Life is the Purpose

Life is the Purpose

You are likely confused. And why shouldn’t you be? Everyone is talking about purpose. I agree with Westminster that the primary purpose of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. But just beneath that is a penultimate purpose. What is your purpose?

Is it helping people? Is it world peace? Is it music, math, or money? 

You have been told again, and again, and again that if you don’t find your purpose you will be miserable and worthless. Your life will be meaningless. If you do find your purpose, you might live in constant tension with your purpose as you struggle to give energy to it while also fighting the desire to do other things.

I want you to consider that after your purpose to glorify God, your purpose is … to live (which is part of glorifying God). 

After all, what did God create man to do? He created him to produce and multiply. In other words, he created him to live.

Your life is your purpose, just like it is for everything that lives. Ask any plant, amoeba, or rabbit—they’re all looking to flourish. 

Could it be that our obsession with finding our purpose is a disguised need to feel important? It is legitimate to want to know what God wants for our lives, what he wants us to do. We want to know, because we love him and we want to do what he wants. But think about this: if God has one specific thing for you to do with your life, why wouldn’t he just throw a burning bush in your way, invite you to take off your shoes, and just tell you? You don’t need to feel important. You simply are important, at least to you (which is what matters in this discussion). 

I believe that if God isn’t showing up in the bush, or as a giant hand writing on the wall, or by sending the Angel of the Lord, or at least speaking in an audible voice, then he doesn’t care what you do. He only cares how you do it. Produce. Multiply stuff (and people), but do it in a way that honors him. What did he put you here to do? Live.

That doesn’t mean that every way is as good as the next for you. But it does mean that there may be nothing mystical about it. What should you do to sustain your life? I don’t know, but I’ll ask you, what do you like to do? If you’re going to be successful, you will likely have to grind to get somewhere. So avoid things you hate. 

I do three things for a living, and I love them all. I have had plenty of jobs in the past that made me want to poke my eyes out. I’ve had plenty of jobs I loved but didn’t pay well enough to support a family (I was “minor league” opera singer). But what I do now, I love. And it still takes grind.

I am a pastor/church planter. If I don’t work hard at it, then the people God has given me to shepherd won’t thrive spiritually, and I will fail. 

I am a writer. As of now I make no money writing for myself, but I make plenty of money ghostwriting (Fiverr.com). I have to do a lot of it to pay the bills. I love it, but it feels like grind most days to hit the quota that will support my family as I plant a new (meaning—too tiny to pay me much) church. I get up no later than 3:30 a.m. to start writing. 

And I am a business owner (www.christianghostwriting.com), which is terribly fun for me, except that it requires a lot of ingenuity, creativity, and conscientiousness to run. Someday, it will mean doing less actual writing and more managing writers, and maybe I can even pay someone to do that! That’ll be nice. 

I truly enjoy all these endeavors, including writing this blogpost, which may very well never earn me a dime. But it is grind. So why grind? Because I have a life to live. I need to spend time doing things that I don’t despise to make the money that I want (not just need) to live out the principles and values that I run my life by. I am very intentional about what is important to me, to my life. Values are what make up the quality of your life, so you should decide for yourself what they are going to be—based on what you believe is true. God and his truth are my highest values. Everything after that is a choice, and even God and truth are a conscious choice. Make choices and live your life. That is, run your life accordingly.

Understanding Systems Will Change Your Life

Systems

Everything is a system. Life is a system of systems of systems.

Think about it.

Everything comes about by a 1-2-3-4…progression of events. Everything abides by certain rules. 

I’ll give credit right here to Sam Carpenter for opening my eyes to this. His book Work the System red pilled me from thinking things were random, and that if God caused all the things, he did it in a way that was random to me.

But my eyes are open. Figure out what the system is, what the rules are, and tweak it along with all the other systems of your life. 

Consider the highway system. You’re on a four lane road, everyone is going the same way on your side. There are lines telling you where to be, there are rules you had to learn in order to be allowed to drive. There are consequences for breaking the rules, some severe–death, and some less severe–a traffic ticket. 

There are exit ramps, on ramps, and turn lanes. There are traffic lights and speed limits. Therefore, we are not constantly hurling our cars into one another all the time. 

But what about an accident?

It was a breakdown in the system. Someone broke a rule. 

In life, if you can figure out what the systems are, how they are broken, and then just get about fixing them one break at a time, and one system at a time (I recommend starting with the ones that are most important), everything changes. Life begins to make sense, and you start seeing the good things that come from being a good steward, that is, one who takes responsibility for what you’ve been given control over. This is truly living in focus. 

How Do You Know if You Love Money?

Do you love money?

Do you like money?

How would you know if you love money in the way the Bible warns us against?

“Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you’” (Heb 13:5). 

Here are some questions: 

  1. Do you regularly compromise your true values in order to get more of it?
  1. Do you ever sin in order to get it?
  1. If you are self-aware enough to know your motives, do they have anything to do with impressing other people so that their affirmation makes you feel good about yourself? If so, you don’t just love money, but you love the approval of people. Deadly combination. 

I would bet that some of you answered no to all of these, but you still feel worried that you love money. It is because you like money and you may have been taught that liking anything is bad. After all, the verse says, “be satisfied with what you have.” 

But does that really make sense?

Maybe you would say it this way: Liking anything more than God is bad. That is certainly true, but do you like anything more than God? How would you know? 

I’m a dad. It does not bother me to see my children enjoy something. In fact, I like it. I have never had one of my children show any sign that they like or love me less because they like another thing or person. 

I don’t think we love God less when we love something else too, unless it is something that puts us at odds with him. For instance: it is something that causes us to sin, to lie, to cheat, to get angry or anxious.

Is there a godly way to be satisfied with what you have and also work to get more? What if you didn’t have a job? Would you be satisfied with what you have, or would you go get a job? If so, does that mean you love money? 

I am potentially facing a large medical bill in the near future. Should I be satisfied with what I have, which is not enough to pay it, or should I be thinking of ways to make the money I need to pay the bill? I think God put me here to work to provide for myself and my family and to be generous towards others when I can. This means solving problems, particularly the problem of staying alive. I can do that and at the same time trust God to provide, knowing that, even as I work, he will never fail me or abandon me.

Principles are Better than Laws, Part 1

We’re Christians.  We have laws.  We have the Ten Commandments.  They are not called The Ten Principles.  Still…

Principles are better than laws, even when our principles happen to be laws.  

The nice thing about laws is that they don’t require thinking.  We just have to be afraid of the law giver, and voila, order.  But if you know anything about Christianity, then you know that laws don’t have power to save.  

3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (Ro 8:3-4).

The law cannot save us because our “flesh is weak.” This means that we may know we are supposed to do something, or not do something, but when we try to obey that law, we fail time and again. We assume that we cannot help it. Isn’t that why Jesus had to die? Because we are so bad at not sinning?

Well, yes, it is. But there is more. Jesus fulfilled the “righteous requirement of the law,” for us who, “walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Now what does that mean? I’d like to propose that one effect of walking according to the Spirit is that it makes all our laws into principles. In our sin, the “thou shalt nots, and thou shalts” seem like hard restrictions, keeping us from having any fun in life. But in the Spirit, sin having been “dealt with” by Christ, we are able to see the laws of God as a path to true personhood.

Our destiny is eternity with God that began at our salvation.  We will never lose our free will, but we will one day learn to always choose God of our own joyful volition.  We will always seek his kingdom and his righteousness, because we will have learned that it is the only way to be.  It is the only path to joy, and to pleasures evermore in and under Christ.  It is the only way to truly enjoy the good gifts of God without putting them above him.  

In my next posts, I’ll take the Great Commandment and the Ten Commandments and see if they also work as the Great Principle and the Ten Principles.