THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE
We are beginning to study this book that is written by Pastor Rick Warren as the basis for our bible study. I encourage all of you to buy this book to use as a guide for our bible study lessons so that we will grow in our understanding of God and ourselves. The first question that He is answering is, “What on earth am I here for?” This is a question that many people have the wrong answer for.
Ephesians 1:11 says, “It is in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ, He had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose He is working out in everything and everyone.” Colossians 1:16, “For absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, everything got started in Him and finds its purpose in Him.”
It is not about you. If you want to know why you were placed on this earth, you must begin with God. You were born by His purpose and for His purpose. Focusing on ourselves will never reveal our life’s purpose. You didn’t create yourselves, so there is no way you can tell yourself what you were created for. It is only in God that we discover our origin, our identity, our significance and our destiny.
God has not left us in the dark to wonder and guess. We are given the Owner’s manual called the Bible. God is not just the starting point of your life, He is the source for it. The Bible says it is in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. The purpose for your life fits into a much larger cosmic purpose that God has designed for eternity. Without God life makes no sense.
You are not an accident. Isaiah 44:2 says, I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born. He chose your race, the color of your skin, your hair and every other feature. He also determined the natural talents you possess and the uniqueness of your personality. And because God made you for a reason, He also decided when you would be born and how long you would live (Psalm 139:16).
Nothing in your life is arbitrary. It is all for a purpose regardless of your circumstances. God knew the genetic makeup of your parents to create the DNA of you specifically. Many children are unplanned by their parents, but they are planned by God. God never does things accidently and He never makes mistakes. God’s motive for creating you was His love (Ephesians 1:4).
God planned out everything with great precision. The more physicists, biologists and other scientists learn about the universe, the better we understand how it is uniquely suited for our existence, custom made with the exact specifications that make human life possible (Isaiah 45:18). God made you so He could love you. The Bible says God is love. Love is the essence of His character.
What drives your life? You may be driven by a problem, a pressure or a deadline. Or it may be a painful memory, a haunting fear or a belief. Many people are driven by guilt. They allow their past to control their future. We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it. God specializes in giving people a fresh start. The Scriptures are full of people that God changed for the better.
Many people are driven by resentment or anger. They hold on to hurts and never get over them. Resentment always hurts you more than it does the person you resent. You are only hurting yourself with your bitterness. For your own sake learn from it and then let it go. The only way you can get rid of bitterness is to do what God teaches and what He says you should do and that is forgive that person.
Many people are driven by fear. They may be the result of a traumatic experience, or unrealistic expectations or even a genetic predisposition. Fear is a self-imposed prison that will keep you from becoming what God intends for you to be. 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”
Many people are driven by materialism. Their desire for wealth becomes their whole goal in life. It’s based on the misconception that having more will make you happy and more secure. But possessions only provide temporary happiness and it is fleeting. 1 Timothy 6:10 says, “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
Many people are driven by the need for approval. Expectations of parents, spouses or children or teachers or friends control their lives. Many adults are still trying to earn the approval of parents. Others are always worried by what others might think. One key to failure is to try to please everyone. Whose approval do you seek, people who have no power or God who has all the power?
THE BENEFITS OF A PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE
Knowing your purpose gives meaning to your life. When life has meaning, you can bear almost anything; without it nothing is bearable. Without God, life has no purpose, and without purpose, life has no meaning. Without meaning, life has no significance and no hope. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Knowing your purpose simplifies your life. It defines what you should do and what you should not do. Without a clear purpose you have no foundation on which you base decisions, allocate your time, and use your resources. You tend to make choices based on circumstances, pressures, and your mood at the moment. Ask yourself, “Does this activity fulfill God’s purposes for my life?”
Knowing your purpose focuses your life. It concentrates your effort and energy on what is important. We often get distracted by minor issues. You will keep changing directions, jobs and relationships hoping each change will fill the emptiness in your heart. Phil. 3:13-14, “I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead to receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ is calling us.”
Focus on what matters most. Stop trying to do it all. Never confuse activity with productivity. The people who have made the greatest difference in God’s history were the most focused. For instance the apostle Paul almost single-handedly spread Christianity throughout the Roman Empire. Only God knows your potential and by following Him you can fulfill your task on earth.
Knowing your purpose prepares you for eternity. Many people try to create a lasting legacy on earth. They want to be remembered when they are gone by putting their names on buildings. But all achievements will be surpassed, reputations fade and tributes are forgotten. Only trough God will you have an eternal legacy. God’s questions are 1, whether we believe in Jesus, and 2, what we did with what God gave us.
What did you do with all the gifts and blessings that God gave you? All the spiritual blessings, talents, opportunities, energy, relationships and resources God gave you. Remember all good things come from above. Did you spend it on yourself or did you use it for the purposes God made you for? The first question determines where you spend eternity. The second question determines what you do in eternity.
Questions: What are you attached to that keeps you from living for God? What is “the driving force in your life for God’s purposes”? What do you want to be? Are you at peace with the direction your life is taking now? Do you fear surrendering yourself completely to Christ?