The Message of Your LifeSep 8th, 2014 | By Tony Stoltzfus | Category: Featured Content, Transformational Coaching
In working with Christian coaching clients, there is a special life message that’s a summary of their story—the place where their various life messages join together in one theme. What one message does Jesus speak most clearly through their story? What is the central impartation that animates everything they do for others? That one-of-a-kind message is the heart of their call. It’s their life purpose in being terms; the thing that they must embody to fulfill their destiny.
For instance, some of my life messages are authenticity, dealing with God, meeting God in suffering and adversity, transformational change, Sabbath rest, and grace instead of rules. The central theme (as best I understand it) that’s the message of my life is, “You can meet God at the heart level in every circumstance, especially suffering and adversity, and be transformed.” And, I have the greatest impact for God on others when I am imparting that core message.
The message of Abraham’s life was justification through faith, not works. The Bible calls Abraham a “father of faith” because he was the first person to figure out that if he believed God and walked in that faith, that was what God was really after (as opposed to simple rule-following righteousness). Faith as the foundation of one’s relationship with God is Abraham’s great legacy.
The message of David’s life is being ‘a man after God’s own heart.’ David’s life story still communicates centuries later the full range of what it means to be human. We watch him seeking God with his entire being whether in victory or defeat, success or failure. David is a man after God’s heart because he is quick to allow God to deal with him at the heart level—and that’s his primary legacy to us today.
Job’s message might be summed up as, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him.” Can you see how his life story both produced that message and gives it incredible power?
This primary message of your client’s life always comes through progressive revelation, because it is progressively built into their heart over years of life experience. Even in the instances where God revealed this message from the beginning (as with David and Abraham), it was not until much later in life that they understood what it meant, let alone embodied and lived it. So encourage your clients to not worry if they aren’t quite sure what the message of their life is—God knows, and he is working every detail of their life to bring it to fullness.
There are several potential paths to uncovering the message of the client’s life. One way is to start with the desired ultimate impact—the result of the message—and work backward. If the person knows their calling task or role, look underneath it and ask what that task is supposed to accomplish:
- “Why do you want to do this task? What is the purpose of doing it?”
- “Why is this important? Why does God care about this?”
- “What part of Christ’s heart is this task meant to convey to your audience?”
- “If the total of your impact was that people ‘got’ something that Christ built into your own life, what would you most want that something to be?”
- “If you strip away all the externals—the actual acts of service, the organization, the planning, the finances—and all that was left was the message you want to convey, what would it be in one sentence?”
Another avenue is to look at the convergence of the person’s individual life messages. Sometimes one message is dominant, or all the messages point in a similar direction.
Tony Stoltzfus is an author, leadership coach, master coach trainer and director of the Leadership Metaformation Institute. Additional information on this topic can be found in Tony’s book, The Christian Life Coaching Handbook.