Category Archives: Long Read

“It All Starts with God”


For everything, absolutely everything,
above and below, visible and invisible, . . .
everything got started in him and
finds its purpose in him.
Colossians 1:16


It’s not about you.
The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal
fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far
greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams
and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this
planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose
and for his purpose. The search for the purpose of life has puzzled people for
thousands of years. That’s because we typically begin at the
wrong starting point—ourselves. We ask self-centered questions
like What do I want to be? What should I do with my life? What
are my goals, my ambitions, my dreams for my future? But
focusing on ourselves will never reveal our life’s purpose.                                                    The Bible says, “It is God who directs the lives of his creatures; everyone’s
life is in his power.” 
Contrary to what many popular books, movies, and seminars
tell you, you won’t discover your life’s meaning by looking
within yourself. You’ve probably tried that already. You didn’t create yourself, so there is no way you can tell yourself what you were created for! If I handed you an invention you had never seen before, you wouldn’t know its purpose, and the invention itself wouldn’t be able to tell you either. Only the creator or the owner’s manual could reveal its
purpose.
I once got lost in the mountains. When I stopped to ask for directions to the campsite, I was told, “You can’t get there from here. You must start from the other side of the mountain!” In the same way, you cannot arrive at your life’s purpose by starting with
a focus on yourself. You must begin with God, your Creator. You exist only because God wills that you exist. You were made by God and for God—and until you understand that, life will never make sense. It is only in God that we discover our origin, our
identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny. Every other path leads to a dead end. Many people try to use God for their own self-actualization,
but that is a reversal of nature and is doomed to failure. You were made for God, not vice versa, and life is about letting God use you for his purposes, not your using him for your own purpose. The Bible says, “Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life.” 
Consider your dreams. Clarify your values. Set some goals. Figure out what you are good at. Aim high. Go for it! Be disciplined. Believe you can achieve your goals. Involve others. Never give up. Of course, these recommendations often lead to great success. You can usually succeed in reaching a goal if you put your mind to it. But being successful and fulfilling your life’s purpose are not at all the same issue! You could reach all your personal goals, becoming a raving success by the world’s standard, and still miss
the purposes for which God created you. You need more than self-help advice. The Bible says, “Self-help is no help at all. Self sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.”                                                                                                                  Fortunately, there is an alternative to speculation about the meaning and purpose of life. It’s revelation. We can turn to what God has revealed about life in his Word. The easiest way to discover the purpose of an invention is to ask the creator of it. The same is true for discovering your life’s purpose: Ask God. God has not left us in the dark to wonder and guess. He has clearly revealed his five purposes for our lives through the Bible. It is our Owner’s Manual, explaining why we are alive, how life works, what to avoid, and what to expect in the future. It explains what no self-help or philosophy book could know. The Bible says,
“God’s wisdom . . . goes deep into the interior of his purposes. . . . It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us.”                                                                                                                                                 God is not just the starting point of your life; he is the source of it. To discover your purpose in life you must turn to God’s Word, not the world’s wisdom. You must build your life on eternal truths, not pop psychology, success-motivation, or inspirational
stories. The Bible says,                                                                                                                    “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.” 

By Rick Warren


 

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