On Purpose: Putting Our Life in Order

Purpose in Our Life

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. [Romans 8:28 (ESV)].

Our ultimate spiritual purpose as human beings consists of entering, during our life, into an intimate communion with the Divine. This means that, while our mind and body participate in worldly endeavors and pleasures of secular reality, our soul is constantly conscious of God.

Since the beginning of the world, the people of the heart have always been the fortunate ones, traveling in the realms beyond the heavens with wings like angels. These heroes transcend the limits of the bodies to hold the reins of both worlds…. The dust and the grime of this world do not blacken their horizon, nor does the colorful attraction of the hereafter distract them from their purpose. In every deed, they enjoy the friendship of God; thus their devotion is the most profitable trade. In this way, they faithfully realize their heart’s purpose in a way that befits humanity. These fortunate ones sing of their love in the eternal melodies, raising their voices to the furthest galaxies. [Fethullah Gülen].

Our moral efforts toward goodness, toward compassion and toward love are of no avail unless they are given direction and vitality by God. As the breath of God gives the human being spirit, so do thoughts of God give human action purpose.

For a work to be considered good it must not only conform outwardly to the law of God, but it must be motivated inwardly by a sincere love for God. [R. C. Sproul, Chosen by God, p. 107].

We can do nothing of consequence, of lasting importance, without the reality of God dominating our  life. It is from the perspective of Divine Reality that events take significance, that action acquires meaning.

The progress of mankind has always depended upon those who, seemingly isolated and powerless in their own day, have seen their vision and remained true to it. In the darkening corridors of time, they preserved integral their vision of the daylight at the end. This is a matter not of calculation but of faith. Our work may be small and its results invisible to us. But we may rest assured it will come to fruition in God’s good time. [John Ferguson].

Out-of-Order Life

Industrial psychologists have long known the value of purpose on production lines. We need a purpose for our work. We long for an end product.

The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble. [Proverbs 16:4 (ESV)].

We want meaning in our lives, but without an eternal purpose, we live as fish in aquarium tanks, as pets in pet store cages, as animals in zoos — as meaningless tools. When we become lustful consumers addicted to worldly desires, we resemble captive animals, diminished to items of curiosity, commercial exploitation and fleeting entertainment.

Humanity could only have survived and flourished if it held social and personal values that transcended the urges of the individual, embodying selfish desires – and these stem from the sense of a transcendent good. [Arthur Peacocke].

To seek material accumulations, physical pleasures and selfish goals, is to render our actions wasteful and destructive. Our morality stumbles as we produce conflict and disharmony. Our prevailing reality becomes futile, hopeless, purposeless.

Morality, then, seems to be concerned with three things. Firstly, with fair play and harmony between individuals. Secondly, with what might be called tidying up or harmonising the things inside each individual. Thirdly, with the general purpose of human life as a whole: what man was made for … [A Year with C. S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works, p. 70].

Nothing is truly accomplished  unless it has lasting consequence, nothing is permanent unless it has divine purpose.

God has created me to do him some definite service; he has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission. I never may know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. [John Henry Newman: Spiritual Writings, p. 98].

Bringing God into our experience, having Him present in mind and spirit, acknowledges a transcendent reality. It makes the trivial significant and the mundane Divine.

You can live by default, or you can live on purpose. You can let the world squeeze you into its mold, or you can be formed by the thoughts of God. [John Ortberg, Now What?: God’s Guide to Life for Graduates].

Working for God

Work, in terms of physics, requires that there be motion, distance has to be traversed, something has to be moved. A force does work only when movement takes place under the action of the force. In ultimate reality, without movement toward the Divine there is no work performed.

The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose. [Rick Warren, The Purpose-driven® Life].

We can push all day against a brick wall and accomplish nothing. All our energy is wasted and our efforts are useless. Take a single step toward God and valuable work is performed, essential service is accomplished.

And [tell them that] I have not created the invisible beings and mankind to any end other than that they may [know and] worship Me. [Quran 51:56].

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