By Michael Risley
When my youngest daughter was in college, she had an assignment to ask various random people about their purpose in life. So one Saturday morning, we went around to different tables at my favorite coffee shop, asking our question.
As you can imagine, we received various different responses, and I would also say that most people found the question somewhat fun and interesting to answer. Many of the responses centered around being happy, making a lot of money, having fun or pleasure, loving others, and so on.
Doing this assignment with my daughter that day helped me realize that thinking through our purpose in life is a big deal… and knowing why we’re here can be one of the most profound understandings of life.
What if you lived each day for something that was really important? Something that would pull you out of bed each day and give you a spring to your step and a sense of destiny?
Here are some thoughts that might be helpful as you seek to discover your life’s purpose – or refine it, if you feel you’re already on the right path:
1. LOOK BEYOND YOURSELF AT THE BIGGER PICTURE AND PLAY THE ROLE THAT GOD CALLS YOU TO PLAY
You’ve been placed by God in the place that you live and in this time period of history for a purpose.
Acts 17:26 tells us that God “determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.”
2. YOU ARE NOT CALLED TO AN EASY LIFE, PUT TO A PURPOSEFUL LIFE.
As we wrestle with being self-centered and not wanting to be out of our comfort zone, we must believe God, trust that His plan is best, and go forward into the destiny to which He’s called us.
D.L. Moody, the late evangelist, said, “Trust in yourself and you are doomed to disappointment; trust in your friends and they will die and leave you; but trust in God and you will never be confounded in time or eternity.”
Rather than serving yourself all the way to meaninglessness, choose God’s way with His intended purpose for your fulfillment.
“I cry out to God most High – to God who fulfills His purpose for me.” Psalm 57:2
3. IF YOU FORGET THE VALUE OF YOUR CALLING, LOOK AT THE ONE WHO CALLED.
God works for the good for those “who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). It is GOD who does the work in you and through you as you give yourself to Him.
God always has a plan, and His plan is always the best. Pastor and missionary Peter Angier wrote, “To know His plan, it’s important to know what pleases Him. We must maintain daily fellowship with Him by reading, studying, and obeying what the Bible is teaching and then act upon the truth God reveals to us.” Also, it’s critical that you meet together regularly with other Christians (primarily in a Bible-believing church), for often God’s will is revealed and implemented through a community of God’s people.
As Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”
4. AS LONG AS GOD HAS YOU ON THIS EARTH, YOU HAVE A PURPOSE.
God has determined these three things:
- the day of your birth
- the day of your death
- and every breath you take
Job 14:5 says, “You have decided the length of our lives. You know how many months we will live, and we are not given a minute longer.”
The best way to discover your God-given purpose is to ask the Giver! Spend time with the Lord and ask Him, honestly and persistently, how you can live a life that pleases Him – a life that fulfills the purpose He has for you.
Take a moment to reflect on the powerful lyrics from the song In Christ Alone*:
From life’s first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.
It’s my prayer that God will use the truth of His Word and the power of His Spirit to help you live with renewed purpose today – and every day until life’s “final breath.”
*Words and music by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend