Many people question the meaning of their existence and the purpose of their lives.  Some go on full blown quests to find or discover their purpose.  And others may even go online to take a “what is my purpose in life quiz” or a “how to find my purpose in life test”.

Unfortunately, many Christians seem to struggle with finding their purpose in life as well. 

Some of the most commonly googled questions include:

  • What is God’s purpose for my life?
  • How do I know what my purpose is?
  • Why is it so hard to find your purpose in life?
  • How do I know if I’m walking in God’s purpose for my life? 

In this post we will dive in to see what purpose is, what the bible says about purpose, and most importantly, answer the question ‘what is my purpose in life as a Christian’.

This post may contain affiliate links.  You can read my full disclosure here.

What is Purpose?

The word purpose is defined as follows:

  • the reason for which something is done or created
  • an intention or objective
  • a resolution or determination

With this definition, you can see how people could find purpose in literally anyone or anything.  The world often defines purpose in terms of power, pleasure, wealth, intellect, recognition, fame, social status, and other things.

As Christians, however, we are to approach the subject of purpose as we would any other subject – by looking to Scripture as our ultimate authority on the matter.

So, what is the purpose of life according to the bible?

What Does the Bible Say About Purpose?

It is very important to clarify what the bible says about our purpose, as it will help us declare why we exist, and keep our lives anchored in the character and call of God.

We will start by looking at the difference between God’s purposes and any purposes we may establish for ourselves.

1. God’s Purposes Are Superior

The first thing we must acknowledge is that God’s purposes are superior to our own.

Since the fall of Adam and Eve, the focus on self has always been one of our biggest issues as humans.  Even as Christians (whether we realize it or not), we often treat God like He exists just to make us happy and give us what we want out of life.

It is very important that we realize that we were created by God and for God; for His purposes, and NOT our own:

  • The Lord has made everything for his own purposes, even the wicked for a day of disaster. Proverbs 16:4 NLT
  • Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.  Proverbs 19:21 NIV
  • The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.  Psalm 33:10-11 NIV
  • The Lord Almighty has sworn, “Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen.”  Isaiah 14:24 NIV
  • I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.  I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.  What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do.  Isaiah 46:10-11 NIV

Does this mean we can’t pursue our own purposes?  Actually, we can. 

However, we must learn to acknowledge God and His sovereignty in our planning and pursuits.   Even when we have good intentions, we must remember that God can shift, change, or thwart our plans and purposes altogether in accordance with His plans and purposes for us.

  • Commit your works to the Lord [submit and trust them to Him], and your plans will succeed [if you respond to His will and guidance].  Proverbs 16:3 AMP
  • Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.   James 4:13-16 NIV

The sooner we embrace this truth, the less frustrated we will be in instances where our own plans and purposes don’t come to fruition. 

Our attitude should be like that of Job:

I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

Job 42:2 NIV

Yes, God has a purpose for our lives!  In fact, God created us for a purpose.  And His purpose is so much greater than anything we have in mind.

So, what is that greater purpose? 

2. Our Ultimate Purpose as Christians

God didn’t just save us from something (eternal death and condemnation) but for something.  And, as Christians we are obligated to know both our master and our mission. 

Our ultimate purpose is found in God and God alone.  And he used King Solomon, whom he blessed with wisdom and wealth (1 Kings 3:1-15), to state it best:

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:  Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. 

Ecclesiastes 12:13 NIV

According to Scripture, our ultimate purpose is to fear God (worship Him with awe-filled reverence) and obey His Word! 

Notice that the verse says, this is the duty of ALL mankind.  This is what God created us for.  This was His intention for Adam and Eve in the beginning.  But sin corrupted the relationship between God and mankind, leaving us unable to live according to our ultimate purpose on our own.

But praise be to God, that He made provision through Christ’s shed blood on the cross to reconcile our relationship with Him.  And, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, He empowers us as Christians to be able to live in our purpose:

  • He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.  2 Timothy 1:9 NIV
  • Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.  Philippians 2:12-13 NLT

God empowers us to live in our ultimate purpose, to attain His ultimate purpose, which is to conform us to the image of Christ. 

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 

Romans 8:28-29 NIV

Our entire Christian journey while here on earth is geared towards us becoming more and more Christlike, until we join Him in eternity and are fully conformed to the image of Christ in perfection.

That is why we exist.  God is not here to serve our purposes.  We are here to serve His.  And this has always been the case.

Moses told the Israelites in the Old Testament, and thousands of years later Jesus proclaimed it as the greatest commandment for all His followers as well:

  • And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.  Deuteronomy 10:12 NIV
  • “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 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 22:36-38 NIV
  • Jesus said to his disciples: If you love me, you will do as I command.  John 14:15 CEV

To misplace our purpose in anyone or anything other than God’s purpose for our lives, will only lead to disappointment when those people or things aren’t there.  King Solomon realized that life truly is meaningless when lived apart from God and only for the purpose of attaining the things of this world:

I observed everything going on under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind. 

Ecclesiastes 1:14 NLT

Jesus reiterated this point when he said this to his disciples:

And how does a man benefit if he gains the whole world and loses his soul in the process? For is anything worth more than his soul? 

Mark 8:36-37 NLT

If you’re not living in your ultimate purpose, it really doesn’t matter where you go to school, what career or vocational path you choose, what ministry you get involved with, who you marry, who you partner with in business, how much money you make, how many social media followers you have, or how many material things you accumulate in life.

I promise you that God being God, has made it so that NO ONE will find true purpose and fulfillment in life apart from Him and His purposes.

3. How to Walk in Our Purpose

So, what exactly does it look like walk in our purpose – to live in fear of and obedience to God on a daily basis?

Read God’s Word Regularly

In order to have a reverence for God and obey His Word, we must first know what His Word actually says! 

The absolute number one reason that many Christians struggle with living in their purpose is because they don’t spend time with God regularly.

When we don’t spend time with God, we end up finding our purpose in everything but God.

When we feel lost, confused, unfulfilled, and unsure of why we are here or what we’re supposed to be doing, it’s because we have lost focus on our true purpose.  Instead of making time with God a priority, we spend more time doing everything else.  That results in other people and things like the internet, social media, and Netflix dictating to us what our purpose is instead of God.

We scroll through pics and videos of people supposedly “living their best life” and we start to make that our purpose as well.  The problem is, after we pursue all the things, we still end up unfulfilled and back at the same place we started – looking for purpose.

It is the Word of God that transforms our hearts and minds to become more like Christ, which as we learned is God’s ultimate purpose for us.

  • All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT
  • And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.  Romans 12:1-2 NLT

True Christians, absolutely cannot and will not live in their ultimate purpose if they constantly neglect spending time in God’s Word. 

Live in Obedience to God’s Word

God doesn’t want us to just know what our purpose is, he wants us to actively walk in our purpose every day.  In simple terms, you do that by taking what you read in His Word and putting it into practice.  

  • For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Ephesians 2:10 NIV
  • Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.  1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV

Obeying God’s Word is how we demonstrate our reverence for Him in our daily lives.  And there is no shortage of ways to live for God.

The Bible teaches us how we should operate in our homes, at our jobs, in our relationships, in ministry, and in our communities.  It teaches us how to overcome negative emotions.

It tells us how to worship God, and how to fellowship with other believers.  It tells us how to guard ourselves against the devil’s lies and temptations, and how to fight spiritual battles. 

It tells us how to pray, what to pray for, and how to follow God’s will for our lives.  It teaches us how to operate in our spiritual gifts and various callings. 

It teaches us how to share the gospel message with others and how to let our lives be a living testimony.  It teaches us the promises of God that we can stand on during times of hardship and difficulties.  

There is no reason for us to ever be sitting around wondering what our purpose is or how to walk in it.  On the contrary, we should be asking ourselves, ‘in what ways can I serve God today’?

4. Our Vocation, Ministry, and Giftings are NOT Our Purpose

God designed each of us with specific talents and abilities and has blessed us with spiritual gifts as well.  However, too often we think those things are our purpose in life; and that is NOT the case.

Regardless of what your vocation, ministry, talents, or spiritual gifts are, they are simply to be utilized to serve God as you walk in your ultimate purpose. 

Whether you are a stay-at-home mom, a teacher, a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, an Uber driver, a famous musician, a mailman, a janitor, a social media influencer, or a pastor, you are to function in your respective role(s) with reverence and obedience to God.

  • Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10 NIV
  • Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.  Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.  Colossians 3:23-24 NLT

Whether you actually like the work you’re doing, or the people you work with, is irrelevant. Living in your ultimate purpose means showing up with excellence every day – in your home, on your job, in ministry, at the grocery store, everywhere you go – as if you are working directly for God.

The purpose of our lives can’t be to simply attain the things (vocation, ministry, talents, and gifts) and all the stuff we feel should come as a result. 

What good is it if I’m a “Christian mother” who doesn’t parent in line with what the Bible teaches.  Or a “Christian business manager” who treats his employees unfairly.  Or a “Christian mailman” who steals company time. Or a “Christian retail worker” who constantly gossips about her fellow co-workers.  Or a “pastor” who only gives motivational speeches for profit and never actually preaches the Word of God.

We spend so much time trying to figure out what career, business venture, side hustle or hobby to pursue. And God does care what we pursue, which is why we should always pray about it. However, He is more concerned with how we pursue it, and how it affects our walk with Him.

If we pursue any path that lead us into sin or pulls us away from Him (even if it doesn’t happen right away), that should be more than enough confirmation that whatever it is does NOT align with God’s ultimate purpose for our lives.

Living in your purpose means honoring and obeying God in whatever role(s) you currently function in.

It’s also important to realize that our vocation, ministry work, talents and giftings are oftentimes used by God for specific purposes and ONLY for a specific season of our lives.  I will give an example from my own life.

I am originally from Richmond, VA but I moved to Philadelphia after I graduated from high school.  In the 15 years I was there, I got my Biblical Studies degree, got married, started a church which grew to 200 members, and I had a son.  Unfortunately, there came a point where I lost my husband, my home, and my church all within the same year, and I had to move back to Virginia with my family. 

At the time I thought I had no purpose at all because I had lost everything that I felt gave me purpose. 

Looking back in retrospect, I now know that my time in Philadelphia served a very specific purpose, for a specific season, in accordance with God’s will for my life.  I had to learn that my ultimate purpose and identity didn’t revolve around my ex-husband, my ministry, my place in Philly, my old job and salary, or my old friends. 

God taught me that although situations and people change, I ALWAYS have a purpose in Him, and my ultimate purpose NEVER changes.

Although I serve in different capacities than I used to, today I still honor and obey God – as a single mother and a full time Uber driver. And I still utilize my spiritual gift of teaching – as a Christian blogger and author, a Children’s Sunday school teacher, and a women’s bible study teacher.

My life has changed dramatically over the last ten years since I’ve moved back to VA, but God is still God, and I will always serve Him, in purpose, and on purpose, no matter what.

Live Purposefully for God Always!

Are you living in God’s purpose in the role(s) he has placed you in at this given point in your life?  Or are you only pursuing all the things the world tells you to run after, while constantly asking God to bless your personal agendas and purposes?

As Christians, we should be actively seeking ways to honor and obey God faithfully every day, from any location, and amidst any circumstances. 

God does not just want us to exist on earth, He wants us to live purposefully for Him.  It is only when we do this that we truly glorify God and experience the abundant life that He destined us to have:

  • My Father is glorified and honored by this, when you bear much fruit, and prove yourselves to be My [true] disciples.  John 15:8 AMP
  • The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].  John 10:10 AMP

When we live in God’s purpose, we can enjoy Him even more intimately.  It can even shift our focus when we engage in mundane everyday tasks that we don’t necessarily enjoy.  Things like dealing with a hostile work environment, doing household chores, sitting in traffic, or dealing with your teenagers can become more tolerable as you remember to honor and obey God in all you do.

Lastly, living in our purpose helps us not to get distracted by chasing the pleasures of the world, or even tempted to envy those who do so.

In Psalm 73, Asaph talks about how he was tempted to envy the wicked who seemed to have no cares and built their fortunes upon the backs of those they took advantage of.  But then he considered their ultimate end. To Asaph, a relationship with God mattered above all else in life. Without that relationship, he realized that life had no real purpose:

Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. 

Psalm 73:25-26 NLT

Don’t let another day, week, month, or year pass by where you are just existing and living for your own purposes and pleasures.  I assure you, as a Christian, that is not what life is all about.  Yes, God wants us to enjoy the good things of life that He blesses us with, but the blessings should never be the goal and should always be kept in their proper perspective.   In fact, when we prioritize God and His purposes, He promises to take care of all the rest.

But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well. 

Matthew 6:33 CEV

Let’s live purposefully for God every single day. How well we do that is truly what matters most in life.

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