Lack of Purpose? Head to Church
Having a purpose in life is a driving force for Christians and non-Christians. Without a purpose, we seem to drift along meaninglessly. That’s a problem.
According to Alan Rozanski, a professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, “Just like people have basic physical needs, like to sleep and eat and drink, they have basic psychological needs […] The need for meaning and purpose is No. 1. It's the deepest driver of well-being there is.”
Having a purpose is so important it is linked to our health.
In a study reported by NPR, “Having a purpose in life may decrease your risk of dying early […] People without a strong life purpose were more than twice as likely to die, between the study years of 2006 and 2010, compared with those who had one.”
Unfortunately, many people struggle with a lack of purpose – even those who put their faith in Jesus Christ.
In 2019, The Sun reported, “A UK wide survey reveals the extent to which the younger generation feel disillusioned, with the MAJORITY (89 percent) of 16-29 year olds, claiming their life lacks purpose or meaning. This is compared to an average of 80 percent across all ages.”
While this is about our neighbors across the pond, we can assume many Americans share similar feelings.
Here’s the good news. Your life has a purpose.
God designed you with a plan in mind, and He gave you an innate need to discover your life’s purpose.
In the book Unshakable: Standing Strong When Things Go Wrong, Nelson Searcy writes, “When you trust God with your life and say yes to building your future on the foundation of his Son, God will give you his peace, his power, his protection and his plan – four things essential in being able to live out your purpose.”
As we mentioned, even though following God gives those who believe purpose, there are still times when we lose our way and the path no longer seems clear.
How do we discover (or re-discover) our purpose?
That’s what we are discussing in today’s blog.
Finding and Doing God’s Will
In the church world, we use the phrase, “God’s will” often. You may not understand what this actually means.
Searcy explains, “God’s will is the highest plan for your life. It is the direction you would choose if you could see things from his perspective.”
When you understand God’s will for your life, your life has a purpose.
While you may not know what God’s will is for you at this very moment, God has given Christians a clear purpose.
This is how John Piper responded to a man named Daniel who struggled with a lack of purpose:
“And then, lastly, Daniel says he feels like he has lost purpose. And over against that I want to put 1 Peter 2:9: ‘You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that’ — and that is the purpose statement — ‘that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.’ Whatever else God has for you in life, this is crystal clear: You exist to make the excellencies of God known, especially the excellencies by which he calls people from darkness to light. And it is a marvelous light, Daniel. As much listlessness as you may feel just now, you live in marvelous light. And it is your purpose, a God-appointed purpose, to see it, to savor it, and to make it known.”
As believers, our purpose in life is to glorify God and make Him known. That is the ultimate goal.
Now, let’s move on to discussing how you glorify God by finding and doing God’s will in your daily life.
Put on Your Listening Ears
Finding and doing God’s will starts with putting on your listening ears. You must learn to hear God speak and learn to listen.
Searcy writes, “When you don’t know which way to turn in your career, in a relationship or in any other big decision you need to make, listening to God is essential. You can’t follow his guidance if you can’t hear what he’s saying.”
Many people struggle with listening to God, claiming He doesn’t speak to them.
They expect an audible voice, but God speaks to us in many different ways.
Here are some of the ways God speaks to us.
- The Bible – Many of the answers you seek can be found simply by reading what God says in the Bible.
- The Holy Spirit – God speaks through daily guidance. Searcy explains, “For those of us who are Christians, the Holy Spirit is inside of us prompting us and guiding us in the direction of God’s will. Sometimes we feel the Holy Spirit as an inkling in our conscience, or we’ll hear the still small voice in our heart calling out to us.”
- Prayer – Spending time in prayer with God is developing a relationship with Him. The more time we spend with Him in prayer, the more attuned we will be to his voice.
- Wise Counsel – Many times God speaks to us through wise counsel from other mature Christians.
Here’s the rub.
The main reason we fail to hear God is usually because we don’t really want to.
We are afraid he will make us do something or stop doing something, and we don’t want to obey, which leads us to our next point.
Act and Obey
Finding and doing God’s will requires action and obedience.
Often, Christians do know what God wants them to do. They’ve heard from Him, but they’ve ignored what he said.
This is a problem.
Searcy explains, “God is more than willing to show you his incomparable will, but you get to choose if you obey and when. The longer you delay obedience, the more you suffer. Why? Because delayed obedience is disobedience.”
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.
Do what it says.
– James 1:22
Acknowledge Your Dependence
Finding and doing God’s will require you to not do what you want. It means giving up your need for independence and acknowledging your dependence on God instead.
Searcy writes, “The path to doing God’s will and experiencing his blessing is found at the end of our own self-sufficiency. That’s where we recognize that he has the best plan for our lives. Everyone comes to a point where they have to decide if they are going to plow ahead with their own wants and desires or submit themselves to God’s bigger, better purposes.”
Ways the Church Helps People Find Their Purpose
If you lack purpose, the church can help.
The church will point you to Jesus over and over again, and in Him, you will find your purpose.
Moreover, the church teaches you how to hear God’s voice and how to study His Word.
You will also be surrounded by other Christians who can provide wise counsel during those times when you need a little help finding direction.
You’re Invited to South Bay This Weekend!