What is the purpose of life?
IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING
I recently finished a series on determining God’s will for my life. This article attempts to get at the heart of the matter-the underlying purpose behind our lives. Since we only get one shot at life here on earth, wouldn’t it be a good idea to determine why we’re here. For centuries, philosophers and theologians have been thinking and writing about this perplexing subject. It need not, however, be perplexing. When in doubt about anything we’re working with, just go to the owner’s manual. Three short but poignant biblical verses certainly point us in the right direction:
What does the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in His ways, and to love Him (Deut. 12:10).
He has shown thee , O man, what is good, and what does the Lord require of thee, but to…humble thyself and walk with thy God (Micah 6:8).
You shall love the Lord thy God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength (Mark 12:30).
According to these verses, our purpose in life is to know, to love, and to walk with God. In short, our purpose is to know our God.
AS I SEE IT
As with many other subjects, we have taken something simple and have complicated it, twisted it, and distorted it. Instead of stressing holiness in order to know God, we have emphasized service for God. We have been told we were “saved to serve,” so we develop techniques to better carry out what we see as our chief aim-to effectively communicate the gospel and win souls to Christ. To pull this off, we realize that we need the power of the Holy Spirit, so instead of longing for God Himself, we long for more power to serve Him more effectively. We’re chastised for not sharing our faith as we should, so we vow to try harder, only resulting in more frustration. It’s legalism at its finest: obey to receive the blessing. The problem is that it doesn’t work for us any better than it worked for the Children of Israel. It was and is a dead end.
This is, in my opinion, a perfect example of failing to live out our purpose. Our focus is to be on drawing near to God. Out of that nearness will come a very real and uncontrived sharing of our very real relationship with our very real God. We can’t help but share with others what God has done for us. As our focus is on intimacy with God, more and more of Him rubs off on us. All of a sudden we find ourselves obeying without really trying, and with this kind of obedience comes a “natural” effectiveness.
We’re constantly getting things backward as we try to grow in our faith. We’re told we need to pray more and to have more consistent quiet times if we want to grow closer to God. It sounds reasonable, but it’s backward. Let me illustrate. Imagine the “quiet and still waters” of the 23rd Psalm. The sheep don’t go to the quiet waters to find the shepherd. They go first to the shepherd, who leads them to the quiet waters. Now, let the quiet waters represent your quiet time. The same principle applies. You don’t go to your quiet time to find a closer relationship with Christ. You seek after Christ more than anything else and He will lead you to a more vibrant quiet time, prayer life, and anything other discipline you can imagine.
It all comes back to our purpose-to seek God above all else and everything else will fall into place. Our service will flow out of our intimacy with our God. We spend so much of our lives chasing after everything except the main thing-God Himself.
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.