Purpose, now there’s a word! It fuels so many motivational posters. Take word like “Ambition,” “Aspire,” “Dream, ”Determination,” and feature it against the backdrop a breathtaking scene and you have instant inspiration. Purpose provides a point of focus and a source of motivation.
Do you know what your purpose is?
Bill Jones and Terry Powell, in their book Knowing God: Fulfilling God’s Purpose for Your Life suggest that you consider the following before you answer:
- Everyone has a purpose whether they know it or not.
- You get out of bed every morning to serve it and satisfy it.
- Purpose is not defined by what you say or think
- Purpose is defined by what you do
- To find out what your purpose is they recommend sifting through your resent past. Examine your checkbook, bank statements, calendar, mobile device, and look honestly at how you spend your time.
Are you ready to answer the question?
Is your reason for living money, fun, fame, power or something else? These are pretty selfish reasons for getting up out of bed in the morning. But, then again, aren’t we living in the age of the “selfie”? Did you happen to notice these things are limited by your physical ability to acquire and sustain them?
What about the Christian who believes in eternal life? How does God fit into his or her purpose? Jones and Powell ask, “Is God just another resource to get what you want?“
Perhaps if it would help if we took a closer look at the word itself.
Google defines purpose as, the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists. Other definitions include intention and drive.
MS Word offers these synonyms: drive, determination, resolution, resolve, persistence, perseverance, tenacity, single-mindedness, commitment, devotion, dedication
The English-for-students website suggests these antonyms: vague, meaningless, aimless, and unplanned. Others included indifference and demotivation.
My purpose for living is ___________________ .
If you are still undecided or you are seriously looking for an alternative purpose to the one you presently have, read on. Jones and Powell suggest we read the following Bible passages and then form a definition or statement of purpose we derive from them:
Jeremiah 9:23, 24
2 Corinthians 5:9
After reviewing these scriptures, they came up with the following definition: The purpose of my existence is to bring glory to God and to live a life that brings Him pleasure.
They conclude using this definition will give life:
- Significance (not just success) – success achieves a goal, significance focuses on the right goals
- Meaning (not monotony) – establish a relationship with God and align your life accordingly. Then, even the most mundane tasks can be accomplished with purpose.
- Joy (not the pursuit of happiness) – some people spend their whole life pursuing happiness only to discover how fleeting it can be, a godly purpose accounts for our present joy that is also everlasting.
The balance of the book outlines how this can be accomplished; seeking God with the right habits and with the right heart results in glorifying God.
What facet of starting and ending my day glorifies God?
What part of my personal life brings God pleasure?
Is the role I play in my family pleasing to God?
In what way does my work or career glorify God?
How do I glorify God in the most mundane tasks?
Is God glorified in how I use my resources (time, money, talent)?
What pleases God and how do we know we’re pleasing Him? Loving God according to the definition given in Mark 12:28-30 and maintaining that love relationship throughout the day, brings God pleasure. If your stated purpose is aligned with God’s purpose then this quotation by Jones and Powell will make sense, “As a child of God you exist for His sake, He doesn’t exist for yours.”
Consider these words by J. I. Packer:
What makes life worthwhile is having a big enough objective, something that catches our imagination and lays hold of our allegiance; and this the Christian has, in a way that no other man has. For what higher, more exalted, and more impelling goal can there be than to know God?