Ethics & Religion
December 21, 2016
The Purpose Driven Life
By Mike McManus
discover your purpose in life you must turn to God's Word, not to the
world's wisdom. You must build your life on eternal truths, not pop
psychology, success motivation or inspirational stories," writes Rick
Warren in his book, The Purpose Driven Life.
"The Bible says, `It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we
are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes
up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of
the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.'"
The message of this book is what Christmas is really all about: the
Messiah coming into the world to communicate his purpose for our life.
The book is so profoundly written that it has sold 33 million copies in
50 languages - the best-selling non-fiction hardback of all time.
My wife and I have been re-reading it in recent weeks. As a writer, I
often underline important passages. However, every sentence is so
meaningful I want to underline everything.
"God was thinking of you long before you ever thought about him. His
purpose for your life predates your conception. He planned it before you
existed, without your input. You may choose your career, your spouse,
your hobbies...but you don't get to choose your purpose."
"The purpose of your life fits into a much larger, cosmic purpose that
God has designed for eternity. That's what this book is about."
The book is divided into 40 short chapters and is designed to be read
one chapter a day. Each day ends with a Point to Ponder: On Day
One: "It's not about me."
Plus a Verse to Remember: "Everything got started in him and
finds its purpose in him Colossians 1:16b (Msg).
Finally a Question to Consider: "In spite of all the advertising
around me, how can I remind myself that life is really about living for
God, not myself."
In Day Two, Warren writes, "While there are many illegitimate parents,
there are no illegitimate children. Many children are unplanned by their
parents, but they are not unplanned by God. God's purpose took into
account human error, and even sin."
For example, Warren quotes God saying, "I have carried you since you
were born. I have taken care of you from your birth. Even when you are
old, I will be the same. Even when your hair has turned gray, I will
take care of you" (Isaiah 45:18).
Many lead lives without a purpose-driven life. Even the prophet Job
said, "My life drags by - day after hopeless day." Warren comments, "The
greatest tragedy is not death, but life without purpose. Hope is as
essential to your life as air and water. You need hope to cope."
Contrast that with God saying, "I know what I am planning for you...I
have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and
a great future" (Jeremiah 29:11).
Without a clear purpose, you are likely to "keep changing directions,
jobs, relationships, churches or other externals - hoping each change
will settle the confusion or fill the emptiness in your heart," writes
However, the Bible says, "Don't live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure
you understand what the Master wants" (Ephesians 5:17).
In college, James Dobson's goal was to become the school's tennis
champion. He was proud when his trophy was prominently placed in the
school's trophy cabinet. Years later, someone found it in a trashcan
when the school was remodeled, and sent it to him. Jim's response:
"Given enough time, all your trophies will be trashed by someone else."
One day each of us will stand before God and asked to do an audit of our
life, a final exam, before entering eternity. Warren writes,
"Fortunately, God wants us to pass this test, so he has given us the
questions in advance:
"What did you do with my son, Jesus Christ?" Jesus said: "I am the way
and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through
me" (John 14:6).
Second, "What did you do with what I gave you?" What did you do with
your "gifts, talents, opportunities, energy, relationships and resources
God gave you? Did you spend them on yourself, or did you use them for
the purposes Gad made you for?"
These are questions we ought to be considering this Christmas.
Copyright (c) 2016 Michel J. McManus,
President of Marriage Savers and a syndicated columnist. For previous
columns go to
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