What am I doing here? What’s the purpose of my life? These are common questions we all face at sometime in our lives. Those of us who are a little more contemplative may face these at a younger age but at some point we all are faced with these questions.
The reason we face these questions is because a life with no purpose doesn’t seem like much of a life at all. An apple tree that doesn’t create apples can’t really be called an apple tree. Same for the orange tree. As human beings, we have a desire to matter, to make a difference or at least to have some greater purpose than just living to die.
So in order for us to life a life of purpose, I think we need to understand 3 important truths. First, what is the purpose of our life? Second, how do we live out that purpose? And finally third, what is the result when we live out that purpose? Today, we will look at the first part.
Much has been written, discussed and debated about the purpose of life for all of mankind’s existence. Various philosophies and religions have tried to point to a way of living. Others have tried to argue that we are just meant to live for our own personal self-fulfillment. While still others see no purpose because, being created by random chance and years of evolution, we are simply a cosmic accident left to live, reproduce and die.
Probably the most popular view of the purpose of life these days, (thanks to the advent of postmodernism), is the idea that there isn’t one singular purpose but rather each person has in themselves the ability to discover an infinite amount of purposes.
While each of these views of the purpose of life have varying degrees of popularity throughout the world, they all neglect to answer the root of the question. You see our purpose is explicitly tied to our creation. Just as an apple tree finds it’s purpose in growing apples because it was created to do so, humans can only find their purpose based on why they were created.
While many don’t like the idea that humans were created, when faced with the facts, we are left to see that God did create us. We are not just random chance combined over millions of years. Each one of us was created, (for those struggling with this idea, please see some of the former blog posts in regards to God’s truth of creation). So if God created us, what purpose did He create us for?
One of my favorite quotes about our purpose comes from the Westminster Shorter Catechism: “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” The Bible also repeats this idea in verses like Philippians 4:4, (Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”), Psalm 144:15, (“Blessed are the people to whom such blessings fall! Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord!”), and 1 Corinthians 6:20, (“for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”) to name a few.
You see, our purpose is to be connected to God. Sin has created a rift between our connection to God and has stolen our true purpose from us, instead trying to sell us novelty purposes of self-fulfillment and random chance. Jesus tells us in John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he is it that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” Just as a branch from an apple tree that has broken off is useless, so we too, when not connected with our Lord and Savior life a live that is useless and purposeless.
We bring glory to God when we bear fruit, (John 15:8), and thus live out the purpose for which God created us for. Next time we will look more at what it means to bear fruit, but for this week my hope and challenge for us all is that we would understand our true purpose in life. It isn’t to get as much comfort and pleasure as possible. It isn’t to live a smooth life. It isn’t to chase health, wealth and happiness. Each of these counterfeit purposes will only delay the realization that we aren’t living the life we were created to live.
Instead, may we all understand that our purpose is to know God, depend on Him, glorify Him and enjoy Him. Only when we chase these true life desires can we live a life of purpose. May we all desire to live out our purpose by staying connected to Jesus and desiring an ever growing and deepening dependence upon Him!