The following is derived from chapter 5 of my new book, Discovering Your Destiny.
There are a variety of ways that we can discover our destiny, and often it is the combination of these clues that comes together to make our calling clear. In the previous chapter we saw that God desires to speak into our destiny. Answering the question “what has God spoken?” is the first clue that we covered. The second clue that we will look at is with whom are you connected?
Not only is our relationship with God paramount in walking out our destiny, so is our relationship with others. God is a God of relationship. He created us to be dependent on Him and interdependent with others. We should not have an unhealthy, needy approach to relationships, but a life-giving way of connecting to others. Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) says that “where there is no vision, the people perish” but the reverse is also true; without the right people the vision perishes. Our destiny is linked with other people, and we cannot fulfill it on our own.
To whom we relate can have a significant impact on the direction of our lives. Proverbs 13:20 puts it this way: “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.” The people that we connect to “rub off on us” for good or for bad. Before becoming king, David rubbed off on a group of disgruntled and distressed men, and they became mighty men of valor in Israel. His influence on them changed their destiny forever. By being connected to a giant killer, some of them became giant killers themselves (see 2 Samuel 21:18-22).
As we walk on the path of our destiny, God will connect us to people along the way. Some of these relationships will be for a particular purpose. Some will end up as lifelong friendships, while others are for a season. We should not seek relationships for the purpose of advancing in our destiny. However, as we cultivate healthy relationships God often uses them in powerful ways to move us forward into His purposes.
To whom we are connected can have a dramatic impact on our destiny. Can you imagine being married to Noah’s sons at the time of the flood? Talk about marrying into the right family! Their connection to Noah through marriage to his sons was the only reason they were spared. That might be an extreme example but for some people, a key relationship is the primary way that God reveals their destiny and releases them into it. Consider the examples below.
Joshua played a key role in Israel’s history. He was the successor to Moses as Israel’s leader, and was the one who would lead them into the Promised Land. While Moses had a powerful burning bush experience to guide him further into his destiny, we see no such thing for Joshua. Neither is there any indication that he had a dream, prophetic word, or some other powerful encounter. How did Joshua come to discover his destiny? Through his relationship with Moses.
Joshua spent years as Moses’ faithful assistant. While it is clear that he had his own connection to God, his relationship to Moses is what the Lord used to propel him forward as Israel’s next leader. This teaches us that not every calling—even great ones like Joshua’s—requires a powerful prophecy, sovereign encounter, or angelic visitation. Sometimes it is simply through serving and faithfully cultivating relationships that our destiny is discovered and released.
Elisha is another example of someone who was released into his destiny through a relationship. We do not know much about Elisha’s background, but Elijah the prophet was told by God to anoint him as a prophet in his place. Elijah called Elisha to walk with him closely, and over a period of time he was a faithful assistant to Elijah in a mentoring relationship.
When Elijah was about to be called to heaven, Elisha requested to receive a double-portion of his anointing. He received his request, and the Bible records twice as many miracles in his ministry than in Elijah’s. This is a great picture of the power of passing the baton to the next generation and seeing increase. God’s intention is for each generation to stand on the shoulders of the previous, but this can only happen when there are healthy relationships.
Timothy was a young man with the call of God on his life, but it was his relationship with Paul that truly released him into his destiny. Paul took Timothy under his wing and became a spiritual father to him. We see in Acts 16:1-3 that he invited Timothy to travel with him, and their relationship developed from that point on. We can see from Paul’s letters to Timothy the depth of the relationship they shared.
Where would Timothy have ended up without the influence of Paul? How would his destiny have unfolded had it not been for Paul’s investment in his life? I wonder how many “Timothys” are waiting on a “Paul” to come alongside of them to help propel them into their purpose. Many people have great potential but lack the training and growth that comes through mentoring relationships.