What Is The Purpose Of My Life?
Before Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life, was released in 2002 by Zondervan Publishing, I was given a pre-publication copy for evaluation. I read the manuscript and thought, “This is good and will be helpful to many people.” But what I did not realize was the depth of the issue confronting millions of people—as to why they occupy space on planet Earth and for what purpose, if any, are they here.
Tim Challies explains the meteoric success of the book:
“By January 2003 The Purpose Driven Life had sold 500,000 copies and was awarded the Gold Book Award. Just two months later it had crossed the 1 million threshold and was awarded the Platinum Book Award. In 2005 it was awarded the Double Diamond Award for sales exceeding 20 million. It became and remains the bestselling hardcover non-fiction book in history and has now tallied over 32 million sales. It is the second most translated book after the Bible.”
While the book has drawn flak from critics, no one can criticize the truth Warren espouses as early as in the first sentence: “It’s not about you; it’s all about God.” His book focuses on five themes that touch the core of human existence:
You Were Planned for God’s Pleasure (Worship)
You Were Formed for God’s Family (Fellowship)
You Were Created to Become Like Christ (Discipleship)
You Were Shaped for Serving God (Ministry)
You Were Made for a Mission (Mission)
Unlike the religious literature celebrated by other world religions, the Bible clearly and distinctly asserts that God is not a random force. He is One who has demonstrated purpose in the creation of the world, and going far beyond that, in the creation of the human body, as well as the creation of a definite reason for our being here on earth.
Understanding that there is a purpose in living, vast numbers of individuals, discerning what they feel God wants them to accomplish, set out to accomplish almost impossible feats—and succeed.
Consider the following truths:
The writer of Proverbs recorded: “The Lord has made everything for its purpose…” (Proverbs 16:4).
David, the king of ancient Israel, the one who fought Goliath, declared: The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever” (Psalm 138:8).
In the Garden of Gethsemane, shortly before Christ faced the cross, He prayed, saying, “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again” (John 12:27–28).
It is my conviction that the purposes of God and the will of God are intertwined or two sides of the same truth. God’s purpose provides a broad picture of how He is working in your life and what He wants you to accomplish, while His will gives specific ways of how He wants you to live.
God’s purpose includes your having a relationship with Him.
God’s purpose is like an axis to existence, giving you a motive and reason for living. Central to this is the fact that God is not an angry deity who is too old or decrepit to do anything about the needs of your existence, or who is indifferent to the stress and difficulties of life. Rather, He is a loving Father who sent His Son to Earth to show you how to have a personal relationship with Jesus, He whose purpose in coming to Earth was to be a Good Shepherd to lay down His life for His sheep, bringing us back into fellowship with God, the Father.
The most widely known and oft-quoted verse in the New Testament stresses this fact: “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16–17, NLT).
This simple but great truth has changed the lives of more people than any historian can even postulate. It asserts that Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins so that we may be forgiven and have the certainty of going to heaven. The Apostle Paul put it like this: “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:21, NLT).