I don’t know if your life is more similar to mine, but let me briefly give you a glimpse into my world. When I was born, my mother named me after my aunt. She explained later in life that she settled for that name because there were so many horrible names that were thrown around her hospital bed at the time that I was born. She told me that she had an argument with her mother in law about the names that I should be given, and her side of the argument was that she believed that a name carries so much power in one’s life. So if her child was to be given a name it had to mean something that will add value in that child’s life.
Giving a name to a child in many cultures is not the only thing that elders or parents argue about, there are tons of things; things like the kind of education that child will receive, what they need to study in order to succeed, the type of career they must consider when they grow up, sometimes who they should marry. Decisions are often made about the life of the child even before the child gets an opportunity to decide what they want from life.
So, when the child grows up he or she is expected by culture to follow a system of beliefs that will enable him or her to succeed. For example in many cultures, one is expectant to go to elementary school, primary school, high school, tertiary school, then work, then get married, then have children, then repeat the same cycle with their children. There are no considerations such as gap years, stepping into ministry, venturing into business, traveling the world, or whatever. In order to make elders or parents happy, one must follow the cycle, or else if they don’t they are considered to be rebellious.
The problem, however, arises when the cycle becomes a total failure in one’s life, and the question of purpose is left unanswered. The question of purpose in our generation is the most asked question where people want to know why they are here on earth. The answer is simple: culture or tradition was never designed to define one’s purpose. Please hear me out, honoring one’s parents is crucial in life, God commands us to do so, but understand this; they cannot define our purpose. Culture and tradition are men-made constructs, while purpose is a God-made construct. We are a generation that experiences high rates of suicide or depression because there is a lack of clarity in answering the question of purpose. Most celebrities are coming to the Lord and alerting their fans that money or the luxurious life that people are pursuing is not the answer to finding purpose. Purpose is much deeper than what anyone can define. It is my hope that after reading this blog post you will pursue a life filled with purpose.
Culture and tradition are men-made constructs, while purpose is a God-made construct.
Let us then answer this question: what on earth am I here for?
The first thing you need to understand is that the purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It is far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by His purpose and for His purpose. God says the following about you:
“I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born…” (Jeremiah 1:5).
In other versions of the Bible, it says “I knew you…”
You my dear friend, existed in the mind and plan of God before you ever existed in your mother’s womb. To discover your purpose in life you must turn to God’s word, not the world’s wisdom. Rick Warren in His book (The Purpose-Driven Life) surmises this first point as follows:
“You discover your identity and purpose through a relationship with Jesus Christ.”
“It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out everything and everyone.” (Ephesians 1:11-12).
You may have felt in the dark about your purpose in life but God today is bringing you into His light.
Let’s delve into the second purpose of your life. You my friend were formed for God’s family. Because God is love, He values relationships. (NB: If you have not watched our Every Nation Campus Faith City Relationship series, I highly encourage you to do so). Warren in his book alludes that when we place our faith in Christ, God becomes our Father, we become His children, other believers become our brothers and sisters and the church becomes our spiritual family.
“For through faith you are all sons of God in Christ Jesus”- (Galatians 3:26).
Before I knew Jesus as my personal Lord and Saviour, I did not like the church or its people, I kept my faith to myself and the only family I considered to be family were those who were related to me by blood. This opened the door for satan to tempt me and pull me into sin. Our families on earth are wonderful gifts from God, but they are temporary and fragile. On the other hand, our spiritual family lasts throughout eternity. It is a much stronger union, a more permanent bond than blood relationships. Being included in God’s family is the highest honor and the greatest privilege we will ever receive.
Thirdly, you were created to become like Christ. Many people want to be many things or become like many people. We even watch on tv those who change their skin tone or parts of their bodies to become like other people. The sad reality about this is that this is not satisfying. It disrupts one’s life and leads to destruction. God has created you and I to become like Christ. In all creation, Warren avers that only human beings are made “in God’s image”- (Genesis 1:26) There is an intrinsic value attached to every human being, but the image was incomplete and distorted by sin. So God sent Jesus on a mission to restore the full image that we have lost. Jesus wants to make us like Himself before He takes us to heaven. This is our ultimate destiny.
The fourth reason that you were created is to serve God. You were put on earth to make a contribution. God designed you to make a difference with your life. Rick Warren puts it this way:
“While many best-selling books offer advice on how to ‘get’ the most out of life, that’s not the reason God made you. You were created to ‘add’ to life on earth, not just take from it.”
Paul exclaims that:
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10)
God wants to use you to make a difference in this world. He wants to work through you. What matters is not the duration of your life, but the donation of it. Not how long you lived, but how you lived.
Lastly, you and I were made for a mission. Fulfilling your mission in this world is God’s fifth purpose for your life. Jesus clearly understood His life mission on earth. At age twelve He said: “I must be about my Father’s business”- (Luke 2:49); and twenty-one years later, dying on the cross, He said, “It is finished”- (John 19:30). Jesus completed the mission the Father gave to him, and now Jesus’ mission, while He was here on earth, has now translated to be our mission. What is that mission? Introducing people to God! It does not matter what you do in life, whether you are a student, a wife, a husband, a sister, a doctor, a lawyer, a writer, etc. we are created to fulfill this mission. Rick warren concludes this point by stating the following:
"If you want to be used by God, you must care about what God cares about; what He cares about most is the redemption of the people He made. He wants His lost children found! Nothing matters more to God; the cross proves that.”
I want to congratulate you on discovering your purpose. No more living in the dark of what on earth you are here for. It is time to start again with God and run this race with Him. It is my prayer that you will share with others the purpose that God has placed in their lives. Most of the material I used here is from a 40-day devotion book by Rick Warren entitled “The Purpose-drive Life”. I recommend it to you, read it, study it, and let it transform you. It changed my life and thousands of others, I hope it changes yours too.