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Does my life have purpose?

The answer to the question “does God exist?” suggests that finding meaning or purpose in life apart from God or deity is difficult to do. The reason is that trying simply to assert your own purpose as one individual among several billion people, on a planet circling a star that is only one of trillions in a vast universe, is a pretty lonely task. Still, many people strive simply to achieve something for themselves: power, wealth, fame, honor, health, or pleasure. To such people Jesus asks this question: “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?” (Luke 9:25)

Other people, however, find it easier to find a purpose in life by attaching themselves to a group of people, often for the achievement of a higher goal or cause. They serve their family, their gender, their country, their religion, their economic class, or their cultural group. Some create beauty for the enjoyment of others; some invent new engineering marvels to make life easier; others seek to ease the suffering of the sick and the helpless.

But if there is a Creator, as the Bible claims, would it not make sense to see what He says is our purpose? When Jesus was asked what is the greatest of God’s commandments, He immediately replied, “’You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind’….A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:37, 39). This would suggest that we were made for the purpose of caring relationships—a relationship of respect and gratitude for God and relationships of generosity and kindness with other people.

Paul, an early follower of Jesus, described this unselfish love this way:

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance….Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, 13).

When we live a life of love for God and our fellow human beings, we please God and show what He is like. (See “what is God like?”) Our problem is that it is impossible to live our lives this way all the time. There are times when we simply live for ourselves instead of for God and others. We cannot fulfill the purpose for which God made us.

Are we trapped in hopelessness? No, God has provided a way out. (See Who is Jesus? And “can I know God personally”).




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