“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Genesis 3:19
What does it mean for the Faith Child? Just a beginning of life, toiling and the ending of life? What is expected in between? What is the meaning and purpose of life?
“Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made,” (Isaiah 43:7). Our purpose is to praise God, worship him, to proclaim his greatness, and to accomplish his will. This is what glorifies him. We were created by him, according to his desire, and our lives are to be lived for him so that we might accomplish what he has for us to do. When we trust the One who has made us, who works all things after the counsel of his will (Ephesians 1:11), then we are able to live a life of purpose. Unbelievers do not know God. Therefore, they can only be moralistic in their self-determination of meaning and purpose.
We are free to pursue God in all areas of our lives – as individuals in our professions and calling, in groups as part of the Church and community, and we can do that by being the best at what we do in the various callings of life. So, as the Bible says, “…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God,” (1 Cor. 10:31).
“Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others,” (Phil. 2:4). In this, we learn that purpose is best defined not by selfish desires but by the ability to love and consider others more important.
We are to live to bring glory to God through prayer and study of His Word, the Bible, so that we might better know what he has for us.
Discovering your purpose is the easy part. The hard part is keeping it with you on a daily basis and working on yourself to the point where you become that purpose.
You must align your purpose with your needs, abilities, and desires. Your purpose tells you what you should do. Your needs (money, shelter, clothing) dictate what you must do. Your abilities (skills, talents, education) dictate what you can do. And your desires (enjoyable work, passion) dictate what you want to do. Taken individually each of these areas will only point you in a general direction, but when you put them all together, you’ll find it easier to set specific, practical goals. This way you’ll be setting goals that help you fulfill your purpose, meet your needs, do what you love to do, and do what you’re really good at.
What should you live for? Wealth? Power? Service? Longevity? Reason? Love? Faith? Family? God? Virtue? Happiness? Fulfillment? Comfort? Contentment? Integrity?
It is important to make a global choice about how to live our lives, since this decision sets the context for everything else we do. If you don’t choose your context, you get the default/average context, which means you’re essentially letting others dictate your context. Many today adopt a largely commercial/materialist context. It says to get a job, have a family, save some money, and retire. Be a good citizen and don’t get into too much trouble. But don’t really matter either. Be a good cog. In a democracy no one is really in charge of the cultural context as a whole, so the most common contexts end up as a mish-mash of bits and pieces that lack overall congruency. This will generally lead to confusion and mediocrity. In a strong dictatorship, you’ll usually see a more focused context than in a democracy. There’s more pressure to conform to such a context. In the long run this type of context will usually lead to disillusionment, numbness, or fanaticism. Ultimately if you want to get closer to the “best possible life” for you, you have to pick your own context.
What is the real purpose of life? “Fear God and keep His commands” (12:13). God created man, because He had a purpose for us to accomplish. And He designed us so that, unless we fulfill that purpose, we have no real sense of accomplishment. Instead we create problems for ourselves.
Problems often result when things are created for one purpose, but we try to use them for a completely different purpose. Likewise, our lives are not satisfactory when we do not accomplish the purpose we were created for.
Matthew 6:19-21,24,33 Our main concern in life must be to work in God’s kingdom and have a right relationship with Him.
Note v24. You can have only one master. You cannot put two things in first place in your life. God requires that serving Him must be the most important thing in life to us. Each of us must make a choice. Either God will be first, or something else will be first.
Matthew 22:36-39 The most important work God intends for us to accomplish life is to love God and love our fellowman.
John 14:15 – But love for God requires us to obey Him (1 John 5:2,3).
1 Corinthians 14:37 – God’s commands are revealed in the Bible.
Lasting fulfillment in life comes only from obeying God’s word and thereby serving God and man. Until you understand the teaching of the Bible, you do not really understand the purpose of life.
See also 1 Timothy 6:6-10; Luke 12:15-21.
Here is another major question of life for which, apart from the Bible, you cannot know the real answer.
We must live our lives in the context of what follows this life on earth. Hebrews 9:27 – It is appointed to man once to die, then comes the judgment. Jesus may come before we die; but if we die first, we will be raised from the dead when He returns. Either way, we will face God and be judged for our lives, good or bad.
Someday, God will hold every one of us accountable for whether or not we have accomplished the purpose for which He created us. [John 5:28,29; Ecclesiastes 12:14; 2 Corinthians 5:10]
Matthew 25:31-46 – At judgment, the righteous will inherit the kingdom prepared for them by God (v34). This is eternal life (v46). The wicked will go into eternal fire (v41). This is eternal punishment (v46).
Romans 2:6-11 – What determines the reward we receive? Our faith in Jesus Christ and then the works that follow faith. We receive wrath if we are disobedient to His call of grace to redeem us from sin, work evil and do not obey truth. We receive eternal life if we continue trust in His salvation and bear the fruit of that salvation. Our eternal destiny depends on whether or not we accomplish our Maker’s purpose!
Romans 3:23 – The problem we all have is that at times we have failed to do the Creator’s will. We are all guilty of sin (1 John 1:8,10). What can be done about that?
The good news is that Jesus came and died to forgive your sins (Romans 5:6-10; 6:23; John 3:16). To receive this forgiveness, you must be willing to live the rest of your life in His service – “Repent.”
Acts 2:28; 22:16 – If you come to Christ believing in Him, confessing Him, and being baptized, He will forgive you and make you a new creature so you can have eternal life (Romans 6:3,4; Mark 16:16; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Corinthians 15:58).
Living life apart from obedience to God may seem pleasurable and attractive temporarily, but in the end it will lead to catastrophe. Surely you need to investigate before it is too late!
Someday you will wish you had lived your life for God. If you are not living it for Him now, we urge you to find out what His will requires of you. If you already know, we urge you to obey while you have opportunity.
The Bible has the answer to the most important questions of life. There is no need to go through life wondering “what it is all about.” Why not find out and begin to live according to the purpose for which you were made?
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Have you found out God’s plan for you? Do you have hope and a future?