We hear it/read it/live it, Amen.
Spoken and ALL came into being! From a theoretical/natural standpoint; we are made from inestimable cells – The human body consists of some 37.2 trillion cells. Each and every one is put in its place for a purpose.
Does creation have a purpose? Is there a purpose for the existence of humanity? And, more specifically, do I have a purpose, a reason for being? This article will look at what answers the Bible can provide to these important questions.
Google defines purpose as “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.” This definition gives us two distinct ways that “purpose” is used. The first has to do with why something is done. And the second concerns why something exists.
The first of these usages is pretty straightforward. Nearly everything we do is for some reason, even if that reason is not a good one. The purpose of going to work nearly every morning for over 40 years was to be able to buy food and clothes as well as provide my family a place to live. There was a concrete reason for my employment.
The second usage of purpose concerns the reason for existence. The purpose of my gardens is that they bring me pleasure. I enjoy their peaceful beauty. The purpose of my kitchen is much more practical. It allows me to prepare my meals.
But there are other things around my house that have no purpose, although they might have at one time. The dust bunnies under the couch serve no purpose, at least as far as I am concerned.
Much of what occupies my garage had a purpose when I put it there. But that purpose has been lost over time. While it might be useful to someone else, it no longer has value to me.
When we look at the question asked in the title of this article, we are mostly concerned with our reason for existence. Were we created for a purpose? Is there a reason for our existence?
From an Atheistic Perspective
An atheist would answer this question in two distinct ways. They will often first address what they see as their own purpose.
Essentially what they mean by this is the purpose they have assigned to themselves. What they are trying to accomplish in this life. But that is not the question being addressed here.
When asked more specifically why they exist, rather than not existing, they have to say that they have no purpose. There is no reason why they exist. If there is no creator of the universe, then the whole cosmos is without purpose. It just is.
The Purpose of Creation as a Whole
A Christian will have an entirely different answer to this question about purpose. Believing that there is a God who created the universe changes how we view its purpose. If the universe is just an accident, then it can have no real purpose.
But if it was intentionally created, as Scripture affirms, then the creation would have a purpose. The creator was trying to accomplish something in his creation. But what was it?
I do not believe that Scripture gives us an explicit purpose statement for the creation. While it does clearly affirm that God intentionally created all that is, the purpose is not directly revealed.
Some might argue that it was simply something for him to enjoy, like an artist painting a picture. And he did indeed find the creation to be good and desirable.
But I believe that God’s purpose in creation was not creation itself. Rather it was something that would come out of the creation. In this case, creation itself is only a means to an end. You might think of this universe as being like my kitchen.
The purpose of the kitchen is to produce a meal. In the same way, the purpose of creation is to produce something. And I believe that something is humanity. Not what we are now. But what we were made to become.
The Purpose of Humanity
If the focus of creation is on humanity, the logical question would be why? What purpose would God have in creating humanity? In the context of the whole creation, we are pretty insignificant. Why create all of this for us?
The first chapter of Genesis does give us an answer concerning the purpose of humanity. In this chapter, there are eight creative acts spanning the six days. In three of the creative acts, there is a given purpose.
On day two, a vault is created to separate the waters above from the waters below. On day four, the celestial bodies are created to institute a way to track time. And, finally, the eighth creative action produced humanity.
When God created humanity in his image, it was to rule over the other creatures that God had made. Humanity’s initial purpose in creation was to be God’s vice-regent, caring for God’s creation under God’s authority.
Our Ultimate Purpose
But being caretakers for the rest of creation is not the end purpose for our creation. It is only an intermediate step toward God’s final purpose. You can find that final purpose expressed in Ephesians 1:13-14.
This inheritance does not belong to all of humanity. But only to those who have believed in Christ and given their lives to him. Paul here calls us God’s possession.
Like the kitchen that exists to produce a meal, so the creation exists to produce a redeemed humanity for God. What purpose we will have in eternity is unclear. But we can be assured that we are precious to God. And that he has a purpose for us.
A redeemed humanity has an eternal purpose. But what about me as an individual within that redeemed humanity. Not just in eternity, but here in this life? Does God have a purpose for me now?
I believe that there are two distinct purposes for our lives as believers today. The first is to function within Christ’s church as an active and healthy member of the body. All redeemed humanity makes up Christ’s body.
And each of us has a role within that body to fulfill. Ephesians 4:16 tells us that the body is healthy and growing when each member of the body is doing what God has called us to do. Each of us has a different role within the body (1 Corinthians 12:12-31), and our purpose here is, at least in part, to fulfill that role the best we can.
The second purpose I see for us here is to prepare for our eternity. 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 talks about building our lives on the foundation of Christ. And Paul tells us that in some way our eternal future is impacted by the way we have built now. It is not an issue of salvation. But it does make clear that the life I live now is preparing me for my future.
Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Understanding your unique calling starts with understanding what the Bible says as one of God’s people. It’s important to know and live out the following verses as we pray them over our lives and purpose.
1. Pray for Vision and Instruction
“Where there is no vision, the people run wild, but blessed is he who follows divine instruction.” (Proverbs 29:18)
We pray that you would remind us that that we are all a part of building and expanding your Kingdom. We ask that you give us a fresh vision for your purpose for our lives. We ask that you open our eyes, our ears, our hearts, and our minds to your vision so that we can live out our purpose. Remove anything from our lives that hinders us from discerning your vision. We pray that you would draw us closer to you as you bring us revelation to our purpose. Please reveal to us what we need to do today to not run wild, but rather be focused on your divine vision.
In Jesus’ Name,
2. Pray for Confidence in the Revealed Purpose
Thank you that even if what we see in front of us doesn’t feel good or look good, your plans are good. That even if harm comes our way, you’ll use it for good. Thank you for the hope we can find in you. We trust that you have our future planned out from the very beginning. Allow us to rest in you and rest in your master plan. Give us the confidence that you have nothing but good planned for us. Remind us that even though we don’t know the full plan, that you know the plan. May we lean into you.
In Jesus’ Name,
3. Pray for Direction
“There are many plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that will prevail.” (Proverbs 19:21)
We thank you that even though we have our own idea of how our life should look, often setting out according to our plans, that your ultimate purpose prevails. We ask that you prompt us when we set out to make plans that we make them according to your will, and not our own. We ask that you remind us to come alongside you as we surrender every detail to fulfill your greater purpose. Please align our hearts with yours, our ideas with yours, and our will with yours. For your ways are higher than ours and your plans are greater than ours, and nothing is impossible with you. Lead us every step of the way.
In Jesus’ Name,
4. Pray for Wisdom
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)
As we begin to take steps in the direction of our purpose, we ask that you give us wisdom. We ask in faith, that as your Word promises us, that you will give us wisdom in every small and large decision as we step into our purpose. We thank you that we don’t have to rely on our own understanding, as we know that your wisdom will guide us to our exact purpose. Thank you that we can come to the throne and ask anything. We ask for your guidance, and we thank you for the gift and power of the Holy Spirit.
In Jesus’ name,
5. Pray for Unshakeable Faith
“The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” (I Thessalonians 5:24)
Thank you for being a faithful God. Thank you that although we live in a world where our circumstances at times are shaky, that we serve an unshakeable God. Lord, we ask for this type of faith. Thank you for giving us examples in the Bible of those who found their purpose in you, and every time, without a doubt, you were faithful. Thank you that if you have called us to it, then you will equip us for it. We ask that you remind us of your faithfulness when doubt creeps in. We ask that you allow your promises to overwhelm us when our purpose seems to big. For you are bigger than anything in front of us. Thank you that we can trust in you and your faithfulness never fails us.
In Jesus’ name,
6. Pray for Strength and Encouragement
“And let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
We thank you that when we are weak, you are strong. Please give us your strength when we get tired in fulfilling our purpose. Empower us by your Spirit with energy to keep sowing and planting seeds of righteousness. Remind us that even if we don’t see the fruit of our seeds, that they are growing with you as the Gardener. Give us the strength and encouragement that when the road looks different than we expected that we are exactly where we are supposed to be. Thank you for promising to strengthen the weary, giving us hope for our everyday.
In Jesus’ Name,
7. Pray for Courage to Overcome Fears
Stepping into our purpose can be fearful, as it’s unknown and unfamiliar. Thank you that we do not have to be afraid of the purpose you have called us to. Thank you for being the greatest and most powerful leader. Thank you that no matter what you have called us to, that you will never leave us. That no matter the task ahead of us, you are right there beside us. We ask that you give us courage to take courageous steps even if we don’t know the outcome. We pray that you would equip us with boldness, reminding us that we have nothing to fear with you as our fearless leader.
In Jesus’ Name,
8. Pray for Peace over Your Purpose
“Don’t be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus…the God of Peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:6-7,9)
We pray for your peace and covering over every decision we make this day towards our purpose. Remind us that any confusion is not from you. Lord, we ask that when anxiety or worry start to rise, that you would prompt us to pray and speak directly to you. Thank you that even when we don’t understand what our eyes see, your purpose is unfolding, you are working, and you are in control. Thank you for promising us your comfort and peace.
In Jesus’ Name,
9. Pray for Trust in God
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and He will direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Thank you that you are trustworthy. Please give us the ability to trust you more in every circumstance. Lord, we ask that as we take obedient steps toward our purpose, that you remind us that we can trust in you because of who you are. We ask that we lean on your understanding, not others, and not our own. Keep us close to you and prompt us to acknowledge you continually throughout our days. Thank you for leaving us with the Word, a lamp unto our feet, and that your Word is trustworthy, directing our path into our purpose.
In Jesus’ Name,
10. Pray for Favor and Blessing
“The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you, the Lord lift up his countenance on you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)
We know that we cannot accomplish our purpose without the favor and blessing of you. We ask for your blessing and favor today over our purpose. Please allow your face to shine through as we live out our calling. We ask that our hearts stay in a constant place of giving your glory in everything we do. We know that every gift and blessing come straight from your hand. Remind us today that no matter our past, no matter our weaknesses, that you will use it all for your glory and for your purpose. We thank you Lord that you are working powerfully on our behalf as we surrender our ways to you. May each step we take in our purpose flourish and prosper in every way. Thank you for choosing us to partner with you.
In Jesus’ Name,