Life is a journey. We are all travelling inevitably towards the end of our lives. We will either coast through life with no sense of direction or we will lives of purpose and fulfilment. The race is on. Where are you going and what are you doing about it?What's Driving You?
Everyone's life is driven by something - guilt, worry or fear, insecurity, anger, resentment, their past, possessions, parents, money, etc. God wants us to be purpose driven people, driven by His plan, His purpose for our lives. That's where meaning and significance come.
Before God even planned the world, He planned you. When He planned you, He planned your purpose even before you were born. When you fulfil your life purpose it brings honour to God and it brings satisfaction to yourself.
Jesus was a purpose driven person. He said in John 17:4 'I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave me to do.' If you're a believer, you want to bring glory to God. How do you do that? You do that by completing the work God gave you to do. [Other verses on purpose: Eph.1:5-11; 3:11. Rom.8:28. 2 Tim.1:9. Prov.29:18]Levels of Living
You will live life at one of three basic levels:
- Survival. The first level, the lowest level is the survival level. Most people live in the survival mode. They get by in life. They're not really living, they're just existing. They put in their time, punch the time clock and live for the weekends. They never really have any major goals or major drive in life.
- Success. Most people are in the second level, a little higher level called the success level. Focus is on paying off the mortgage or establishing a comfortable lifestyle. Yet this level does not satisfy.
- Significance. Significance is when you know why you're here on earth. You have a purpose for your life. You know that your life matters. You know that there is meaning behind what's going on in your life. People who enjoy significance know what on earth they're here for!
We need to move from success to significance.How to Live a Purpose-Driven Life
Decide What's Important (Values)
Purpose flows out of values. Every time we make a decision in life, we are filtering that decision through our 'values grid', whether we're conscious of it or not. Values effect everything we do. We all have values, but often we haven't clarified them or examined them.
Where do you get your values from? We pick them up from our parents, peers, magazines, books, the music we listen to, from society in general. Today, one of the ways we pick up our values is through the media, especially television.
The Bible tells us that the values of the world are very well known and they have not changed. We are going to get our values in life from one of two places ' the World or the Word (the Bible). You will get your values in life from either culture or Christ.
1 John 2:15-16. 'Don't love the world's ways - the lust for physical pleasure, the ambition to buy everything that appeals to you and the pride that comes from wealth and importance ' these are not from God but from the world.' (LB)
- Pleasure. Pleasure is one of the three primary values in this world. If you ask most people, 'What do you want out of life?' They'll say, 'I want to have fun'. I want to be happy - I want to feel good.' That's different ways of saying pleasure. One of the largest industries today is now entertainment. We're a pleasure-obsessed culture.
- Possessions. The ambition to buy everything that appeals to you. Our society is consumed with consuming. Clothes, cars, homes, jewellery. We want everybody to see what we've got. We collect things and amass things and buy things we don't need but we keep buying. We base our self worth on our net worth.
- Prestige. Or power or position or popularity. In our world, image is everything. We're very status conscious. We want people to look up to us. We want people to think we're important and successful and we have value.
Romans 12:2 says, 'Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.' The Message Bible says, 'Don't become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.'
If you buy into the world's value system, that the ultimate value in life is pleasure, possession and prestige, you will miss God's purpose for your life.
Think about your values and where they are going to lead you. Think ahead! Don't wait for some major crisis or pain to come before you think about your life. Ask yourself, 'What's going to last?' Think 10 or 20 years from now and even to eternity.
- Pleasure doesn't last. Heb.11:25 says, 'The pleasures of sin only last for a short time'.
- Possessions don't last. 1 Tim.6:7 says, 'We brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out'. When the millionaire dies, how much does he leave? He leaves it all! Ever see a trailer of goods following a Hearst?
- Prestige doesn't last either. Mark 10:31 says, 'Many people who seem to be important now will be the least important in eternity.' It goes on to say, 'Many who seem least important today will be the most important in heaven.'
Solomon had it all and yet he drifted from God's purpose in his life (see Ecclesiastes). His conclusion? 'I tried it all. But it's useless, worthless. It's all vanity.' If you have no purpose in life, none of this stuff matters. The bottom line is, 'The world and its desire (the values of this world) will pass away but those who do the will of God will live forever' (1 Jn.3:17).Define Your Purpose
There are 3 primary aspects to God's purpose for your life:To be God's Friend
God says that He made me to know and love Him. The Bible says, 'God is love' and He made you simply to love you. God wants to be our 'friend'. See Lk.7:34. John 15:13-15. James 2:23.
Matthew 22 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.' He says this is top priority. He says if you don't do anything else in life, you need to learn to know God and love God.
God the Father has called you to Himself. He desires an intimate relationship with you. You are called to be a part of His family. You are His son or daughter. He wants to love, care, provide for and protect you. He wants to spend time with you. This is our highest purpose or calling and it is to be the foundation for any other "ministry".To Help Others
First, you are to be God's friend. He wants a personal relationship with you. Then, God wants you to begin 'doing' His will by helping others. What will be the contribution of my life? In other words, what am I going to do with my God given talents?
Eph.2:10 says, 'We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works (not watch TV), which God prepared in advance for us to do.' 'Good works' are things done in love for the benefit of other people. Our motive is not to earn salvation or to promote ourselves but to benefit others because of God's love in our hearts.
You were put on this earth to make a contribution, not just to take up space. You were put on this earth to leave it a better place, to make some kind of contribution with your life. God planned you before you were born. You were made for a purpose.
1 Peter 4:10 'God has given each of you some special abilities. Be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God's many kinds of blessings.' We're here to help each other.
The Christian life is to be one of 'servanthood'. This is the key to true greatness. A servant sees themselves as 'under' others and seeks to promote and make other people successful (Mark 9:33-37). Jesus was a servant. He came as a servant to serve and to give to his life for us. Jesus told the disciples that they were also called to serve. 'Do as I have done unto you' (John 13:15). His mission was that of a servant and so is ours (Mark 10:42-45).
God's family ' our priority. Gal 6:10. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers ('household of faith'). (NIV)
Together, we are His 'body'. Each person is a member, has a gift and a job to do. The health and growth of the church is dependent on your contribution. We will be rewarded for the contribution we make.To Influence Your World
Mark 16:15. He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
Go into all the world and proclaim the 'good news' about Jesus Christ. The 'world' includes all aspects and places where people live and interact.
Jesus lived 'in the world'. He moved around different parts of society - religious leaders, tax collectors, children, needy people, sinners, all kinds of people from all walks of life and different sections of society. He was a 'friend of sinners' (Mt.11:19). He spent time with them. They saw his life, heard his words, felt his heart. He was comfortable around them, yet he did not compromise his lifestyle or his character. See also Lk.5:27-32.Making it Happen
'Incongruent values' are a major source of stress - believing one thing and living another. Three areas reflect our values:
- Our schedule - where do you spend your time? Daily quiet time, church meetings? We all have the same amount of time each week - 168 hours. Everybody in this room has the same amount of hours - 168 hours a week. In that week, the difference between those who really make their lives count and those who don't is management. We all have the same amount of time, it's just the way you use it.
- Our budget - where do you spend your money? Tithes, giving?
- Our relationships - who do you run with? Family, church, unchurched?
Eliminate worthless things that don't matter. Stop doing what isn't important so you've got time, money and energy to do the things that count.The Benefits of a Purpose-Driven Life
- It Reduces Frustration. A sense of purpose makes daily decisions easier.
- It Increases Motivation. A sense of purpose gives you a reason to get up in the morning.
- It Creates Concentration. A sense of purpose enables you to focus and avoid distractions.
- It Attracts Co-operation. A sense of purpose attracts other people to your life to help and get involved.
- It Prepares me for Evaluation. A sense of purpose prepares you for the eternal 'audit' when God will ask each person two important questions:
'What did you do with My Son, Jesus Christ?'
'What did you do with all the talents that I gave you? Your life, your opportunity, your time, your energy? Did you just spend it on yourself or did you use it for the purpose on earth I created you? What did you do with what I gave you?'
Run Your Race - Balance your life, Pace your life and Renew yourself daily (deal with discouragement).Icebreaker
: If you could share one thing that happened since we last met, what would it be?Discussion Questions
(Take no more than 5 minutes to give the group a quick overview of this lesson)
- How much are Christians influenced by the values of the world (pleasure, possessions and prestige)?
NOTE: the issue is whether we are pursuing these things as our primary values. Often God will bless us with these things as a by-product of our serving him (Matt.6;33).
- Do you think most Christians understand their purpose?
If not, why not?
If so, why is it hard to fulfill it at times?
If so, why do we get distracted at times?
- Can you define your purpose in a few sentences? What do you believe is your unique contribution to the world? Ask others in the group to share what potential they see in you.
- Is our Life Group 'purpose-driven'?
How can we help each other achieve our purpose and live at the significance level?
What does God want us to do this year?
This material has been gleaned from Rick Warren's best-selling book, 'The Purpose Driven Life'.