What is My Purpose?
Updated: Feb 1
There is too much talk today about purpose. Ever since Rick Warren wrote, “The Purpose Driven Life”, and “The Purpose Driven Church”, the church in the west has been overly preoccupied with purpose. The basic sentiment of today’s church culture is that every person has a magnificent, almost miraculous, purpose in life. This over preoccupation with purpose is a result of fatherless homes and inadequate biblical teaching that should produce a thorough, biblical, Christian world-view. Those are subjects that need to be addressed in future writings. For now, I wish to ask the question, “What is my purpose?”.
The answer to that question is easy. It’s accepting the answer to that question that proves difficult for people. The reason it is difficult to accept is that the answer does not seem grand, miraculous, or exciting. In other words, it is not always palatable to the flesh. Nonetheless, the question, “What is my purpose?”, is worth an honest answer. So, here it goes.
The truth is you do have a purpose. In fact, saved people and sinners have a purpose. In this writing, I will deal with saved individuals that I will refer to as Christians. Christians have a purpose. This purpose falls into two categories. Both categories are applicable to all Christians of all generations.
The first purpose for Christians is that we are conformed to the image of the Son of God. Consider what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans chapter eight.
Romans 8:28-30 (ESV) – “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 For those whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”
What does it mean to be conformed to the image of the Son of God? It basically means that God is in the process of completing what is already done in us by His judicial decree at our salvation, and that is making us completely righteous and holy, both outwardly and inwardly, just as Jesus Christ is. Therefore, everything we go through in this life is orchestrated by God for this purpose.
When this purpose is completed, Jesus will be the “firstborn among many brothers”. What does that mean? It is a reference to the practice of Jewish families, especially in the days of Jesus, where the first-born male child in the family was given a privileged status. He was preeminent among his siblings. So, it is and will be, with Christ. He is preeminent among those of us who are born-again, adopted into the family, and made co-heirs with Him. Even though we are “siblings” through our adoption, He is the privileged One as the only begotten Son of God and the Redeemer of the redeemed. Therefore, when we are finally and fully glorified, our very existence, as well as our work, will give glory, honor, worship, and preeminence to the preeminent One, Jesus Christ, forever and ever.
As a Christian, your purpose is to be conformed to the image of the Son and to faithfully fulfill your part.
The second purpose for Christians is that we faithfully fulfill our part, no matter how big or small, in the redemptive plan of God by advancing the Kingdom agenda through whatever means God has determined. The Apostle Paul framed this concept as follows:
Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV) – “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
God not only gave us grace, but He also gave us the faith to believe and respond to His gracious offer of salvation. If He did not, then our faith would, in essence, be a work. However, the text is clear. We are not saved by any work. The text is even more clear in stating that we are not saved by works, but we are saved for works. However, the “works” that we do are predetermined by God. Some are predestined to do great work for God. Some are predestined to do a small work for God. Some are predestined to do small works that prove to be huge in later generations.
Here are a few examples of God predetermining the person, the work, and the size of the work to be done. God had Noah build the Ark (Genesis 6). God had Abraham leave his land to search for the “city whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10), and in so doing, Abraham became the father of the promised son, Isaac, the inheritor of the promised land, the father of nations, and the channel in which all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 12;15;17). God had Joseph ready to go before his kinsman to have a place of refuge during the famine, and he was the reason that Israel went into Egypt (Genesis 45). God had Moses lead Israel out of Egypt (Exodus 3-12). Joshua fought many battles for the Lord and saw many miraculous things such as the walls of Jericho falling down (Joshua). God had Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah keeping the covenant family faithful while in Babylonian captivity (Daniel). God had such women as Deborah (Judges), Ruth (Ruth), and Esther (Esther) who kept their people alive. God had the twelve apostles ready to proclaim the gospel. God had Paul take the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 9). These individuals did huge works for God in the history of God’s redemptive plan. However, we must never forget that these individuals did great things for God not because they were necessarily smarter or better than anyone else, but because God graced them and predetermined that they would do such great things.
Romans chapter sixteen lists people who played a vital role in the redemptive plan of God. Yet, most Christians do not know who they were or what their work was because most of them would have been considered “small works”. Lastly, there are those who did what appeared to be “small works” for the Lord, but later generations proved that they were actually huge works for the Lord. A prime example would be Ananias. He was the one that God predetermined would go to Saul and pray for him and give him instructions. Saul became Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles (Acts 9).
You have a purpose. Each person does, especially Christians. As a Christian, your purpose is to be conformed to the image of the Son, and to faithfully fulfill your part, no matter how big or small, in the redemptive plan of God by advancing the Kingdom agenda through whatever means God has determined. So, stop stressing over trying to find your purpose. It will find you and assuming you are a true child of God, you will fulfill it.