If you were able to ask this Praying Mantis what its life’s purpose is, it’s unlikely you would get an answer! And yet it would go about its business of survival and reproduction without a further comment! Many human beings act in the same way on the treadmill of life in their established daily routines, giving little thought as to any ‘grand purpose’. When a baby takes its first breath, it has no concept of there being a purpose to life and certainly has no idea that there is one. Growing through the life cycle, most people will think about the big question of ‘why am I here’, for it is the most important thing a person wants to discover. Sadly, the majority will draw their last breath without discovering life’s big purpose.
If you think about Presidents, top footballers, students, the rich and poor from all colours and creeds, how many seem to have discovered a purpose going beyond this life? Here are a few to consider as you reflect on your own position:
- ‘My body, my clothes, and my makeup are on purpose, just as I am on purpose’ – Janet Mock (transgender woman activist and journalist)
- ‘My life is based on pain, passion and purpose’ – Elijah Cummings
- ‘Find out who you are. And do it on purpose’ – Dolly Parton
- ‘I've always felt quite singular, even as a child. That I must stay on track to keep my purpose’ – Alice Walker
A person might look for short term purpose and find it – join a gym and lose weight! Then what? Perhaps look for medium term purpose and study for a job, leading to a career in which s/he works for 25 years before retiring or being made redundant. And then? Perhaps more research, some voluntary work, time with family – but no enduring purpose comes through those, valuable though they certainly are. It’s not in the pile of cash that we squirrels like to store for the rainy day, nor in the certificates of achievements that will one day be thrown away by others, nor in the size of house that we will pass on. Is it all vanity and a waste of time and space as the writer of Ecclesiastes wrote or was he right when he summarised a life of exploration (and sometimes dissipation) when he said?: ‘He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end’ – Ecclesiastes 3:11.
- ‘In previous generations, there was purpose; you had to die, but there was God, and literature and culture would go on. Now, there is no God, and our species is imminently doomed, so there is no purpose. We get up, raise families, have bank accounts, fix our teeth and everything else. But really, there is utterly no purpose except to be alive’ – T C Boyle
You’ve got to feel sympathy for someone like this who finds no purpose in life. For when their life ends so does their purpose and that surely means there was little or no purpose even in life! All rather pointless - at what point does that sad conclusion make any sense?
Contrast this with God’s Word that is full of life and purpose. Here are truths to strengthen you, to bring focus and a reason to live a fully motivated life. Be encouraged as you read the bold purposes of God:
- PURPOSE THAT PREVAILS: ‘Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails’ – Proverbs 19:21
- FIRM IN HIS PURPOSE: ‘God is mighty, but despises no one; he is mighty, and firm in his purpose’ – Job 36:5
- GREAT ARE YOUR PURPOSES: ‘Great and mighty God, whose name is the Lord Almighty, great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds. Your eyes are open to the ways of all mankind; you reward each person according to their conduct and as their deeds deserve’ – Jeremiah 32:18-20
- CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE: ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters’ – Romans 8:28-29
- PURPOSED IN CHRIST: ‘With all wisdom and understanding, God made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfilment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory ’ – Ephesians 1:8-12
- GOOD PURPOSE: ‘…for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose’ – Philippians 2:13
- HIS OWN PURPOSE AND GRACE: ‘He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time’ – 2 Timothy 1:9
- PLANS TO GIVE YOU A HOPE AND A FUTURE: ‘For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart’ – Jeremiah 29:11-13
God made you ‘on purpose’ and in his own image. Christ Jesus informs us that his mission was to bring you ‘life to the full’ through connecting you to God (John 17:26). So it is that ‘in Christ’, you become an adopted child of God, deeply loved and filled with the purpose of enjoying God and bringing joy to him. God is very purposeful and wants you to engage with him so that his purposes will also be yours. Never lose focus but always keep living ‘on purpose’!
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