2 Timothy 1:9-10, Ephesians 1:3-12, Ephesians 2:10
- What do you believe your purpose in life is? How did you come to discover that? Are you sure it’s your purpose? How are you sure?
- How do these verses talk about purpose/what do they say about purpose?
- Who decides your purpose in life? How does that make you feel about your purpose?
The world has a lot to say about purpose. Maybe the word “purpose” isn’t used very clearly, but take a look around and you’ll find the message the world has been preaching to you since day one:
Your purpose in life is to be happy.
It’s everywhere. It’s in movies, TV shows, social media, magazines, commercials, books and our own families.
Lose weight, find the perfect relationship, chase your dreams, achieve your goals, get good grades, please everyone, succeed. All of this will lead to the happiness we were created for, right?
In fact, to be unhappy has become a terrifying thought to most of us.
It’s why we struggle with self-harm through eating disorders and cutting. It’s why we get into harmful romantic relationships and can’t seem to get out of the cycle. It’s why we turn to alcohol and drugs to escape the realities of life. It’s why we’re terrified of suffering and often turn our anger toward God and others when we experience pain.
But as you saw in your reading for today, our purpose is tightly wrapped up with God’s purpose. And God’s purpose is not to make everyone happy. Does that mean he never wants you to be happy? Absolutely not. But God’s main purpose is much greater than fleeting happiness.
God’s purpose for you and me is that we would be holy and blameless in His sight, united with all believers under Christ, so that we may reveal the glory and grace of God through Jesus.
Three things you need to know about God’s purpose:
- It was decided before the creation of the world
- It is always good
- It includes you, but also it’s not all about you
We tend to be very self-focused when we want to discover our purpose, but God always intended for our purpose in life to be part of his great plan to “unite all things in [Jesus], things in heaven and things on earth” (Eph. 1:10). Your purpose cannot exist apart from God or apart from others.
As we saw in Ephesians 2:10, you play a very specific and planned out role in God’s purpose, but your purpose is just a vital piece that will complete a beautiful puzzle.
Don’t look at the way someone else lives her life or how good she is at something and want that. You weren’t created to be that way for a reason. Don’t look at an extrovert and think you need to change your introverted self. Don’t look at someone who is gifted in preaching and think that’s the only way you can serve Christ. Our biggest downfall is that we ignore Ephesians 2:10 and the fact that God has prepared specific works for us that we are to do. We look at other people and desire what they have, chase after who they are, and completely leave behind the very thing we were designed to do.
Next week we will be talking more about your gifts and how to discover them, but for now I want you to focus on Jesus. God’s purpose was decided before the creation of the world and he graciously included us. God decided to include us in his purpose before we could do anything to prove our worthiness. (So why are we constantly trying to prove our worthiness now?) He included us in his purpose simply because he loves us deeply.
God’s purpose will include pain, suffering, confusion, uncertainty, doubt, and fear. We are not guaranteed happiness at every corner. But it also includes joy, peace, hope, love, goodness, unity, blessings, and eternal life.
Fix your eyes on Jesus, not on your purpose. For there, you will find your purpose. And it will be good.
Now go do something with what you learned:
- Read all of Ephesians 1 throughout this week and write down the truths you learn about Jesus, God’s purpose and how you fit into it all
- Talk with a trusted friend about the struggles you’ve been having lately. Confess your sin to them. Then pray together and commit to praying for each other
- Take time out of your day every day this week to pray
- Ask the Holy Spirit what in your life is getting in the way of getting to know God and ask how you can cut it out of your life with His strength and through the help of friends.
- Share what you learned with a friend and talk about what you’re going to do about it