The Purpose-Given Life
In 2002, Rick Warren published The Purpose-Driven Life, which struck a chord with millions of people about living a life with a purpose in mind. Living life for things or experiences does not satisfy, and Warren's encouragement on how to live life driven by some purpose was food for hungry souls.
I have no intention of criticizing, disagreeing with, or detracting from this book. I believe Warren would even say that what I'm pointing out is consonant with his book.
Although it doesn't make for a book title as compelling as Warren's, what we're really dealing with is a Purpose-Given Life.
Some have taken Warren's catchphrase in order to take personal ownership of defining what one's purpose is. "I want to live a purpose-driven life, so I'm going to go out there and find a purpose that suits me." That kind of purpose is only as big as your imagination, but not as big as God.
Rather, our purpose is given to us. We do have a purpose, and that purpose is given to us by God. That's the only way we'll have a God-sized purpose.
We already know a lot about that purpose without any kind of voice from heaven. Love God with all your mind, soul, heart, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. Go and disciple people of all nations. Flourish and cause others to flourish. Seek first the Kingdom of God (and the other stuff will be added to you). See how God has gifted you and use those gifts as a well to serve Him. We have more than enough to go on just with this much.
But we want more. We want to know a more specific purpose that God has for us. At times, we want a full daily agenda. Does God have that specific of a purpose of each one of us, or just a few specially chosen ones? Are we supposed to guess what our purpose is? And what happens if we guess wrong or stray off of the plan?
I do believe God has specific plans for each of us. I believe that He doesn't ever tell us too little or speak too softly for us to know what pleases Him. I don't believe the Christian life is a game of guessing God's will. I do believe that God gives us wisdom and wisdom literature in order to make good decisions without having to give us step-by-step instructions. I also believe that God is less likely to reveal things when we're unwilling to act on them.
Delving into God's will for our lives is the subject of many good, and sometimes large, books, such as one by a fellow student of mine called Decision-making and the Will of God.
The only justice I can do to this large topic here is to reiterate that we have a purpose-given life, we already know a lot about how to pursue that purpose, and He does want us to seek Him diligently with a complete willingness to do whatever He reveals.
(image: Lynne Kirton [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)