Have you ever wondered about, or felt confused about, the purpose of your life?
Being confused about your purpose in life is not a bad thing. It is actually something that can awaken a desire to seek the truth about who we are and why we’re here.
One of the wisest men in history, King Solomon, who ruled the nation of Israel after his father, David, was confused about his purpose in life. He once wrote, “I, the Teacher, was king of Israel and I lived in Jerusalem. I devoted myself to search for understanding and to explore by wisdom everything being done in the world. I soon discovered that God has dealt a tragic existence to the human race. Everything under the sun is meaningless, like chasing the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:12-15 NLT).
A lot of people are surprised to find out that such statements are in the Bible, and that God himself would be blamed as being responsible for our meaningless lives. But the key to Solomon’s observation is where he places the seat of this wisdom as being “under the sun.” Solomon is saying that if he looks at our human existence trapped on this planet and tries to explain it using human reason and accomplishments “under the sun,” that he can’t come to any better conclusion than life is meaningless.
It is hard—almost impossible—to explain the meaning of life without God, and that’s why everything starts here. God brings design and purpose to our existence. God has a plan that stretches beyond our history. God wants a relationship with us. That in itself gives us meaning. For whatever reason, Solomon wasn’t willing to go beyond what he could physically prove to look for answers to his questions
Every human being who has ever lived has had questions about his or her existence. It makes a big difference where you look for answers. You can’t really know much about meaning in life without being willing to admit that “beyond the sun”—or outside our human experience—is a Being with a design and a reason for all that we see and experience “under the sun.” You’ll need to at least be open to the possibility to move on in this study.
Here’s something to think about: Do you think it’s possible that God created us hungry for the very thing He wants to give us? He created us to seek Him? If so, wondering about your purpose could very well be the most important thing you could do. If this is true, then wondering about your purpose is the first step in finding it.
What ways have you tried to discover your life’s purpose that haven’t worked?
Have you ever wondered if a good deal of advertising appeals to the need we all have for purpose and meaning in life? Buy this car, drink this beer, go to this school, wear this make-up, purchase this insurance and you will have meaning in life.
(…and for everything else, there’s MasterCard.)
The real truth about human nature never changes. Almost 400 years ago, Blaise Pascal, a brilliant French scientist and philosopher explained the dilemma of human existence as a God-shaped vacuum in the center of the human heart—a need for God that He placed there that won’t be satisfied by anything other than God Himself. In Pascal’s own words:
What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object—in other words, by God Himself.
Think of the things our culture lures us into using for our purpose: power, prestige, glory, sex, and wealth. The problem with these things is that there never seems to be enough. Even the people who have “arrived” aren’t happy the way we imagine them being. Meaninglessness is like a black hole at the center of human existence that sucks up whatever we throw at it, leaving it as empty as it was before. Even things that are supposed to be good seem to disappear in this deep cavern.
What have you thrown into the black hole of your existence that hasn’t filled it up? I think we all receive temporary satisfaction from some things, but what will really hold up over time?
Why do you think people try to discover their life’s purpose without turning to God, their creator?
Let’s think about some answers on this one:
- If I turned to God I might lose control of my life.
- God might take away all my fun.
- If there is a God, He’s definitely bigger than me and probably has some demands on my life.
- We always want to do things ourselves. Theme song: “I Did It My Way.”
- We want to be in control of our own destiny.
- We are afraid of God, we don’t know God, or we find God too mysterious.
- We think God’s idea of purpose is probably pretty religious and definitely boring.
- We like religion about as much as we like politics; we don’t want to get into a discussion about either one.