My son asked me what his purpose was. Have you figured out the purpose for your existence? I wondered what my purpose was for many years, but then I saw my purpose every day in how I treated other people. Websters dictionary defines purpose as to aim, intend, or resolve to do something good or something toward achieving a goal. But, did you ever think your purpose is to intentionally show love, be kind, be patient and gentle when annoyed, spread joy, ease a burden for someone, live in peace with others, be faithful to your family and employer, be trustworthy and not lie, and lastly to be self-controlled and not indulge your unhealthy feelings or desires. The following verses are well known to many concerning God’s purpose.
Jeremiah 29:11 states, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare (peace) and not for evil (calamity or harm), to give you a future and a hope.” (ESV) Welfare is the state of being or doing well; condition of health, happiness, and prosperity; well-being. God wants to give you a future and a hope. This verse was a prophesy Jeremiah told the Israelites who were taken as captives into Babylon. If you are experiencing calamity or harm in your life and not welfare, please read EVIL—What is it and what is the remedy?
Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” Are you willing to hope in the good purpose God has for you though you may have to go through hard times?
Ephesians 2:10 states, “For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” You may not understand what the good works are you are to do, but stay in prayer and submitted to God to continue to work in your life to fulfill your purpose. To understand more, read Why, What, and How to Submit to God and be FREE
Being patient when God’s purpose for you is difficult. God wonderfully uses people to fulfill His plan to change history. The purpose of God for each of us will have significance, no matter how insignificant we may think it is. Working in the nursery at church has a significant impact for the kingdom of God as you show God’s love to the little ones. I hope the following summaries will help you see that God’s purposes are different for each person. Note how hardships prepared each person for their purpose. We only need to obey, be faithful, and trust Him even when we don’t see the whole picture or results.
Adam’s and Eve’s purpose was to rule all the created creatures, birds, fish, and all the earth. They were to be fruitful and multiply and to obey God. So, when they disobeyed, then sin and its consequences entered the world which still affects us today. See Genesis, Chapters 1-4. Your purpose is the same. We should all do our part in caring for the earth God created.
Noah’s purpose was to build an ark which took over100 years to build. He obeyed God even though he did not understand what a flood or rain was. Everyone ridiculed him the entire time he was building the ark , but he steadfastly obeyed God’s purpose for his life. See Genesis, chapters 5-11. You may have to go through ridicule when those around you do not understand why God wants you to undertake a huge task. Don’t waver, just obey. For example, God asked me to write this study. I am not a writer and I did not know what to write, but I obeyed, though I didn’t understand why He asked me. He knows something I don’t know.
Abraham’s purpose was to be the father of the Jewish nation, yet he had no children until he was 100 years old, when he had Isaac. God told Abraham to leave his family and go to a foreign land and settle there. He obeyed God and remained faithful, and God blessed him wherever he went. Because of his faith, he was known as the friend of God. See Genesis, chapters 12-23. You may not understand why God asked you to do something, just believe and obey, because He wants to bless you.
Joseph’s purpose was to be the ruler of Egypt and save his family (the beginning of the Jewish nation) from starvation. Before he could fulfill God’s purpose, he became a slave in Egypt and unjustly put in prison for three years. After that, he was asked to interpret Pharaoh’s dream, and God inspired Pharaoh to make Joseph second in command of Egypt. Joseph did not know what his purpose was until he saw his brothers many years later, but he remained faithful to God. See Genesis, chapters 37-47. Going through hardships is not fun but keep your eyes on Jesus and you will see later how your hardships were used to fulfill your purpose. To learn more read Example of Suffering Well and God’s Response: Part 2 of Suffering Well
Moses’s purpose was to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, where they were being oppressed and made slaves. God arranged for Moses to grow up in Pharaoh’s house until he fled into the wilderness when he killed an Egyptian for hurting a fellow Hebrew. After spending 40 years herding sheep in the wilderness and at 80 years old, God spoke to Moses from a burning bush to tell him to go back to Egypt and lead the people out. Moses obeyed but asked God for help because he did not speak well, so God arranged for his brother Aaron to meet him. See Exodus, chapters 1-4. As God had to humble Moses, you may need to be humbled before God can use you for His purpose.
David was anointed king around 15 years old. He knew his purpose, but it was another 15 years until he became King. Much of the 15 years he waited, he spent wandering the wilderness and living in caves while fleeing from King Saul, who was trying to kill him. But David remained faithful to God and is known for having a heart after God. See 1Samuel, chapters 19-22. He also wrote many of the Psalms, which reflected his feelings during the 15-year waiting period. God may have you waiting. Trust He has a purpose for the waiting period which may be full of trials and difficulties. Keep trusting God.
Daniel’s purpose was to be a ruler in Babylon then Persia and to pray for Israel. He was taken as a captive to Babylon at 16 years old and indoctrinated into the Babylonian culture. Daniel remained faithful to God and continued to trust Him. God put into his heart the desire to pray three times a day for Israel, and he was faithful to this purpose even knowing he would be thrown into the lion’s den. But God sent an angel to shut the hungry lion’s mouths. See Daniel, chapters 1-6. Though you may not face being thrown to the lions, keep your eyes on Jesus through prayer and do not despair, no matter what situation you find yourself in.
Esther was a Babylonian Jewish captive whose purpose was to save the Jewish nation from annihilation. The Persian King wanted another Queen after beheading the previous queen. So, there was a beauty contest, and Esther won. She was queen for many years before she became aware of the plan to kill the Jewish captives. It took courage for her to approach the King to save herself and her people. At that moment she fulfilled God’s purpose for her life.
There are many other Old Testament examples. Here are two New Testament examples:
Jesus’s purpose was to redeem us from our sinful nature and eternal death, by offering Himself as a perfect sacrifice to pay the penalty and debt for our sin. He was 33 years old when he fulfilled his purpose. John 12:27 states, “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose, I came to this hour.” Ephesians 1:7-9 states, “In Him, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of His grace, 8) which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight, 9) He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him” God’s main purpose for mankind is to be in a right relationship with Him through believing and receiving the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the gift of eternal life in Heaven.
Saul, who was killing and imprisoning Christians, became Paul, whose purpose was to spread Christianity to the Gentiles. God struck him down and blinded him for three days, then he received the call of God on his life. For the next three years he lived in the wilderness, being taught by God. When Paul obeyed and remained faithful, God could use him for His purpose. He spent most of his ministry in prison because of a wrongful accusation, where he wrote most of the New Testament, which was God’s purpose for him. Acts 26:16 explains Paul’s conversion. “Get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I [Jesus] have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you;” In Acts 20:27, Paul wrote, “For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.” According to this verse, the Bible defines our purpose; therefore, we must study the God’s Word to know His purpose for us.
In the examples above, they all had to go through some suffering and wilderness experiences to prepare them for their purpose. Remember, hardships strengthen your faith and increases your perseverance. Some people may never know their purpose because their purpose was fulfilled as they lived out their lives. And, some people will only know their purpose at the moment God calls, and they obey.
I always struggled to know my purpose. God showed me in the Bible that my purpose was to live my life for Him and do what He has given me to do at that moment. I want to encourage every parent to embrace the purpose to raise God-fearing children who know and obey God’s Word. Do not swerve from that significant purpose. The devil will try to distract you through worldly activities and idolatry
Reflections and Application:
What does it look like to surrender to God’s sovereignty and purpose?
How do you know what the good purpose is for your life?