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Albert Einstein once said, “A life directed chiefly towards the fulfillment of personal desires will sooner or later always lead to bitter disappointment” (Letter to T. Lee, Jan. 16, 1954) but, in many ways, we have been programmed to believe the ultimate purpose in life is the pursuit of happiness.
When we believe happiness is the only purpose in life, disillusionment can quickly develop when faced with problems such as job issues, sickness or relationship conflicts. Finding a life of meaning and purpose is the secret to dealing with the stress, anxiety and hopelessness that can engulf our everyday lives.
So where do we go to discover our personal purpose? If there is a purpose to this life, we must find the answer with the Creator of life, and the Bible is the key. The Apostle John wrote about that purpose: “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God ...and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:1-3).
John made three remarkable statements in these verses:
First: “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!”
God created each of us for a reason and gave us free will. The problem with free will is that we all make bad choices, and we live in a world where billions of people make wrong choices every day. The only way we can ever get out of this mess is to return to our Creator and discover our original purpose, which is to become the children of God.
Second: This is further explained with the second point John makes in these verses: “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”
The book of Genesis states human beings are made in the image of God. Thousands of years later John wrote that those who respond to God’s call are offered a future in which we will be “like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” John goes on to say we don’t know exactly what we will be like because our human minds cannot fully comprehend God, but we will be like God, just as human children are like their human parents. Our ultimate purpose is that God created human beings in His image because He wants us to live with Him forever!
Third: God’s purpose for us involves an unbelievable future, but it also impacts our life right now. The final point of this passage gives us daily direction in relation to this awesome purpose
The apostle Paul explained this in his letter to the Church in Ephesus: “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children” (Ephesians 5:1). In other words, our Christianity must be more than singing a few praises and throwing some money into the offering plate. Paul continues: “And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Ephesians 5:2).
God is not only offering us a future, but also a fulfilling, meaningful life right now. Authentic Christianity is about being restored to your original purpose and developing a relationship with God as your Father in your everyday life. Jesus Christ came to the earth to become like “the children”—meaning like you and me—to share in our experience as flesh and blood so that He can release us from death and give us eternal life.(Hebrews 2:14-15). The dynamic force of God in our lives enables us to face life’s difficulties with faith and hope. It’s about finding happiness through loving others.
There are two things needed for a person to be a true child of God. First of all, we must accept that because of our bad choices and corrupt human nature, we are a distorted image of God. We need God’s forgiveness, and that forgiveness is offered by God through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We must come to the realisation that our life is going in the wrong direction and accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as our divine Brother.
The next step is to receive power from God to have His purpose fulfilled in your life.The apostle Peter spoke to a large crowd and told them about the work God is doing through Jesus Christ. When many people were moved to seek God with their hearts, Peter told them to repent, be baptized and receive the indwelling of God’s Spirit (Acts 2:38).
Our life is worth more than we can ever imagine and we have a very specific purpose in the universe. But we have a choice in that. We don’t have to respond to God’s purpose. We can just keep going on the way we have been and ignore God’s calling to be His child. But be warned: Jesus told a parable about a man who invited people to a big banquet.
The man spared no expense in preparing the absolute best for his guests. But when the man sent his servant to invite them, one by one they gave excuses for not being able to attend.
The excuses seemed like good reasons to the people involved: “I need to take care of my property.” “I have a lot of work to get done.” “I just got married and need to spend more time with my wife.” What the man was offering his guests was much more wonderful than what they wanted for their lives, but they lived in their little bubbles, selfishly pursuing happiness. The host eventually rejected those whom he invited and asked others to attend his banquet instead (Matthew 22:1-14).
God created mankind with a very specific purpose in mind and once we understand what our purpose on this earth is we have the opportunity to live beyond our own limitations—to love, sacrifice and give to others. God is offering us His best. He wants us to realize His ultimate purpose for you—to live as His child now and to be changed into His spiritual image forever in His Kingdom. He wants us to make His purpose our purpose.
The Good News magazine (Sep-Oct 2015)