Acts 20:24 NKJV
But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
Have you ever asked yourself, “Why am I here?” Have you ever wondered about the meaning of life? For what purpose do you exist? What on earth did God put you here for?
While I believe there are many different angles one can approach this topic from, I personally believe one cannot begin to discover their God ordained purpose in life until they grasp the message of the book of Ecclesiastes. In this book of wisdom, King Solomon makes a number of observations about the things we pursue in life. He talks about actively pursuing pleasure, knowledge, riches, a career, and pretty much everything everybody across the world universally seeks to obtain. And what was the end of all these things that man seeks under the sun?
“For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; one thing befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Surely, they all have one breath; man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity. All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust.” (Ecclesiastes 3:19-20 NKJV)
Not exactly a cheerful picture, is it? In spite of our endless pursuit of so many things that we deem of great importance and value in this life, in one simple swoop Solomon says that while those things might be great in and of themselves, ultimately, that is all they will ever be. Because when it’s all said and done, we are fundamentally no different from dogs in our pursuits. We suffer the same fate they do. Like an animal, one day we will die in the midst of our pursuits, and will eventually return to the dust from whence we came. As Solomon would sum it up: vanity of vanities, ALL is vanity (Eccl. 1:2)
Do you really grasp this though? Let’s make it personal. Do you love to play sports? Do you love to read? Do you love to work hard? Do you want to climb the corporate ladder, and land an important job doing important things? Do you wish to travel the world? Do you want to have a nice home, spouse, and 3 kids? All great things! But when it’s all said and done, all these things are vain and futile. They are nice in and of themselves. But when it’s all said and done, even if you do all these things, and pursue them with all of your heart, what’s the point? It’s all vanity. It’s futile. At the end of the day, even if your life goes from one moment of ecstasy to another, your end is ultimately that of a dog.
If we are to ever grasp why God put us here on this Earth, we must ultimately divorce ourselves from believing the devilish lie that God’s purpose for our lives is ultimately found in any of these pursuits. That’s not to say we cannot experience these things, and should not pursue them, nor is it to deny that God calls people to do these very things. Indeed, He does. But none of these things are the fundamental reason as to why God put any of us here. So, why are we ultimately here?
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those that love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:28-29)
This is ultimately what it’s all about. In these two verses, we have the meaning of our lives. And you know what I notice about this passage about God’s purpose for our lives? Our purpose in life is ultimately grounded in what God’s purpose is for Christ! For unless our “purpose-driven” lives are Christ-centered in our understanding, then we never can truly come to understand and properly fulfill God’s purpose for our lives.
You see, God is much more interested in who you “become” than what you “do” with your life. What you do is important. But God wants what we “do” to issue out of who we “are.” For what does it matter if we cast out demons in the name of Christ, and perform many mighty miracles, yet at the end of the age hear, “I never knew you, depart from Me you workers of iniquity?” Yes, God wants us to do all those awesome things, and then some. But the thing that should consume us most, is not our drive to do things in the name of the Lord, but our desire to look more and more like Him.
Before we can discover and embrace God’s purpose for our lives, and be conformed to the image of Christ, we must give ourselves wholly unto God. We must offer up the sum of our lives as a living sacrifice unto God. We must hold nothing back, and give Him everything that we are. And so long as we withhold even one part of our heart from God, we make it impossible to truly become conformed to the image of Christ. No doubt, offering up your life as a living sacrifice can be a difficult and painful thing to do. But God wants all of us, and not just some of us.
Once we have given our lives to the Lord as living sacrifices, it is only at that time that we can begin to become conformed to the image of Christ. How does such happen? It begins by refusing to walk, talk, and live like the world. We must refuse to be conformed to the image of this world. Instead of conforming ourselves to the pattern that is in the world, and living like people who do not know God, we need “to be transformed.” How do we experience this transformation that brings us into conformity with Christ? Through “the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)
The essence of discovering God’s purpose for our lives is to learn to stop thinking like this fallen world, and instead start learning to think like Jesus Christ. For how can we discover God’s purpose for our lives if all we do is think worldly thoughts? If all we think about is something sinful filling our heads, how can we ever entertain thoughts about what God wants to do through us? If all we do is think the world’s thoughts, will we not fulfill worldly purposes instead of Christ’s purpose for our lives? We cannot think like Jesus would think, and as a result, walk, talk, and live like Jesus, unless we begin to renew the thoughts of our minds through the word of God.
When we are not where we need to be in our relationship to God, and subject ourselves to the world and its thoughts, the apostle Paul said we will produce the following “fruit” in our lives:
“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these…” (Galatians 5:19-21)
People who are not being conformed to the image of Christ will produce the deeds of the flesh, and live like the world. But those who are fulfilling God’s purpose for their lives will ultimately produce the fruit of the Spirit, as they grow day by day, looking to be more and more like Jesus Christ, laying down their lives, and renewing their minds. Such people will walk like Jesus, talk like Jesus, and live like Jesus. Why? Because they have learned to think like Jesus. Because they have ultimately discovered God’s purpose for their lives: to cause them to become like Jesus Christ. And such they pursue with all their heart.
Scripture of the day:But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; … (Galatians 5:22-23)
Pastor Peter Okereke Jr.
The Living Word Ministries Inc.
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