Are we driven by anything other than our purpose?
Do we allow ourselves to be driven by materialism?
Mat 6:31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, With what shall we be clothed?
Mat 6:32 For the nations seek after all these things. For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things.
Luk 16:13 No servant can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
Luk 16:14 And being money-lovers, all the Pharisees also heard all these things. And they derided Him.
Do we allow ourselves to be driven by others’ expectations?
Many people allow the expectations of others to run their lives. Children may live their lives according to the expectations of their parents and school friends and adults may live their lives according to the expectation of their peers, society, etc.
When Jesus was on earth He lived His life according to the purposes that His Father had intended for Him. That ran contrary to all the expectations of the society during His time. People expected Him to behave totally different.
Luk 7:34 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, Behold a gluttonous man and a winebibber, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners!
Jesus’ disciples never expected that the Messiah they followed would purpose to go to the cross to die and humiliating death. Yet Jesus went by the purposes of God and not by the expectations of even His closest friends.
Mar 8:31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
Mar 8:32 And He spoke that saying openly. And Peter took Him and began to rebuke Him.
Mar 8:33 But when He had turned around and looked on His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, Go behind Me, Satan! For you do not mind the things of God, but of the things of men.
We cannot find purpose in life in ourselves
Rick Warren in his book Purpose Driven Life gave us a very good illustration of this. We often try to determine our purpose in life by looking at our own likes and dislikes, passion, ambitions, etc.
But the real search for a purpose should begin with God. This is because it is God who created us and not ourselves. When we look at an invention, we need to ask the inventor what he invented it for. Likewise when we want to know the purpose of our life, we need to ask God what he created us for.
We are created for His purpose
We did not come into this world by chance. God created us for a purpose.
Col 1:16 For all things were created in Him, the things in the heavens, and the things on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers, all things were created through Him and for Him.
Isa 43:21 This people that I formed for Myself; they shall declare My praise.
We are created for His glory
We are not only created for His purposes, we are also created for His glory.
Isa 43:7 every one who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
How do we live for God’s glory?
Doing His work
Jesus told us that He glorified His Father during His time on earth by finishing the work that His Father gave Him to do.
Joh 17:4 I have glorified You upon the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.
Isaiah 42:12 Let them give glory unto the LORD, and declare his praise in the islands.
1 Chronicles 16:29 Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
Loving and accepting others
Rom 15:7 Therefore, accept each other in the same way that Christ accepted you. He did this to bring glory to God.
Loving others is a trademark of a Christian. Jesus says that the world will know we are Christians if we show love for one another.
Becoming more Christ-like
When we become more and more like Christ, God gets the glory.
Php 1:9-11 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, (10) so that you may approve what is excellent, and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, (11) filled with the fruits of righteousness which come through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Joh 15:8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.
Doing God’s work
2Co 8:19 …this gracious work which we are carrying on, for the glory of the Lord and to show our good will.
1Pe 4:10-11 As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who utters oracles of God; whoever renders service, as one who renders it by the strength which God supplies; in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.
Telling others about the gospel
2Co 4:15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
Living for God’s glory is no easy task. It requires sacrifices and can even lead to suffering. Even Jesus the Son of God struggled with this. He knew that to glorify His Father He needed to go through much suffering. Yet He prayed that it is His Father’s will that is done and not His.
Joh 12:27-28 And My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour? But for this cause I came to this hour. (28) Father, glorify Your name!
We are created for His pleasure
“You (God) created everything, and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created.” Rev. 4:11b (NLT)
This does not mean that God cares only for His own pleasure and does not care whether we are happy or not. God wants us to be happy and the ability to enjoy life is a gift from God.
Ecc 3:13 And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor, it is the gift of God.
1Ti 6:17 As for the rich in this world, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on uncertain riches but on God who richly furnishes us with everything to enjoy.
If we are created to give God pleasure, we need to know what it is that gives Him pleasure.
Psa 147:11 but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.
Psa 69:30-31 I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. (31) This will please the LORD more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs.
Since we are created for His pleasure, we should make it our aim to please him, just as the apostle Paul did.
2Co 5:9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.
We should live for an eternal purpose
Our life on earth is nothing compared to what we will spend in eternity. That is why we should live our lives with eternity as our main focus.
Psa 144:4 Man is like a breath, his days are like a passing shadow.
That does not mean that we do nothing on earth to enjoy this life that God has given us but this should not be our main focus.
2Co 4:18 because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Because God has set eternity in our hearts, there is a longing for each one of us to live our lives with eternal significance. We feel an emptiness when we contemplate that what we have achieved in this life cannot be brought forward to our next.
Ecc 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in His time; also He has set eternity in their heart…
The Bible says that men are eternal creatures. We outlive our bodies because we have a spirit that is eternal that will either spend eternity in heaven or hell.
When we live our lives in reflection of this fact, our priorities become different. We no longer spend our time and energy on things that do not count for eternity. Sure, we would spend time on recreation and other activities because we need them and because they are gifts from God to enjoy our life, but we would not emphasize them because we know that living our life exclusively for these purposes are of no eternal benefit.
The wise King Solomon experimented with the purpose in life. He tried it all and tells us all is vanity. We can learn valuable lessons from him without going through the same things he went through.
Ecc 2:1-11 I said in my heart, Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore consider and behold goodness; this also is vanity. (2) I said of laughter, It is madness; and of mirth, What does it do? (3) I sought in my heart to drag my flesh with wine, yet leading my heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, until I might see where the good for the sons of men might be, what they should do under the heavens all the days of their life. (4) I made my works great; I built houses for myself; I planted vineyards for myself. (5) I made gardens and orchards for myself, And I planted trees in them, of all fruit. (6) I made pools of water for myself, to water the forest shooting forth trees. (7) I bought slaves and slave women, and sons of the house were mine; also livestock, a herd and a great flock were mine, above all that were before me in Jerusalem. (8) I also gathered silver and gold to myself, and the treasure of kings and of the provinces. I got men singers and women singers for myself, and the delights of the sons of men, a wife and very many wives. (9) I was great and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem; also my wisdom remained with me. (10) And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them; I did not withhold my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labor, and this was my part of all my labor. (11) Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done, and on the labor that I had labored to do; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit; and there is no profit under the sun.
When we live life for an eternal purpose, not only do temporal pleasures not matter much to us, even temporal suffering becomes bearable.
Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the coming glory to be revealed in us.
Paul went through tremendous suffering for the sake of Christ but he considers all that not even worth comparing with the rewards that he will get from God.
God decided how we should be created
Because God has a purpose for our life, He creates us for that purpose. That means every detail that concerns us is determined and allowed by God. He decided when, where and how we would be born. He decided how we should look, what race we should be born in, etc.
Psa 139:15 My bones were not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, when I was being skillfully woven in an underground workshop.
Act 17:26 From one human being he created all races of people and made them live throughout the whole earth. He himself fixed beforehand the exact times and the limits of the places where they would live.
God’s purposes for our life are good
Jer 29:11 For I know the purposes which I am purposing for you, says Jehovah; purposes of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
We are often afraid to live our life according to God’s purposes because we think that He may ruin our life. We are sure that He would ask us to leave the enjoyment and enter into one that will make us miserable.
But God loves us more than we love ourselves. The life He has chosen for us may not be a comfortable life but we know that it is not intended to harm us. He chose for us a life full of purpose that even if tough will be more meaningful that the life we choose for ourselves.
We are foolish if we do not know what God’s purposes for us are
Eph 5: 15-17 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
The Bible describes as foolish those that do not understand what the will of God for their life is. This is because we are accountable to God for how we live our life, whether we are living our life for the purposes He intended for us.
Rom 14:12 So then each one of us will give account concerning himself to God.
Knowing God’s purpose for our life motivates us
Joh 4:34 Jesus said to them, My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work.
Jesus was so motivated to do the will of His Father that it was like food to Him. He could not do without fulfilling His Father’s will anymore than He could do without food.
It is great to have worldly achievements but how much more important it is to have eternal achievements. If people can be motivated to do their best for worldly achievements, which are temporal, how much more should we be motivated by fulfilling God’s purposes for our life as our rewards will be eternal.