Of what good or importance is the purpose-driven life if faith and trust in its creator do not drive it? God is the only true purpose; He is the only one who can give any life reason or direction. If the purpose or action of a purpose driven life is merely to bless and prosper the life of the one who is doing the manipulation, then it is being driven by or for the wrong intent or purpose. Self-centered actions are of little value and possess minimal benefit.
When we center ourselves on self, we create a dismal state of self-indulgence and are sure to create feelings of disappointment and resentment. God’s intent is for us to think of others first. To conclude that God wants to make life here on earth abundant and rewarding without Him being the center of everything is meaningless and futile. No matter how much joy or satisfaction you achieve while living here on earth, it is without merit if you do not prepare to continue it up in heaven. Earthly pleasures, when Jesus is included, are traded for joy; problems turn into possibilities and opportunities; all despair turns into hope and promise. As the Bible says, He takes those things that are old and makes them new. He takes away the desire for evil and makes you desire those things that are true and holy. He takes away those things that are temporal and places your mind upon those things that are eternal. He changes your home from one of eternal separation to one that is of eternal glory.
The true essence of the Christian life is to do what God has required. God has promised His children a long life here on earth, but that is not the true reward of living for Him. A Christian’s true goal is to one day go to heaven and be rid of the problems and difficulties of this evil world. Life on earth, while it is precious, is not the true meaning of living. In the life of the Christian, physical death is only a release from the cares and difficulties of this present life. Being a Christian, I will not truly die but will only be ushered into God’s wonderful presence. I can remember my mother-in-law at ninety-four years of age, while lying on her bed, worn and weary, looking up and saying, “I’m tired and I want to go home.” Home to her was not this earth but heaven, where her family and her God were waiting for her. She had lived a long, eventful life, but as she got older, she saw the true reason and purpose for life. Dying was not a cause to fear but to rejoice. She had learned the true meaning of living and knew that there was a much better place than this world awaiting her. What a rich inheritance. What a true glory. Many lost say they are having fun. Why would they want to change? I say that you can only relate to those things you have already experienced. A hundred-dollar bill is worthless to those who do not know its value. God’s Word says that sin is pleasurable for a season, but when you must pick up the tab, its pleasure is soon forgotten (see Hebrews 11:25). What does it profit you if you should gain the whole world and lose your own soul, or what will you give in exchange for your soul? (See Matthew 16:26.) What true merit is there in basing your joy upon the joy of another or in choosing to remain lost because of the unfaithfulness of one who professes to be a Christian? Your soul, being the most valuable thing that you possess, what would you willingly give in exchange for it? A few moments of pleasure, a coffer of wealth, a second of power and fame, all are things that are temporal while your soul is eternal. The Bible suggests that to sell your soul at any price would be foolish; the only wise decision is to give it back to the one who created it. The Bible also says that the only way to keep many of your possessions here on earth is to give them away. How can you keep something by giving it away? Knowing the answer to questions like the one above is far more valuable than knowing the location of the world’s largest gold mine, or even owning it. Being in control of all the situations in your life might be desirable until you give them to God and He is made responsible for them. It is much easier to follow than it is to lead, and when the one whom you are following is the only one who has all the answers, you will soon find you have nothing to fear. Earthly purpose in life, while desirable, can be misdirected and will only succeed in taking you in a direction that will lead to your destruction. God created you for a special purpose, and you will not be at peace until that purpose is realized in your daily living. Wealth, fame, and power are all qualities much to be desired, but none of them will ever truly provide a life that is full and satisfying. Many of this world’s wealthiest people are lonely and miserable. Many of this world’s most famous people are insecure and misguided, while many of its most powerful are arrogant and self-indulging. Arrogance is not a quality to be desired. It can only take you to a devil’s hell. Selfish pride and presumption can rob you of your humility and self-control. Evil is not good; place a D in front of it, and you can see whom it is from.
The true purpose of life is found when we, by faith, trust in a wonderful Savior and learn to anticipate His marvelous blessings. Anticipation is the essence of any gift or treasure, and I feel like God wants His children to anticipate His blessings. If we were not made aware of God’s blessings, we would not do those things necessary to obtain them. Anticipation is the driving force that propels us to do those things that are profitable and good. There is very little accomplished purely for the sake of accomplishment, and to gain our favor, rewards have been provided. How many people do you think would witness to their families and friends if there was not a promise of heaven and a fear of hell? Witnessing unto others is one of the reasons we have been placed here on earth, it is a true purpose for life. The only way we are motivated to do anything is because of our desire to obtain. That does not mean we are selfish, but that we are energized by the potential of doing better or gaining those things that are desirable. God in His wisdom, supported throughout His Holy Word, initiated the practice of motivating by the giving of rewards. In Matthew 6:21 it states, that “where your treasure is there will your heart be also.” In essence, it is justifiable to say that in the life of mankind, there can really occur no truly selfless act. The only truly selfless act was God’s Son dying on the cross so that we could gain His perfect salvation. It may sound heartless to say that everything we do is motivated by the desire or aspiration to obtain, but rewards are not always material and are not always self-centered. A lot of what must be performed is done out of duty or necessity, but everyone wants to be recognized and applauded for what they do, even if it’s only a thank you or some other show of gratitude. Appreciation is the grease that keeps civilization running smoothly and without it we are given to thoughtlessness and insensitivity. The size of the reward or the gift we will receive does not abolish the fact that we have gained. A feeling of achievement or knowing that you have done the right thing is just as important, if not more so, than gaining material wealth or earthly profit. There is no gift so insignificant that it can be considered as worthless. True blessings come from the heart and are not to be discarded or considered valueless. The Bible states in Mark 9:41 that something as insignificant as giving a cup of water in Gods name will be rewarded up in Heaven. Refusing the gift does not alter the fact that it was offered and that you have only chosen not to receive it.
There are many who have dedicated their lives in service of humanity; whose lives were all about others instead of self. While I commend their sacrifice, I contend that their actions were not without reward and that spiritual rewards are to be more desired than those things which are material benefits. Some religions promote the doing of good works as a means of obtaining Heaven and stress the need of sacrifice as a necessity and an obligation. To obtain the promise of Heaven they maintain that good works are essential, and without them God’s grace is questionable. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:
it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). There are many, in the Bible days as well as today, that use their practice of giving alms as a means of self-justification or to make themselves seem nobler than they really are. God said that they have their reward which shall be the glory of men (see Matthew 6:2-4).
While helping others may cause one to sacrifice, it is not without rewards, and in most cases will cause one to enjoy life more completely. Living in a family where the material things of this world were forever in short supply, I saw a mother who gave of herself to support and protect her most precious treasures, her children. She was not made impoverished by her giving, her sacrifice; she was motivated and enriched by it. She saw her true purpose in life and she did all that she could to protect and embrace it. The joy that she received was by giving to others. It was not a burden for her to sacrifice; it was a blessing. Her sacrifice was not given out of a heart that was thoughtless and unforgiving; she gave with no thought of what it would cost her. She lived for what she could give; and, by giving, she not only found her true purpose for living, she honored her Lord while she blessed the lives of those that knew her. She knew that by serving others she was showing love unto the one that sacrificed to give her life. No good deed has been carried out that was not followed by a warm feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment. Deeds that are performed out of a selfish motive, or to gain those things that are sinful, do not classify as good and are only intended for temporal gratification. The heart of a dedicated Christian is not about what it can obtain but about what it can give. As Luke said in Acts 20:35, “I have showed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Giving in and of itself provides one of the biggest rewards or blessings we as Christians can receive, that of showing honor and respect to the One we have chosen to serve and obey. The heart of Jesus was about living and, yes, even dying for His children. As a Christian we are to have the heart and mind of Christ, and as He gave we should also want to give. I find it difficult to believe that having the heart of Christ could in any way leave us selfish or not wanting to share. The impoverished and the destitute are God’s main focus; and to be truly joyful we must be as He, always giving to enrich and bless the lives of the poor and the sorrowful. Somehow I believe that God gets more satisfaction out of wiping away a sorrowful tear of one of His children than He does when He creates a new star or universe. With God, the stingy heart is made merciful as the priorities of life become centered upon what must be considered valuable or rewarding. On earth, the term selfish infers to that of being self-centered or stingy. It is what we call those who are unwilling to share. The selfish individual is not willing to give up or part with those things that give them satisfaction or comfort. God is not willing to share His glory with man; does that make Him merciless or cruel, selfish or uncaring? Do you consider it selfish when someone refuses to listen when this evil world has warned them to stop doing what is righteous and spiritually profitable? Is it selfish to deny someone the satisfaction of doing what is honest and justifiable? True generosity is the foundation of a giving heart and its joy is obtained by its desire to share. Using my mother as our example, she gained joy and satisfaction out of life by her giving. I do not intend to say that my mother was stingy as the world defines it, but that she was not willing to give up those things that gave her true satisfaction or made her complete. She was not willing to stop doing those things that she found uplifting and satisfying. Her generosity was pleasing to herself as well as pleasing to her Lord. Loving and wanting to honor her Lord meant more to her than gaining the treasures of a thousand worlds. She found true contentment in knowing that she was loved and that by loving others she could help make this world a better place to live. To her, sharing was a way of forgetting the difficulties and problems of the day and allowing the joy of helping others take the place of her despairing circumstances. Her earthly poverty was real but so was her Lord, and by loving Him she made her life and the lives of her family just that much easier.
God has given everyone the potential to improve and succeed. He has provided many rewards for those who are faithful and work to expand His kingdom. There are five crowns promised in God’s Word to all of those who love and remain faithful to His will for their lives. In 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, it talks about an incorruptible crown: Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
First Thessalonians 2:19-20 talks about a crown of rejoicing: “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy.” In 2 Timothy 4:7-8, Paul speaks of a crown of righteousness that will be given to all of those that love His appearing: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” James 1:12 and Revelation 2:10 both speak of a crown of life given to those that love Him: Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life (Revelation 2:10).
In 1 Peter 5:2-4, the Bible tells us of a crown of glory given to those that are a good example and witness: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. As we continue with our discussion of the true purpose of life, we must acknowledge that Jesus, the Son of God, brought about the idea or realization of living the abundant life. He alone must be our purpose, and He must be the One that sustains and strengthens us. Living abundantly can only be initiated or achieved by the principals that He has prescribed. Without His leadership and guidance, abundant living can never be accomplished, and any attempt to do so will only fail. Like the chorus goes, “Jesus never fails. Jesus never fails. Heaven and earth will pass away, but Jesus never fails.” Whatever you choose to believe, this child’s chorus is the simple truth, and there is nothing that will nullify or alter it. God is the only absolute, and until we as intellectual humanity are in complete agreement with this unalterable fact, we will be presented with the difficulties that arise because of our self-denial and unbelief. God’s intent for His creation was not one of hardship and failure. The bonds of eternal love do not bring about such characteristics, and God’s intent or reason for creating man was to share in that common spirit of love. God is love, and everything that He does is because of His love for humanity. I know God’s promises to be true, but even if that were not the case, His way is a common sense approach to life—and in every instance, it is the best way of living your life. God’s way is the true purpose of life and pleasing Him is what our desires should be all about. How do you tell others how much Jesus loves them? This is why God has placed us here, to tell others about Him. Witnessing for Him is our truest purpose, it is our highest calling. Do you first show them the love of God by allowing it to shine in your own life? It is impossible to show His love by being forceful and demanding, but when you feel something so deeply and you know the consequences for people’s disbelief, their refusal of Him can really be disheartening. Telling others what Jesus has done for them is good, but unless they are ready and willing to make it personal, it really doesn’t get them too far. It is impossible to experience any type of truly abundant living without Jesus being the number one priority in your life, where He is the giver of all things. To suggest any other possibility is to only perpetrate a lie and will not produce anything in abundance but deception. Telling someone that you love them can only be meaningful or beneficial when it becomes honest and truthful. When we, as humans, tell other humans that we love them, it is really not beneficial in any way other than making them feel good; but, when that concern is placed in a spiritual realm, it takes on a much more significant aspect. God is the one who gives love its true meaning. To view others with His perception of love, takes away all pretence and suspicion. It should be everyone’s goal that they see humanity the way that God sees it and then that they be willing to do all that it takes to win them to Him. God has commanded us to love one another (John 13:34).
When we honor His commands, we not only honor the one who made the command but we also show His love unto those to whom we give that love. God’s true purpose is recognized as His love is allowed to forgive and bless all humanity. The true purpose of our lives as His children is to spread His love by doing acts of thoughtfulness and kindness. Everyone wins by giving because, when we give, we also receive. We cannot show kindness and respect to others without gaining a feeling of importance and satisfaction for ourselves. Good deeds have a habit of repeating themselves, and when we are caring enough to show the love of God to others, we are helping to make this world a better place to live. The true purpose of life is doing those things which are good and rewarding. People notice both the good and the bad. Curiously enough, those things that are wrong or bad really do not have any building or uplifting quality; they only destroy or cause controversy and humiliation. Good deeds do so much more. They are, in and of themselves, rewarding because they are known as good deeds, but it really doesn’t stop there. Doing those acts of unselfish thoughtfulness gives warmth not only to the one who is receiving the kindness but also to the one who is the giver. You cannot give to others without giving of and to yourself. This would be a worthy cause if it was to stop here, but so many kind deeds continue on and never stop giving. So many things that have been given out of a sincere desire to be of assistance to others can be used to soften and capture the hearts of others, causing more of the same. Without the love of God, we have nothing. It is because of His love that we exist and continue to do so. If something is perfect and good, it must of necessity have originated or been given by God. When we allow ourselves to be used by Him, we will find ourselves doing only those things that are meaningful and good. If I seem to be repeating myself, so be it. All of life is a repetition, learning what is to be considered as righteous and then continuing in that direction. How do you get tired of doing what is good or find any difficulty in doing what God has considered advisable? The true riches of this world are found in the things of God; and without His abundant grace, we would be forever miserable.
Abundant living is a life of giving not out of necessity but out of a genuine desire to be of assistance. “I have showed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35). Being a channel in which the goodness of God can be shared or dispersed unto others is as good as it can get. First of all, being chosen by God to be used in His service is honor enough; but, when that goodness is being used to bless the lives of others, it’s like living on a cloud. It’s like they say; it doesn’t get any better than that. Next, when you see the delight and appreciation beaming from the hearts and eyes of those you have helped, it cannot help but give true meaning to all that you have given. There are those who are inappreciative of God’s goodness, but they are only detrimental to themselves. When you have given as God has commanded you to do, you will receive your reward no matter how it has been received. God’s only command to us is to be faithful; He will be responsible for the outcome. In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me. Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living? God will not let His children be destroyed, but God also wants His children to be useful for His divine purpose. Everything that I have, everything that I am or that I ever hope to be, is deeply imbedded in the truth of God’s love; and, without His love, I am truly without those things that are worthy of my time and sacrifice. All that I could ever become or could hope to gain is found in Him, and without His blessing, it will amount to naught. As the Bible states, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). I know that what I am saying or, let’s say, trying to say is true. But no matter how deeply I feel it, it is worthless to everyone but me, unless I can make people understand its truth. You might consider yourself to be, as they say, on top of the world; but unless that world is centered on its creator, Jesus Christ, the Lord, you are only being deceived and will soon come to find the shallowness or unpredictability of those feelings. Jesus is predictable, and He is everlasting. If all of your feelings are based upon this world and the things this world can give you, your happiness or joy will be short lived and should be considered as shallow and meaningless. Earthly values are never lasting and can never be because the ruler of this evil world, Satan, controls them. His intentions are never honest, and his purpose is never pure. The only thing he can offer all those that choose to follow him is everlasting punishment and damnation in the lake of fire.
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.” Then shall they also answer him, saying, “Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?” Then shall he answer them, saying, “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.” And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.Matthew 25:41-46. You can never live long enough to make living for Satan a worthy cause, and you will never gain any true prize for giving up your eternal soul.
The devil is in control of nothing; if he were, do you believe that he would choose to be punished for eternity? None other than God Almighty has placed condemnation upon Satan, the devil, and God Himself will carry out Satan’s punishment personally. God is the only one who has the power to sentence Satan, and He is the only one who has the power to see that His sentence is carried out. One day, this world will end, and those things which are righteous and holy that belong to God will go to be with Him. Then those things that are corrupt and evil will be cast into hell with Satan and his followers. Some people might inquire how is it that Satan is always brought up when you discuss things of eternal value or why is it that he is inevitably considered when you talk about the things of God. Satan will not allow the things of God to go without provocation. His only purpose is to question and then destroy. He will not allow the things of God to exist without attempting to eradicate them. One day, and soon, this will not be the case; but until God Has His final victory over sin, hell, and the grave, it cannot be omitted. God has granted everyone their day in court, even Satan. Even though he has already been tried and convicted, he is now being given his say before his sentence is carried out. God is giving Satan, the spoiler, an opportunity to make his case known; and Satan will not be content until he has succeeded in his attempt to disrupt and distort all that is good, righteous, and holy. In all things, Satan has chosen to be adverse or in objection to God. If God wants it, Satan doesn’t. Satan is a menace and is not to be considered your friend but your enemy.
Satan has been labeled as our adversary because he is the adversary of God. Man has been caught in the pinch and must, therefore, pattern his life or actions after one or the other, God or Satan. When we talk about abundant living, Satan is only angered. He is in constant opposition to what the Son of God has intended for our lives. The purpose that Satan has planned for us is in direct defiance to God and His righteous objective. That is the one continual fallacy to our successfully living lives that are blessed and controlled by God. When God gains control, Satan uses his powers against us, and he will not be detoured by our continued faithfulness. The more that we give ourselves unto our God, the more intent Satan becomes in planning for our failure. When a saint of God has been defeated, Satan holds a press conference to tell this entire world that God is not who He says He is because of the failure and unfaithfulness of one of His saints.
When we fail, it is man who has failed and not God. The powers of Satan or sin are considerable, but when God is included, Satan’s strength is destroyed. “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Satan has never been a match for God, and he will never be. This is not a Super Bowl or World Series championship struggle where anyone can win; Satan has already been defeated. To place your bet upon someone who has already lost is ill advised at best, but many on this earth have seemingly chosen to do so at their own peril. Of what good is it or how can it be advisable for one to root for someone that has already lost? Knowing the final outcome before you play the game you would think gives you an advantage, but so many just don’t seem to get it. That is why it has been said that God’s way is simple; but then, again, Satan has done all that he can to make it complex and misunderstood. As we think about the purpose of life, let us not be fooled into believing that it has anything to do with our gaining worldly wealth and praise. God loved us so much that He willingly died to redeem us. It is our duty and responsibility to see that His dying becomes our eternal joy and salvation. If it does not, then we have lost it all and have gained nothing; our time on earth has been totally wasted. After we have accepted His generous gift of eternal life, it then becomes our responsibility to share it with our friends and a world that is hopelessly dying without Him. Seeing God’s true purpose of living is, for sure, the truest expression of wisdom, and to deny its expression to change or captivate your life is the true meaning of hopelessness. God has truly loved us all, but to shun that love is to refuse what He has so willingly given and to reject that one thing that can give our lives total meaning and purpose.