Recognizing Our Purpose

23 Jun

It is the third point of Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism (MTD) that I believe has been most corrupted by the world and its lies regarding our purpose in life. This idea, according to Christian Smith and the MTD creed is defined as: The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.

Recognize The Lie About “Purpose”

Especially in America, it is easy to fall into thinking that life is about our personal happiness.  The reason for this is that purpose and happiness are often used interchangeably.  The question “What is your purpose in life?” is often equated with “How can I be happy in life?” Yet, if we fall into the trap of believing that our purpose is to find personal happiness, we have missed out on the source of true happiness.  Because, as long as our search for purpose, or meaning, is focusing in ourselves and our happiness, we will always be left wanting.  St. Augustine put it well when he said, “Indeed, man wishes to be happy even when he so lives as to make happiness impossible.”

Not only this, but by putting our personal happiness at the center of our lives, we center the universe on ourselves and say that all things should serve to accomplish this end.  And when something goes contrary to our plans, anything from stubbing our toe to ruining a load of laundry, from wrecking a car to the death of a loved one, our perception of how things are going is thrown out of whack and leads to questioning God, becoming angry or frustrated at Him and others, or even depression.

This is not what God created us for.

Recognize the Truth About God’s Plan

Hear these passages from Isaiah and understand God’s purpose for us:

“I will say to the north, Give up,
and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the end of the earth,
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made. (Isaiah 43:6-7, Italics added)”

and

“I give water in the wilderness,
rivers in the desert
to give drink to my chosen people,
the people whom I formed for myself
that they might declare my praise. (Isaiah 43:20-21, Italics added)”

and

For My name’s sake I defer my anger,
for the sake of My praise I restrain it for you,
that I may not cut you off.
Behold, I have refined you but not like silver;
I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
 For My own sakefor My own sake I do it,
for how should My name be profaned?
My glory I will not give to another. (Isaiah 48:9-11, Italics added)”

These passages point us to God’s purpose for us.  We are meant to glorify Him, to display His glory in our lives.  A look at these verses puts God at the center of all things, not ourselves.  It is a re-ordering of our lives around Him, a shift from the man-centered mindset of the world.  We see this point nailed home in Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31).”

Glorifying God Through Treasuring Christ

So the question becomes, how do we seek to fulfill this purpose of glorifying God?  We do so by recognizing our need for, depending on, and finding our treasure in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We glorify God by seeing our sin and throwing ourselves upon His mercy.  We glorify God by trusting in Jesus Christ’s death upon the cross for our sin, and that it has fully satisfied God’s wrath, made us acceptable before God and given us the gift of eternal life.  We glorify God by rejoicing in and making known the Son of God, making Him our greatest treasure.  Echoing the exclamation of the Apostle Paul, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him! (Philippians 3:8-9)” Reflect on and savor the grace shown to you in Jesus Christ.

Yet, there is another way to glorify God in our lives.  It is not a separate way, but rather, an outflowing of glorying in the Gospel. This is the way of obedience.  Let the Gospel of God’s grace be the fuel for a life of God-glorifying obedience to His commands and calling on your life.  Just as the psalmist says in Psalm 119:33-37:

“Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes;
and I will keep it to the end.
Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.
Incline my heart to your testimonies,
and not to selfish gain!
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways.”

I firmly believe that when we reorient our lives around God-finding our purpose in glorifying Him through lives of treasuring the Gospel and Jesus Christ-we fulfill our God-given purpose and, in addition to this, find true happiness, lasting joy and eternal satisfaction.  For God is glorified even more when we find Him as our greatest joy and satisfaction, because that makes it known to all the world that He is more worthy of our time, money, effort, passion and lives than anything else.

The world would be much to shallow if it was meant to be centered on man.  Yet, with God at the center, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the blazing sun of the universe, we have a much deeper, complex and beautiful world that beckons us to come and take part, and in the process, be wholly satisfied.

 

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