Living without Purpose
Throughout the life of every man and woman, there comes a time when we all seek to find our place in this world. We endeavor to find our purpose. We set out to make something of our life. Popular statements are employed such as: “I have to figure out what I am going to do with my life,” and “I’ve got to figure out what I want to be in life.” We say things like “It’s my life; I will live it the way I want.”
To be sure, it is our life, and it is our choice to live it the way we want, but are we really living? Sad to say, most are living without purpose.
When Moses wrote of the seventh day of creation, he said that God rested on the seventh day of all the works which he had created and made. That meant that on the seventh day, everything that needed to be done was done. Everything was perfect and exactly as it needed to be. Then, just a short time after that, Adam and Eve told God, whether they intended to or not, that He didn’t do enough. On the day that they ate of the tree that God told them not to eat of, they made the decision that they didn’t want to be what God wanted them to be, they wanted to be something different.
The apostle Paul likened this unto the potter and the clay. He said: “shall the thing formed say unto that which formed it, why have you made me thus?” The analogy is of a potter sitting down and forming a lump of clay into a water pitcher and then shortly after he is finished, the water pitcher turns to him and says: “why did you make me into this?” “This isn’t what I wanted to be.” “You didn’t make me right.” Obviously, you would never see such a thing in reality, but in the garden of Eden, that is precisely what Adam and Eve did, and that is what most of the human race has been doing ever since. (Incidentally, human beings, or at least the body that we occupy, are made of, guess what, clay and water, which is what the potter uses to make his water pitcher, vase, etc.)
God created every one of us. We can try to split hairs by saying that “God didn’t create me; I came from my parents.” Truly, I did come from my parents, and they came from their parents and so on and so on, but if we trace it all the way back, we were all in Adam when he was created. So when God created Adam, he created all of us.
Not only that, but a million years ago—a billion years ago—eternity ago—God, in his omniscience, knew who and what each and every one of us would be. He knew who we would be; he knew what we would be, and he knew that, for the far greater majority of us, there would be a vast difference between what he intended for us to be and what we would actually become. He knew that, for most of us, we would never become what he meant for us to become. But God created and designed and engineered every one of us for a specific purpose. A calling, in other words.
- Noah’s purpose was to build an ark and save the human race from extinction.
- Abraham’s purpose and Sarah’s as well, was to bring a son into the world, and from that son a race, and that race would become the vessel through which God would give the law and the fulfiller of the law, the redeemer, the savior—The Lord Jesus Christ.
- Moses’ calling and purpose was to deliver the people of Israel out of Egypt, convey the law to them, and to become the writer of the first five books of the Bible.
- David’s purpose was to become the first true king of Israel, through whom would come the great and eternal king of Israel—Jesus.
- Esther’s calling was to become the queen of Persia, by which she saved the people of Israel from destruction, and by which her son Cyrus would one day issue the decree to send the people of Israel back to their land and cause them to rebuild their city and their temple.
- John the Baptist’s purpose was to prophecy unto Judah, and to introduce Christ to the world.
- Peter’s calling was to become the leader of the church after Christ’s ascension.
- Paul’s purpose was to be the apostle to the gentiles and to begin a worldwide movement as a travelling evangelist and missionary.
We could cite scores of others, and space would not allow for an explanation of exactly what all our society owes to men and women like these. However, let us just say that were it not for Noah, none of us would be here. And no doubt that could be said of many if not all of these men and women.
All of these men and women, if nothing else, had this one thing in common: they wanted to be what God created them to be. It was not easy for them to do, to be sure, but they strove to fulfill the purpose that God intended for them to fulfill.
Most people, now and for all time, simply meander through life trying to find their purpose, but they look everywhere and anywhere except to the one true way. They lie to themselves, telling themselves that they are living a fulfilled life, and telling themselves that they are truly happy, but they are living without purpose.
Some have settled for being whatever they are. In other words, they have given up on becoming anything. They become swallowed up in someone else’s purpose, or they simply feel that they have no purpose at all. I have to say I believe that this is where the greatest source of depression and anxiety and self-destructiveness comes from. Most people are not living; they are merely surviving, merely existing, and merely wandering aimlessly through this world. This is the meaning of the word lost.
I would also contend that this search and pursuit of purpose is the greatest source of crime and violence and hatred in the world. Each of us feels that we need to be something; we need to make it to someplace in life; we need our own hopes and dreams fulfilled. And while we may say with our words and think in our minds that we care about others, there is forever a nature within us that is willing to step on, abandon, and even destroy others if need be to get to our place of purpose. And more and more, nowadays, there is not even a pretense. In other words, more and more people are bold about their selfishness and pursuit of their own goals (Every man for himself). But with God it is not necessary to do any of that; because God is so powerful, so big, so everywhere that He is able to bring us through to the place where we are living according to His purpose, without all the strife and selfishness. In fact, that is the only way it can be done.
Let us look then to the example of Christ Jesus, who for the greater purpose gave Himself up willingly at the cross saying, “not my will but thy will be done.” And having fulfilled the purpose to which He was called, even from before the foundation of the world, it is now said of Him that He is risen and ascended and set down at the right hand of God, and He will one day rule the world in righteousness forever.
If only we could understand that God has had a purpose for each of us since before we were born, and we don’t need to search the whole world for that purpose. All we need do is go to God, asking Him sincerely and in faith to reveal to us what His purpose is for our lives. And He will do that.
If only we would realize that what God created us to be is the most fulfilling life we could ever imagine. When you are doing what you were created to do, there is no strife; there is no stress; there is no depression or fear or worry or heartache. You feel as though you are where you belong. You feel as though you are doing the only thing in life that could ever really make you happy. You feel like you are truly living.