Eight Principles for Purpose

1. God wants us to work and not to be idle or lazy.

Some people consider work to be a necessary evil. But even within the utopia of the Garden of Eden, God assigned work to Adam. “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15). Work has always been part of God’s plan for mankind.

Although work is difficult, idleness and laziness are destructive. God wants us to work and He wants us to work wholeheartedly. In Hebrews 6:12 we read, “We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”

Ephesians 6:7-8 teaches, “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does whether he is slave or free.”

2. God wants us to trust Him for the necessities of life.

Worrying about the necessities of life can become a major driving force for us. Soon we become so preoccupied with our needs that we don’t have time for God or anything else. Knowledge about God is an antidote to worry. As we get to know our sovereign heavenly Father better, we come to understand how much He loves us, how important we are to Him and how committed He is to take care of us. Jesus taught us how to live dependent on God in the Sermon on the Mount:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:25-30).

3. God wants us to be devoted to Him and not be obsessed with accumulating money and possessions.

Again, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus instructed on our attitude about our material possessions:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-24).

Paul teaches in Philippians 4:11-12:

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

God wants us to cultivate an attitude of contentment by being thankful for what we have, instead of focusing on what we don’t have.

4. God wants us to use the abilities He has given us so that we are good representatives for His kingdom.

Matthew 6:31-34 says:

“So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Making a living can become so all-consuming that there is not time or energy left to pursue the real purpose for life. We were designed for a higher purpose than just to exist or make a living. The needs God has placed within us long to be fulfilled, but we must find their fulfillment in God and His purposes for our lives.

5. God wants to be the center of our lives.

Every person’s life revolves around someone or something. The center of your life is the focal point, the hub, the point of concentration. This position can be occupied by your spouse, your children, a friend, your job, a goal, or any number of other things. God tells us that this position is to be His and His alone. He is to be the center of your life. The Bible is filled with references to this key principle. Here are just four to reflect upon:

“Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that He understands and knows me, that I am the Lord.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38)

“Friendship with God is reserved for those who reverence Him. With them alone He shares the secrets of His promises.” (Psalm 25:14)

“Knowing God results in every other kind of understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10)

6. God wants our character to reflect the character qualities of Christ.

Life is not just about doing. Life is about being. What kind of a person are you? What are you becoming? Our actions are a reflection of what we believe about ourselves. Character matters. It is foundational to successful living. And God has ordained that we are to become more and more like His son, Jesus Christ. Our character is to reflect the character qualities of Christ.

2 Corinthians 3:18 tells us:

“As the Spirit works within us, we become more and more like Him.”

7. God wants us to use our abilities to make a contribution within the body of Christ and His kingdom.

We are here to make a contribution through our lives and abilities. God has carefully planned what He would like to see us accomplish in the lives of those He has placed around us. There are needs within the body of Christ and God’s Kingdom that we have been specifically designed and equipped to fulfill. However, our focus has to be on how we can help others rather than how to get as much as we can for ourselves.

Ephesians 4:12 says:

“Why is it that He gives us these special abilities to do certain things best? It is that God’s people will be equipped to do better work for Him building up the Church , the body of Christ, to a position of strength and maturity.”

8. God wants us to communicate His truth to others through our words and the witness of our lives.

What is it that you want to communicate to others with your life? What impressions are being made through your works and deeds? God wants us to be salt and light to a needy world. He wants others to be drawn to Him as they observe your life and listen to you explain God’s truth. Acts 20:24 tells us:

“But life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about God’s mighty kindness and love.”

God says our purpose for life is to please Him. As we live to please God, we will experience fulfillment as a by-product of pursuing His true purpose for life.

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