By Michelle Ofori-Ansah
“You are unique in all the world. Just as you are the only one with your unique fingerprint, you have a unique purpose you were born to do.”
Dr. Wilson, President of Oral Roberts University, spoke to the students at Christ For The Nations Institute, telling them that they were created to make a difference and impact the world. “You are unique in all the world. Just as you are the only one with your unique fingerprint, you have a unique purpose you were born to do.” This purpose is what we were created for, a dream bigger than ourselves.
Even if we recognize this unique mission, calling and purpose, we often don’t know how to take our destiny from possibility to reality. Acts 13:36 says, “When David had served God’s purpose in his own generation he fell asleep.” How do we get from where are to fulfilling our purpose and truly impacting the world?
Wilson has good news for those who feel they cannot possibly be the best choice for accomplishing God’s purpose. God is fond of using unlikely candidates, such as Dr. Wilson himself. He shares his background of coming from a broken home and small town with few prospects for greatness. From that humble beginning, God brought Wilson to a place of prominence as president of a Christian university and head of a global ministry.
This is a pattern seen throughout the Bible. Listing the various unlikely instruments for God’s purpose, Wilson describes Moses, the great deliverer who couldn’t talk, and Gideon the fearful, whom God called a mighty man of valor. “Daniel was an exiled slave who would see visions that would change the world. Esther was an orphaned girl who would step forward at just the right moment to save her people. Mary from Nazareth was a backward girl, a nobody from nowhere, going nowhere it seems, until God visits her with an angel and she changes the world,” shared Wilson.
One of the most unlikely people used by God, Saul of Tarsus, was an active persecutor and murderer of Christians. The journey Saul of Tarsus made from chief persecutor of Christians to the world-changer Apostle Paul contains four truths that will help you make a lasting impact on your world.
The first thing that is necessary in order to truly have impact is to determine your purpose. Apostle Paul’s purpose is found in Acts 9:15. “But the Lord said to Ananias, ‘Go, this man is my chosen instrument to proclaim My name to the Gentiles and their kings, and to the people of Israel.’” It wasn’t until Saul surrendered to Christ on the road to Damascus that he discovered his purpose. So the first step is complete surrender to Christ.
Wilson explained, “Your purpose is found in Christ. You may not discern it, you may not understand it, but when you surrender to Him, you are carried away in the purpose of God. And then He is given the liberty to make you into what He intended for you to be.”
The second requirement to fulfilling your purpose is persistence. You must be determined and get tough in order to do what God is calling you to do. Apostle Paul had an extremely high level of persistence. Second Corinthians 11 describes the tortures, beatings, imprisonments and near-death experiences he had. Yet he remains able to say, in 2 Corinthians 12:10, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Wilson shared, “This is what I like to call spiritual savvy – when things get tough, the spiritually savvy don’t quit but rather they find a way to get the job done. Now the truth is, on the way to my purpose I have felt like quitting 1,000 times.” The difference between persistence and quitting is often simply not letting go of what God has said. Wilson continued, “Don’t quit, don’t give up, don’t back off, don’t run from the fight. Stand firm, keep going, move through it, and God will help you do what He’s called you to do.”
The third requirement for accomplishing all God has for you is preparation. Many people skip this step or shortchange it, thinking that their calling means that they don’t need to take time to learn, grow and prepare for their purpose. But Apostle Paul knew the importance of preparation. Acts 22:3 states, “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city (Jerusalem). I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today.”
Wilson explained the importance of this statement by describing Gamaliel. He was the most influential Jewish man of his time and led a school that believed in studying not only the Hebrew scriptures but also the Greek and Roman culture of that time, enabling them to defend the scriptures in their current cultural context. “When God was looking for someone that would defend the Gospel before Caesar for the first time, and when He was looking for someone who would stand on Mars’ Hill across from the Parthenon, and defend the Gospel at the highest places of learning and Greek culture, He did not choose Peter the fisherman. When God was looking for someone to impact society at the highest levels, He found someone who was prepared and who knew what he was talking about.”
According to Wilson, the level of influence you have is dependent on your preparation. Moving from a bachelor’s degree to a master’s degree and then a doctorate didn’t increase his anointing, but it did increase the number of people who listened to him. “My degrees opened doors to me that could not open any other way. In the same way, Paul, who was to stand before kings and power-brokers, needed to be fully prepared.”
Finally, Wilson declared the most important thing you need in order to see God’s purposes fulfilled in your life is power. “Paul, with all of his learning and all that he had been equipped to do, with all of the brilliance that we see reflected in the New Testament, did not depend on that alone but on the Holy Spirit.”
In order to access this power, you have to spend time in the presence of God, allowing His sanctification process to knock off all your rough edges. That time in the presence, on the altar of God, is what will sustain you and ensure you accomplish God’s plan for your life. “If you’re going to make a difference, get all the education and all the knowledge you can get, for whatever God has called you into, whatever field of study He’s called you to pursue. But when you are fully prepared, make sure to be fully full of the Spirit of God!”
The road to truly radical impact requires all of the above: a knowledge of purpose found in surrender to Christ, persistence so that you will never give up, preparation so that you have the knowledge needed to fulfill your purpose, and finally the power of the Holy Spirit. Wilson had one final thing to share. “No one in the world can do what God has in mind for you to do. The real question is, at the end of the day, will you have done what God designed you to do?”
Dr. Billy Wilson is the fourth president of Oral Roberts University. He has also fostered unique global partnerships as co-chair of the Global Council of Empowered21 — an initiative launched at ORU that brings together ministry leaders, scholars and next-generation voices from the Spirit-empowered movement.Like what you've read? Receive free email updates from The Voice Online: Subscribe