We all want to find purpose in life. God created us in His image; He is purposeful and instilled that desire in us. But finding our purpose can be hard. Some of us have explored many paths that ended in disappointment; we may have become discouraged and quit searching after several failed attempts. Others are so bogged down surviving life’s challenges that we don’t have the energy or desire to look for our purpose. Should we give up and settle for simply existing?
No! Remember the promise from John 10:10? “I came to bring them life, and far more life than before” (PHILLIPS). Purpose — far more life — is waiting for you! But maybe not where you expect.
King Solomon sought the purpose of life, too. He journeyed multiple paths but deemed them all meaningless: wisdom; pleasure; work; advancement; riches; and more. Along the way he saw God’s hand at work in the world. His ultimate finding: “After all this, there is only one thing to say: Have reverence for God, and obey his commands, because this is all that we were created for” (Ecclesiastes 12:13, GNT).
This is echoed in New Testament Scriptures (GNT unless noted):
- “You have been raised to life with Christ, so set your hearts on the things that are in heaven, where Christ sits on his throne at the right side of God.” (Colossians 3:1)
- “Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well.” (Matthew 6:33, NCV)
- “Whatever you do..do it all for God’s glory.” (I Corinthians 10:31)
- “Yet there is for us only one God, the Father, who is the Creator of all things and for whom we live; and there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things were created and through whom we live.” (I Corinthians 8:6)
- “This life that I live now, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave his life for me.” (Galatians 2:20b)
- “From now on, then, you must live the rest of your earthly lives controlled by God’s will and not by human desires.” (I Peter 4:2)
Some people think living for God means obeying lots of rules or commands. But what if those commands reveal our purpose and offer far more life?
The instruction manual for my kitchen range shares several rules, including: “Do not store explosives on or near the oven”; “Never modify or alter the construction of the oven”; and “Never leave surface burners unattended.” I can view these rules in one of two ways: 1) maximizing the purpose of the range or 2) limiting my freedoms. One view leads to good results and greater satisfaction. The other leads to frustration and serious injury or death.
The same is true for our lives. God has given us an instruction manual that defines our purpose and tells us how to get the most out of this life and eternity. Would your life be more satisfying if you followed His instructions in Colossians 3? (I am including The Message translation here because its directness made me think. Please consult your favorite translation if you prefer a different tone.)
“…Be content with obscurity, like Christ. And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy…make sure it’s all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk. Don’t lie to one another. You’re done with that old life…
So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.”
Why does God expect us to do everything for His glory? The short answer is in Revelation 4:11 (GNT), “Our Lord and God! You are worthy to receive glory, honor, and power. For you created all things, and by your will they were given existence and life.” Without God we would not exist. As our creator, He gets to proclaim our purpose and instruct us on fulfilling it.
Following Your Creator’s instruction manual and the purpose for which He designed you is far more life. Reshaping your heart, mind, and actions to match His purpose for you will bring far more satisfaction than anything you can pursue on your own. We will build on this foundation in future posts as we examine how God created each of us with an individual passion — a personalized talent, skill, or desire — that energizes us and glorifies Him. But if you haven’t found far more life, start by embracing your primary purpose; “Whatever you do…do it all for God’s glory“ (I Corinthians 10:31).
Do you believe following God’s instructions bring you far more life?
Are you allowing His Word to shape your heart, mind, and actions?
Do you “do it all for God’s glory”?
If not, tell Him about it:
Tell Him what is holding you back;
Tell Him what you fear;
Tell Him what you think you will lose.
Give it a try: choose one instruction from His Word (the Bible) and commit to follow it this week.
Reap the benefits of far more life!
Copyright 2019-20, Shari Damaso