By Shari Abbott
If you want to live a purpose driven life you first need to know what your purpose is. Sadly, many people stray from the simple truth found only in what God says.
We often plan things we can do, believing that when we accomplish them it shows that we have a mission and a purpose in life.
Yet problems arise with this way of thinking because it can lead to a vicious cycle of doing whatever it takes to hold onto what we feel defines us.
That is contrary to what God's Word, the Bible, tells us. God tells us that He defines who we are and in knowing Him we find our purpose.
The World vs the Word
The world says that you are what you do. You are defined by your job, socio-economic standing or your recreational activities. The Word (Bible) says that we are defined by Christ and what He did for us on the cross (Ephesians chapters 1-3).
The world encourages us to be all that you can be, saying things like, 'You are strong. You can do it. Believe in yourself and you will be a winner.' The Word says that when we are weak, God is strong for us (2 Corinthians 12:10). God uses the weak to confuse the mighty (1 Corinthians 1:27). Trust in Jesus Christ because He has already won for us what we can never win for ourselves.
The world says that we should do things so that they come back to you in blessings and rewards, like the teachings of karma and some health, wealth and prosperity teachings. The Word says we should love and serve Jesus Christ by sacrificially giving to your neighbor, because in Christ we already have everything we need. That is God's love!
Living for pleasure
When you ask yourself the question, "what is my purpose in life?" turn to the Bible to read what God says. God tells us that Adam was created for His pleasure — to live in a perfect relationship with Him and to increase His goodness by loving and serving Him.
Revelation 4:11, says "You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for you have created all things, and for your pleasure they are and were created."
Sadly, Adam and Eve sinned and every person since that time has been born with a sinful nature of rebellion again God's original plan and purpose for man. While our nature has changed, and each of us is born with a sinful nature, our purpose in life has not changed. Our purpose is to love, honor and glorify the Lord and by doing so we bring Him pleasure.
How Do We Please God?
God tells us what righteous living looks like in the Bible's instructions. Jesus commanded, "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48).
When we are honest with ourselves, we know how far short we fall from God's standard of perfection. When we understand our sin, we understand our need for a Savior. God, in His loving kindness and mercy, sent Jesus to live a perfect righteous life and to pay the penalty for our sins. When God saves us He brings us into a right relationship with Himself and as a result turns our lives around.
At the moment Jesus saves us we begin a life-long process of growing more and more like God. Pleasure, in this case, means that we reflect who He is and honor and glorify Him by keeping His commandments – not because works save us but because we love Him. In Matthew chapter 22, Jesus clearly told us what those commandments are: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind," secondly, to "love your neighbor as yourself."
So our purpose in life is to love – not with our love, but with the supernatural love of Christ that lives in us and flows through us.
Be still and know that Jesus is God. Stop striving in our own power and start resting in His love. Rest in the finished work of Christ and believe that His power will work through us. As Philippians 1, verse 6, says, "He (God) who began a good work in you [who trust in Jesus, He] will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).
Remember, it is not by our deeds, but by His deliverance that we are saved. It's not by our performance, but by His perfection that we are set apart for His use. The result will be a life that honors God in how we live think and act. So surrender to His will and watch Him work!?
Article adapted from Reasons for Hope