Purpose directs the decision making process of every person. In many senses, it is the steering wheel of our lives. Without any purpose, a car will steer aimlessly in whatever direction it feels compelled to go, but a car that is being driven intentionally will go in the direction you want and to the place it is being directed.
Most people, if asked to share their purpose in life, would struggle to clearly define this word for themselves. Despite this, each and every one of us is living for something, even if we can’t articulate it, and more often than not that “something” is ourselves.
We work hard all day, do things we don’t want to do, and put up with people we struggle to get along with to make our lives better. We benefit directly from making our purpose a little self-centered, and we often do what we can to make our lives a bit more comfortable, even at the expense of others. What’s the point of helping that neighbour across the street mow his lawn, or of cooking for that family that’s going through a difficult season? We don’t get anything for ourselves from those things, so why put forth the effort?
When life’s purpose is “SELF“, that purpose can be affected by circumstances, emotions, and the physical comforts we may or may not have. It’s unstable, easily changed and shaken, and often hopeless.
But what would our lives be like if we made our purpose about something greater than ourselves? What would it look like if we stopped living for “SELF” and started living for “SOMEONE” Whose own life was completely focused on others? What would we see change in and around us if we stopped making our lives about fulfilling and sustaining our own wants and needs, and directed our time, attention, and energy toward the only Person in all the universe who can take care of those things for us, and do a much better job of it?
When our life’s purpose stops being about self-satisfaction and self-preservation and starts being all about Jesus Christ, we will begin to see the trajectory of our futures change. We’ll suddenly find that we are no longer directionless, but are being lovingly directed into a destiny we could never achieve on our own.
True, life with Jesus may still seem chaotic at times. We may still feel emotional strain or have days when we are faced with hard questions. But even in the midst of the craziness that is life itself, we can rest securely in the knowledge that we are a part of something so much bigger than ourselves, because our purpose in life stretches beyond what we can see and feel and touch. A life with Jesus at the center means that as long as you are abiding in Him, nothing else really matters. Your purpose is no longer to react to the issues and circumstances around you, but to just focus on the eyes of the Creator. It doesn’t mean that you’re ignoring the troubles and temptations life may throw at you, but that you’re listening to God for direction in the midst of the chaos.
He is always faithful. He knows your struggles, your issues, and your sin, and He will still faithfully guide you to whatever He has called you to. Your job is to listen to His voice and respond in obedience, and He will take care of the rest. How much easier is that for you? We don’t have to fear failure or backlash when responding in obedience to the Lord, because the results and outcomes are no longer our responsibility. An oven is not responsible for the quality or type of cookies that get baked. Its job is simply to stay at a consistent temperature. It has no hand in the quality of ingredients, the recipe, or the time the cookies spend within it. In the same way, when we carry out our responsibilities to the Lord (which is complete and immediate obedience), we can trust Him to take care of the rest of the details. Know God’s purpose and function within your life and rely on God for direction, and the rest will come together. As it says in Matthew 11: 28-30:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
A focused life is a not a stress-free life, but it is a life where we no longer have to force change to happen on our own. You see, a yoke is a wooden crosspiece that is fastened over the necks of two animals (usually oxen) and attached to a plow or cart. If the animals fight against the direction they’re being led, or against one another, they end up making more work for themselves. It’s only when the animals surrender control and understand their purpose that the plowing becomes easier. That doesn’t mean the “plowing” won’t take a little effort, but it becomes much less taxing. Understanding your purpose and surrendering control of your life to Christ will allow Jesus to make you a more effective tool in whatever circumstances you find yourself in.
Our God is a caring Father, not a slave master who will whip you back into alignment. He is gentle and loving, and will coach us in the ways He knows are best for each of us individually. He knows our needs and our desires. He will never lead us astray.
Make God your purpose in life, and He will guide you into your destiny.
Richie is one of the newest staff members here at YWAM Louisville. He has learned firsthand what it means to find his purpose in the Lord, and is living out that purpose and that calling each and every day.