It is good to stop regularly and evaluate our lives. One helpful tool for this kind of exercise is a devotional book called Living the Purpose Driven Life written by Rick Warren. It's a simple 40 day devotional book focused on helping you discover the purpose for which you exist.
There are many things that can "drive" our lives. Everyone is driven or motivated by something. God wants us to be "purpose driven" people, driven by his plan and his purpose for our lives. That's where meaning and significance come.
To understand our purpose, we need to begin with God – our Creator - not ourselves. Without God, life has no purpose and without purpose life has no meaning. Without meaning life has no significance or hope. We don't 'decide' our purpose, we 'discover' it. We need to look to our designer and read the owner's manual to understand why we are alive, how life works,
what to avoid and what to expect in the future. We are "saved" not just to go to heaven. We are also "called" with a specific purpose while you are here on earth.
Key Scriptures: Col.1:16. Prov.16:4. Jer.1:4-5. 2 Tim.1:9. Eph.2:10.Your God-Given Purpose
The Power of Purpose
- You were Planned for God's Pleasure (Rev.4:11. Ps.149:4. Mk.12:30)
God did not need to create us but he chose to do so for his own enjoyment. Bringing enjoyment to God, living for his pleasure, is the first purpose of your life. The smile of God should be the goal of our lives. We should discover how to please God and then do those things.
God wants to be our best friend. He desires an intimate friendship with us – a simple loving relationship. We can be as close to God as we want to be but it takes desire, time and effort (Jas.4:8). There is nothing more important than developing a friendship with God. It's a relationship that will last forever.
Check-Up Questions: How close do you believe you are to God? Is your relationship with God growing, plateaued or declining? How could it improve?
- You were Formed for God's Family (1 Jn.3:1. Eph.1:5. Rom.12:5)
God is love and he values relationships. Every human being is created by God but not every person is a child of God. The only way to get into God's family is to be born again in to it. The invitation to be a part of God's family is given to everyone. The one condition is faith in Jesus.
God wants us to belong not just believe. Every Christian needs to be an active part of a local church family. Life is meant to be shared. We are to experience life 'together'. Because God is love, the most important lesson we can learn in life is how to love. Jesus said that then entire law can be summed up by love (Gal.5:14). Therefore, learning to really love is the most important aim in life. Love lasts forever and it is what we will be evaluated by. That's why relationships are worth protecting and restoring (Rom.12:18. 14:19).
Check-Up Questions: What does your Small Group mean to you? In what way could you become a more loving person? Do you have any strained relationships that need repairing?
- You were Created to be Like Christ (Col.2:6-7. Rom.8:29)
Being a Christian is not just about a destination (heaven). It's about the journey too where God is shaping and making us into his likeness. This process of change is a partnership between us and the work of the Holy Spirit (Phil.2:13-14). God 'works in' us – through his Word, his Spirit and through circumstances (people and situations) – and we are to 'work out' too – by renewing our thinking, changing our habits and responding to his work.
God uses the problems we encounter to help us grow and change. Behind every problem there is a purpose (1 Pet.4:12. Rom.5:3-5; 8:28. 2 Cor.4:16-18). We also have to recognise our weaknesses and be prepared for temptation (Jas.1:13-15). We can ask for God's help because he understands and he will provide a way to escape and strength to overcome (1 Cor.10:13). Sometimes we need help from a godly friend or support group.
Change is a process that takes time. There are no short cuts to spiritual maturity (2 Cor.3:18. Phil.1:6)! God doesn't want us to just 'grow older'. He wants us to 'grow up'! We are not meant to remain as spiritual children. He desires us to mature.
Check-Up Questions: What problem are you facing right now that God may be using to help you grow? What are your greatest temptations and how can you be prepared to overcome? What one character quality is God trying to develop in you at this moment?
- You were Shaped for Serving God (Eph.2:10. Jn.17:4. 1 Pet.4:10)
You were put on earth to make a contribution. Service is not optional! God has given you a unique SHAPE to serve God – Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality and Experience. Only you can be you. Accept and enjoy your shape.
We serve God by serving others. Real servants make themselves available to serve others, they pay attention to needs around them, they do their best when they serve (with dedication), they are faithful and they don't mind having a low profile. Real servants have an "others" focus. To be a servant you have to think like one (Phil.2:5).
Check-Up Questions: Describe your SHAPE. When it comes to helping others, what is your best contribution? What do you enjoy doing the most?
- You were Made for a Mission (Jn.17:18. Mt.28:19-20)
God is at work in the world and he wants you and me to join him. We are to continue Jesus' mission while he was on the earth. His mission was to seek and save those who were far from God. We are to do the same. This is a wonderful privilege. The Great Commission is your commission. We all have a Life Message that emerges out of our testimony and our life lessons. God wants to say something to the world through you (1 Pet.3:15).
Check-Up Questions: Who are some non-Christians that you are reaching out to with God's love? What are some of the challenges you are experiencing in sharing your faith with others?
Knowing your purpose gives meaning to your life, simplifies your life, focuses your life, motivates your life and prepares you for eternity. Life on earth is a temporary assignment. Live your life in light of eternity.Sample Questions
- Ask those who have read Rick Warren's book to share something that God spoke to them out of their reading and reflection time.
- What are some things that 'drive' people? Examples include guilt (past sin), resentment and anger (unresolved offences), fear, materialism and the need for approval. How do we determine what is driving us?
- Discuss the 'Check-Up Questions' for each of the five purposes listed above and have a time of sharing. You lead the way.
- What are some things that distract us from our God-given purpose? How can we be on guard and not get trapped by them?
- Discuss the benefits of living a 'purpose-driven life?'