It is perhaps one of the most common questions asked by humans throughout the ages.
“What is the meaning of life?”
Another related question for any given individual is:
“What is my purpose?”
People are born, live their lives, then they die. It’s that dash, you know, on our tombstone, the one between 1968 and 20?? (At least for me) that we’re living out.
Some people seem to love living, they just enjoy life.
Then there are others, the majority, unfortunately, that can’t wait for the weekend so that they have some time off from their work. These people would like to enjoy life but they don’t know how. In most cases, their happiness is based on being able to have time off, a better job, or having a nicer home or car.
What about you? Is your life satisfying? Are you enjoying your time here on planet Earth? Is your life worth living? Do you have a clear purpose? Or does it seem meaningless?
How does one go from living a meaningless life to one filled with purpose?
Suppose you found a device. It’s a little electronic gadget that has some buttons and a little display. The only words on it are foreign and you can’t get it to turn on or do anything. Until you know what it was designed for, it has no obvious purpose. It seems to have been masterfully designed and looks really interesting, but it does nothing and seems meaningless.
Then along comes the device’s creator. He has something in his hand that appears to be some sort of power source. He plugs it into the device and it lights up, makes some noise and starts doing some of the most marvelous things you’ve ever seen. What the little device does is simply amazing. The technology is so wonderful and so exceptional that it makes you say “Wow, whoever designed this little thingy is a genius!”
1 The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
2 Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
3 They speak without a sound or word;
their voice is never heard.
4 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
and their words to all the world.
Have you ever observed the sky at night?
Did you ever look at the moon and stars and said “Wow!”? Now check this out:
Genesis 1: 14 Then God said, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them mark off the seasons, days, and years. 15 Let these lights in the sky shine down on the earth.” And that is what happened. 16 God made two great lights—the larger one to govern the day, and the smaller one to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set these lights in the sky to light the earth, 18 to govern the day and night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.
Isn’t this cool? The Bible actually tells us what these heavenly bodies were made for. Though we see them day in and day out they continue to amaze us. The heavens happen to be God’s handiwork and it’s been working very well. Also, notice that they are multi-purpose, they separate day from night, one to govern the day, another to govern the night. The sun governs by affecting wind patterns and weather, while the moon governs by affecting the tides and I’m certain other undiscovered influences. All the heavenly bodies have the purpose of illumination and each is quite brilliant at that. I think it’s really cool that the moon has no light by itself, but only when we see the moon when it is reflecting the sun does it have light.
Are there any true atheists?
The people who deny God say that life and our universe happened all by chance. They see no purpose in any of it and think we’re just some cosmic accident.
Romans 1: 18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. 21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. 23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.
This is telling us that even atheists know God, but they’ve suppressed the truth. This proves the point that if you lie to yourself long enough you’ll end up believing it. Their minds are really dark and confused.
Satan has a lot of people fooled these days, doesn’t he?
He does anything he can to distract us from the Living God to the point of believing that there is no purpose and that life is meaningless.
So what about humans? What is our purpose? How were we designed?
Genesis 1: 27 So God created human beings in his own image.
In the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
What sets us apart from every other living creature is that we were made in His image. This knowledge helps us a lot. This implies that, by design, we resemble God. He’s cast us to be God-like, it’s in our DNA.
But since creation, we’ve encountered a bit of a problem. Well, actually, it is a major problem:
Romans 5: 12 When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.
Humans have been separated from God since Adam’s transgression and we’re born sinners:
5 For I was born a sinner—
yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
Separation from God means that we cannot know or understand our purpose. Like the aforementioned device, we have no purpose until we are plugged into our Power Source, the Creator. Only then can we live in such a way that brings Him glory:
John 15: 5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
This makes it clear that humans are in need of reconciliation with God. How can this happen?
Romans 5: 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.
Only in Jesus
Only when our faith is in Christ do we truly live and are plugged into His power. Then we can live up to the purpose He’s created us for, which is to glorify Him.
Again, how do we glorify Him? John 15: 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
Is there a sure-footed way for us to bear fruit in every season? You betcha!
1 Oh, the joys of those who do not
follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners,
or join in with mockers.
2 But they delight in the law of the Lord,
meditating on it day and night.
3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do.
This makes complete sense when you think about it.
The Bible is God’s instruction manual for us, it really teaches us how to live and how to love God. We are so wonderfully made that unlike the device mentioned above, God’s designed us so that He made us aware of our sinful nature and has given us free will and the ability to plug ourselves into His power.
John 6: 26 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. 27 But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”
28 They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”
29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”
This purpose of living for God yields eternal life and when this sinks into our hearts it brings true joy. The more we read His Word, the more we know how to please Him and give Him glory. After a while, our lives become simpler. We live each day making a concerted, deliberate effort with the simple goal of pleasing Him and giving Him the glory.
Paul said it best:
Romans 12: 1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Will you live for His glory?
“Dear God, you are my maker and my savior. You came before me and follow me. Without you I am nothing and have no meaning. I owe everything to you. When I consider this, I am compelled to give you all the praise and thank you for my life. Thank you in advance for the eternal life you’ve promised me! If only I can keep this fresh in my mind, I take it for granted all too easily. Please help me to get to know you better. Help me to put my complete faith in you. You are so faithful and loving, a God that will never let down all whose hope is in you. Thank you for everything! In Jesus’ name, amen”
Photo by Benjamin Voros on Unsplash