Our Purpose

Why are we here?  What is our purpose?

Some view life as a meaningless series of routines.  “We go to bed late, we get up early, we go to work, we drive home, eat and go to bed, to get up early, to go to work, to come home, ad nausea.  And, as if that were not enough, we are plagued with making ends meet financially, fighting off the latest virus, hoping to avoid some dreaded disease, mistreated at home, and then we die.  Every aspect of life seems vain.  It is like striving after the wind” (Steven Lloyd, Coping: A Biblical Approach, p. 2).

Some live their life with purpose, but the wrong purpose.  There are those who make their chief aim in life amassing wealth and acquiring possessions.  The Bible says: “We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Timothy 6:7 cf. Luke 12:20).  There are those who make it their chief aim to enjoy life.  The Bible says: “Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward” (Hebrews 11:24-26).  There are those who make their chief aim in life physical fitness.  The Bible says: “Bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having the promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8).

Man was created with purpose.  God told the Israelites, “Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him” (Isaiah 43:7).  Jesus instructed, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).  Christians are taught, “You were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20);  “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).  The church is to bring glory to God (Ephesians 3:21).  

The word “glorify” means “to praise, extol, magnify… to honor, do honor to, hold in honor… to cause the dignity and worth of some person or thing to become manifest and acknowledged” (Thayer).

Sometimes even Christians fail to understand, or stay focused on, their purpose.  Our ultimate purpose is not: (1) Numbers.  We should be interested in gaining souls for Christ.  However, numbers can be gained by things other than the truth.  (2) Unity.  We should be interested in maintaining Christian unity.  However, some ignore truth to maintain church unity.  (3) Knowledge.  Tim Nichols, “Gaining knowledge is not the goal.  It is an essential step on the greater path to the greater goal, but not the goal any more than putting on one’s shoes is the goal of one who begins a long journey (Ephesians 6:15).  Many things could be the motivation for gaining knowledge (even of the Scriptures), which could make it an unworthy goal… Those who seek knowledge in order to gain the admiration of men, to merely enjoy wining arguments and wielding intellectual power of others, or even because they love the academic challenge of working with ideas and making the pieces fit – have not yet properly aimed their knowledge quest” (Nichols, Article – The Goal: Glorifying God).

Our purpose is to glorify God.  T. Pierce Brown has written, “The Christian life is not merely the sum of isolated acts of work and service where one offers part of his life and abilities to God, spending the rest on himself and his own interests.  All you are and have and do is God’s and should reflect honor and glory on Him… Many of us who have been intensely involved in personal evangelism have often taught, or at least implied, that the only way you can glorify God is by winning souls to Christ.  That is not so.  There is no question in my mind that it is one of the best, most important and rewarding way to glorify God, but I take the position that you can eat, drink or play golf to the glory of God.  Does not the housewife need to know that the monotonous rounds of trivial deeds that are boringly repeated day after day do not need to be mere trivial deeds, but can be to the glory of God?  Do you know that if a woman cleans her house to impress her neighbor with the fact that she is a good housekeeper, it may be for her glory rather that God’s?  But if she does it to prepare the house more suitably to function for (1) fellowship of Christian brothers and sisters that they may be better strengthened for love and service to God and man or, (2) to provide a more fitting place to have a friend or neighbor in for Bible study, free from the distractions of a cluttered world, she thus glorifies God… The results of this awareness and purpose in one’s life are staggering!  … Life is no longer a boring monotonous round of duties, but rather a joyous, purposeful, meaningful course of action.  Now there is a cohesive, unifying force which gives purpose, meaning and value to all that you do.  That force is to strive to consciously do whatever you do for the glory of God!” (Brown, Article – What Are You Doing Here?).

About Bryan Hodge

I am a minister and missionary to numerous countries around the world.
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