What is life’s purpose?

John 17:4 “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.”

Do you have a purpose in life?  Do you realize why you were given life?  Do you ever think about this?  When this life is over, will you have fulfilled the purpose for which you were given it? 

These are obviously very big questions.  If there really is no purpose to life and we’re all here by accident – the end result of millions of years of chance events – then there isn’t really any answer to these questions.  You have no real purpose beyond the day-to-day struggle to survive.  Your motto may be “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we may die.” Or it may be “Whatever will be, will be.”  Perhaps you’re living to leave a legacy – for some reason or other.  You want people to say nice things about you after you are gone, even though you won’t have any way to hear what they say.  Perhaps this is just an extension of your wanting to have nice things said about you now. 

But what did Jesus, the only man who could ever be described as truly perfect, think about these questions?  In the verse above excerpted from Jesus’ longest recorded prayer that was voiced just before he went to the cross, Jesus proclaimed to the Father “I glorified you on earth.” He could say this because He had accomplished the work that God had given Him to do.  Could this be true for you as well?  Do you have a work that you were given to do by God Himself?  And if you were given such a work, how would you know about it, and further, how would you ever know whether you had accomplished it?  Would you and I ever be able to pray the words above and pray them with confidence? 

Two examples come to mind that may help answer this.  One is the apostle Paul.  At the end of his life, he said the following: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing (2 Timothy 4:7-8).”  Paul had to know what his purpose was in order to say such a thing.  And he also had to know that he had accomplished it and would be rewarded for it by God.  Another example is King David.  The Bible says that “David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep (Acts 13:36).”  David had a purpose, and he fulfilled that purpose before he died. 

So, is that what you want?  Do you want it to be said of you that you, too, fulfilled the purpose God had for you before you died?  Does that matter to you?  Well, if you are a Christian, it should matter to you more than anything else on earth.  And if you are a Christian, you know that the only way this will ever be true for you is if you are in constant communion with God.  You know that you need to listen to what He has said to you in His Word, and that you need to be talking to Him all the time in prayer seeking discernment as to how to understand what He has said and how to put those things into practice in your life. You know that He has said that the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself.  And you know that he has commanded us that “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (I Corinthians 10:31).” 

It’s really not very complicated.  It’s just a mindset to “In all your ways acknowledge him” and if we will do this, He has promised that “he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:6).  As they say, where there’s a will there’s a way, and if this truly is our will, He will definitely show us the way, for He wants that for us more than we can ever want it for ourselves.

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