“Do you seek great things for yourself?” Jeremiah 45:5a
The age-old question of “Why am I here?” goes unanswered every day giving many a feeling of hopelessness.
Every single human being has a purpose in this life. Unfortunately, many people do not have any idea of what their purpose might be. I have also noticed that lots of people have a certain purpose already picked out for themselves, and then become disillusioned when the purpose we want for ourselves is not fulfilled.
For me personally, I remember having an intense longing to be famous. I wanted others to admire me and be influenced by my life and ideas. I wanted to be great. That is what I wanted my purpose in life to be. It’s pretty embarrassing when said out loud, but it's true.
The older I get though, I realize that this desire is not uncommon. Everyone seems to want to be admired or looked up to. Let’s face it—we care a lot about what other people think. This is not bad in itself because we need to care to some extent so that we can use what others think about us to better ourselves and our behavior. But it becomes a problem when that is the main concern of our lives.
When our purpose depends on others and what they think of us, then it becomes necessary to constantly have to manipulate our behavior to keep others impressed with us. This is noticeable with the rich and famous. Their behavior becomes more outlandish and strange as time goes on in order to keep the people interested in them. It’s almost a curse for them as so many self-destruct over time.
Our actual purpose in life is never, ever dependent on other people or what they think. Our purpose was given to us by God.
God said, “Let’s make man in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26
This very first mention of God creating human beings gives us the reason for our existence. God made us in His image to rule over the world He had just created. Just as God is the ruler over everything, He made us to mirror Him and rule over the world. Our purpose is to reflect God and His glory. When we reflect the glory of God, we are actually sharing in His glory! That is the purpose of each and every human being.
This is a beautiful and fantastic purpose, but unfortunately, many people don't really want this. They do not want to reflect God’s glory. No, instead they want their own glory. Believe it or not, the desire to get glory from others is nothing but a part of the sin nature that we inherited from Adam and Eve, the first humans on this earth. The Bible explains that Eve believed the lie that having her own glory (being as smart as God), would be better than reflecting God’s glory. You can read all about it in the first book of the Bible, Genesis chapter three. It is amazing how perfect this explanation is and is even proved by what is going on with us today. It also proves how true and perfect the Bible really is.
The desire for my own glory was my problem years ago, and it seems to be the problem with many who are searching for purpose. Thankfully, I discovered that my own glory is short-lived and unfulfilling. It can’t even compare with reflecting God’s glory. Why's that? Because a created being receiving glory from other created beings is worthless. But having the privilege of reflecting the infinite and awesome glory of God Almighty is so amazing, words are not enough to describe it.
This is what the Scriptures mean when they say,
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT
Understanding our purpose is extremely important for us in this lifetime. It keeps us focused on what is important—our relationship with God. Still, the question must be asked—why are so many believers in God feeling unfulfilled in their purpose?
I think that I might have a possible answer: It seems that most of us are living as this life is all that there is. I mean, we can’t actually see what is past this life or the glory of God that we are to reflect. This is what makes faith all the more important.
Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, proof of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
But how can we increase this faith? Recently I have been struggling with this very thing. This interesting analogy that has helped me immensely: Can babies in the womb know that there is anything past that womb? Do they even know that they have a mother or anything else this world has to offer? Just because they cannot see it or even possibly know about it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Each and every one of us has been in a womb, yet we don’t remember it or cannot even describe the experience of leaving it.
That is what the Bible says will happen to us again when we are in eternity:
For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things will not be remembered nor come into mind. Isaiah 65:17
I really believe that is why God uses the birth process many times in describing this life. He is trying to show us that even though we cannot see or feel or hear things beyond this life, it doesn’t mean that they do not exist. God even tells us that we must be born again in order to see this realm! It’s no different than having to be born to see the world we now live in.
Jesus answered him, “Most certainly I tell you, unless one is born anew, he can’t see God’s kingdom.” John 3:3
Knowing that all these things are true and how our purpose of reflecting God’s glory is something that could never be matched by anything else in this world should fill us with excitement. It should make us long for seeing what we have heard about.
Do I still struggle with wanting people to think I’m great? I do. But when I understand that this is a part of the sin nature that I inherited, I can push it aside for something much better. I can focus on my true purpose which was given to me by God.
When I do this, the excitement of seeing what I am hoping for makes everything and anything else seem like nothing in comparison.
Do you ever fill unfulfilled in your purpose?
How can your own faith in God renew your sense of purpose?