. The process in our lives also involves dying to self and taking up our cross. Before experiencing the power of the Upper Room we have to first go to Golgotha and experience the cross!
b. God is just as concerned about the process of our journey and He is about our destination.
Part III: Seven Obstacles to Understanding Yourself and Releasing Your Purpose
I. You Don’t Spend Time Cultivating the Presence and Voice of God in Your Life
1. The Bible teaches that meditating on the Word releases purpose and success in our lives. Read Joshua 1:8-9; 2 Timothy 3:16.
2. Worshipping God causes us to act and live like God. It is axiomatic that whatever you worship you imitate and become like.
3. Take time to reflect in silence. The vocation God called you to walk in is the primary voice inside of you. Myles Munroe said: “Take the time to know thyself” and “God’s will is as close as our most persistent thoughts and deepest desires.”
4. Ecclesiastes 3:10: “I have seen the burden God lays on the sons of men.” “Burden” means heavy responsibility which gives us a responsible urge–a strong sense of what to do with our lives (from Principles and Power of Vision by Myles Munroe, page 43).
5. Romans 11:29 teaches that the gifts and calling of God never change for an individual. Thus, the thoughts and desires of our hearts will be consistent in our lives as we seek the Lord. Read Psalm 37:4.
6. “Vision possesses you; you don’t possess it!”(Myles Munroe)
II. Not Integrating Your Life with Your Community of Faith
1. Purpose is always corporate, never individualistic.
A. Others will not give you purpose but others will enable you to fulfill your purpose.
2. Individual purpose only comes forth as part of the Body of Christ.
3. Knowing the mission, motto, and vision of your local church and contributing to it with your gifts, finances, and talents is the key to unlocking your purpose.
III. You are Confusing Activity for Purpose
1. Most people do anything that comes their way instead of being focused on the primary responsibilities they have in front of them.
A. “The color of your skin will not hold you back, but the color of your life will” and “Too many people are living a ‘gray’ life with no decisiveness of focus, discipline and purpose” (Myles Munroe).
B. Living a balanced life means keeping your equilibrium while moving towards your destination (Myles Munroe).
2. Most people live their whole lives either for retirement, vacations, and/or weekends because they hate their daily work.
3. God has called us to combine our work with our calling; work plus calling equals productivity in your purpose.
4. Paul said “This one thing I do” (Philippians 3:10). Find the one or two things you excel in and concentrate on developing those gifts.
A. Your gifts will make room for you, not your education. Most people receive degrees in areas of life they will never use because their degrees do not fit their primary purpose and calling.
IV. Who Your Friends Are Determines Your Destiny
1. I can always tell a person by the company they keep.
A. Proverbs says: “As iron sharpens iron so a person sharpens the countenance of their friend.” 1 Corinthians 15 says that “Bad company corrupts good character.”
B. 2 Timothy 2 teaches us to fellowship with those who call upon God from a pure heart.
2. Many people never succeed in life because of the soul ties they have with the wrong people. Misery loves company; some of your unsuccessful friends will be unhappy if you succeed.
V. You Don’t Have Mentors Guiding You
1. In our church we have cell groups for mentoring and nurturing.
2. Just attending church on Sunday isn’t enough.
3. To succeed in life you need specific mentors who specialize in your vocation that will help release you to your purpose.
VI. No Vision For Your Life
1. 2 Timothy 1:6 teaches us to “stir up the gift within us.” Know and have a vision for your gifts to be released.
2. Invest time into developing your gifts and talents by volunteering in the church and community as well as releasing them in your job.
3. Vision releases focus and discipline.
4. Vision compels one to have a strategy for success.
VII. You Don’t Understand the Process Involved in Releasing Purpose
1. God cares just as much about the process as He does the product.
2. If things come to us too quickly then we will not be mature enough to either appreciate or manage it properly.
A. Presently, I do the work of four people. I tell my leaders now that if I ever left, they would need to hire four people to do the job I do. This is because as the visionary I grew into the job by process. It wouldn’t be fair to hire another person to do all I do without the same kind of process.
3. Ecclesiastes 3 teaches us that there is a timing for everything under the sun. Timing has to do with the proper way to process out the things God wants to do through you in regards to releasing your purpose.