Many people live their lives in this world as if it is only this life that matters. They think that making money, achieving some desired status, having certain possessions are all what life is all about. They feel that they should strive to attain such things in life, otherwise they conclude that they didn’t achieve their goals. Sadly, this kind of thinking has permeated the hearts of many professing Christians also. Are all these what life is all about?
The Bible makes it very clear as to what our ultimate purpose in life should be. We see people in both the Old and New Testament eras seeking and discovering life’s purpose. After going through all of life’s pleasures, the wisest man who ever lived, Solomon, discovered the uselessness of life when it is lived only for this world. He gives these remarks in the end of the book of Ecclesiastes: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgement, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Eccl. 12:13-14). Solomon says that life’s ultimate purpose is all about keeping God’s commandments and honouring Him with our thoughts and lives, because we will stand before Him in judgement.
We should see life on this earth in the correct perspective. There are many whose focus is just on this earthly life. Unlike them, we see King David looking for his satisfaction in the age to come. He said in Ps. 17:15, “As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.” For David, full satisfaction would come in the next life beholding God’s face and being like Him (1 John 3:2).
We see Asaph (the chief singer) in Psalm 73, talking about how he was tempted to be jealous of the wicked who seemed to have no cares and built their prosperity by taking advantage of others, but then he considered their ultimate end. In contrast to what they pursued, he says in Ps. 73:25 what mattered to him: “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.” To Asaph, the relationship with God mattered above everything else in life. Without that relationship, there is no real purpose in life.
In the New Testament, the apostle Paul talks about his religious piety and achievements before being confronted by the risen Christ. He says that all those what he considered as valuable in life are now like rubbish after knowing Christ (Phil. 3:8). He continues by saying that all he wants is to know Christ and “be found in Him,” to have His righteousness even if it meant suffering and death (Phil. 3:9-11). Ultimately he looked forward to the resurrection from the dead.
In God’s original plan, our purpose in life is to 1) glorify God and enjoy fellowship with Him, 2) have good relationships with others, 3) work, and 4) have dominion over the earth. But because of the Fall of Man, the fellowship with God was broken, relationships with others are stressed, work seems to be frustrating and hard, and man struggles to have dominion over the earth. Only when fellowship with God is restored through faith in Jesus Christ can purpose in life be rediscovered.
The Bible says, “And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17). Instead of just living for this world and its passing pleasures we need to discover our life’s true purpose – glorify God by fearing and obeying Him, keep our eyes on our future home in heaven, and know God intimately all the more day by day. One can find meaning to life only by knowing God and having a personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. By following His purpose for our lives, we enjoy God and we will experience true and lasting joy. Jesus Himself said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Yes, Jesus wants to bless you with the abundant life not just here on earth but also wants you to enjoy fellowship with Him in eternity. It all starts with your decision to make Him your Lord and Saviour, and having a personal relationship with Him. Today, would you reconsider your real purpose in life?