I have read of several surveys recently taken as to what people are looking for and want most. What seems to be rising to the surface is knowing their life purpose. Why am I here? hat should I be giving my time, my energy my life to? Most people want a worthy cause to invest in that will outlive them–especially younger people. Rick Warren shares three questions to help us discover our “Life Purpose.”
Guest post by Rick Warren
We all need a life purpose—a vision of what we believe God wants to do in our lives. Because if we can visualize it, we can accomplish it.
The apostle Paul had a life purpose, and he described it in Romans 15:20: “It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation” (NIV). Paul’s objective for his life was to preach where no one else had preached before.
You need a life objective too. You should have more than a vague idea of what you want to do with your life. You need something written down on paper.
Why is a life purpose so important?
- It reduces frustration. When you know why you exist, it makes the little decisions easier.
- It increases motivation. When you have defined your purpose clearly, you have a reason to get out of bed.
- It allows for concentration. People become successful because they focus on a single thing and stop dabbling around.
- It attracts cooperation. When you decide where you want to go in life, you’ll find many others who want to go with you.
Determining your life purpose
I want to suggest three simple but important steps for determining God’s objective for your life. But before you can follow these steps, you need to meet the prerequisite: You need to spend time alone with God. Many people don’t determine God’s objective for their lives because they’ve never stopped long enough to consider what it is. They’re simply too busy.
Psychologist Rollo May once said, “It is an ironic habit of human beings to run faster when we have lost our way.”
After Paul became a follower of Jesus, he spent time alone with God in Arabia. He spent three years in the desert listening to God and asking him to give him a vision for his life.
When you spend time alone with God, ask yourself these three questions.
1. What are my gifts? “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us” (Romans 12:6 NIV).
You’re unique—one in 8 billion! When you get to heaven, God won’t question you about why you’re not more like Moses or Billy Graham. God wants you to live the life he created you to fulfill.
The key to finding success is to invest your life in the gifts and talents God has given you. They will always point you to his will for your life.
2. What are some of my experiences that God might want to use? “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV).
God uses all of your experiences, even the painful ones, to shape you for what he wants to do through you. He’ll use those experiences to help you minister to others in the same situation you’ve been in before. God never wastes a hurt.
Even before you became a Christian, God already knew which people he wanted you to reach. He knew how he would use your pain to help someone else.
Identify the experiences—both good and bad—that have shaped your life, and consider each one as you look to God for guidance on what he wants you to do.
3. What’s most important? “I may do anything, but everything is not useful. Yes, I may do anything but everything is not constructive” (1 Corinthians 10:23 PHILLIPS).
Successful people have learned to eliminate what won’t matter ten years from now, much less in eternity. Successful people focus on what will last.
William James once said, “The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.”
So, what will last the longest?
The Bible says two things will last forever. Everything else will burn away.
- God’s Word—“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35 NIV).
- People—Humans will spend forever in either heaven or hell.
If God has given you a life goal, it will somehow involve God’s Word and people.
Ask yourself these three questions, and then write your answers on paper. Nothing becomes dynamic until it becomes specific. If you can write a life objective down, you can achieve it.
Then, make sure you review your objective frequently until it’s ingrained into the patterns of your life.
Make your life count. Don’t waste it.