A few years back I went on a search to find my purpose in life. And many times, I thought I had found it. But as we do so often, the fire within us slowly cools and we become lukewarm again. I’ve been praying a lot lately about this. I know God wants us to love others and to help those in need. To give freely of ourselves and our time. But I’ve found myself, while knowing all that, not knowing how to take action. I work, I come home, spend time with the family and repeat. We go to church almost every weekend. We spend time in a small group learning, growing and doing life together. I try to raise my kids right and I’m providing for my family. But something always seemed to be missing. I never felt fulfilled in life.
Reading through my personal devotional study this morning, I came across the statement;
Thomas Merton wrote, “Before the Lord wills me to do anything, He first of all wills me to ‘be.’ What I do must depend on who I am.” First and foremost God has predestined us to conform to the image and likeness of His Son, Jesus.
A recent piece of research from medical practitioners indicated that the majority of their patients suffered from a profound lack of purpose in their lives. In other words, apart from continuing to do the expected things — family, work, social life — their lives had no overarching goal; their goals were pretty meaningless. This in turn had an effect on their health and well-being. We realize from the Bible, however, that God has given each of us the opportunity to walk in His perfect plan for our life, bringing heaven to earth and living purposefully.
This feels like me. I do what I’m expected to do, but it seems not much else. I have felt for years that I lack purpose in my life. And I do believe it’s affected my physical and mental health.
In Romans we read;
For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. – Romans 8:15-16
We are called children of God. That is our identity. Our primary calling is rooted in our identity — to become a beloved child of God. That is our purpose.
“We love him because He first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19
Because we are loved and accepted by God as his child, we are given the greatest commandment.
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
We are given the greatest commandment, to worship and love God with every breath we breathe. Only then can we begin to fulfill the second great command to love our neighbor as ourselves.
And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ — Matthew 22:39
As I’m searching for my purpose in life, I need to remember this first great commandment, to love God. Am I really doing that with my every breath? Once I learn to do that, I feel my life will begin to fill with purpose. I will finally have become what God set as my identity before I was even created, to be a child of God.