Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
By Chris WittsWednesday 2 Dec 2020Morning Devotions with Chris WittsDevotionsReading Time: 4 minutes
One day a man visited his doctor because he was in excruciating pain. The doctor asked him, Where does it hurt? The man answered, All over.
The doctor told the man to touch his shoulder. The man touched his shoulder and cried out in pain. Next, the doctor told the man to touch his forehead. The man touched his forehead and cried out in pain again. The doctor told the man to touch his knee. The man touched his knee and winced in pain. He said, Doctor, everywhere I touch, I’m in pain. The doctor thoroughly examined the man and concluded, No wonder you are in pain everywhere you touch—you have a dislocated finger!
The Way to a Life with Purpose
We may laugh at the silliness of this man’s situation, but many of us are doing the same thing, just in a different way. Many of us feel like everything in our lives is wrong, yet in fact just one thing in our lives is wrong. However, this one thing affects everything. This one thing is that many of us are living a life without purpose. We are simply going through the motions—existing day-by-day, weighed down by the emptiness of a life without meaning. Robert Bryne once observed, “The purpose of life is a life of purpose.”
In order to get somewhere, you need to define your end goal. That is essential. And the sooner you define it, the clearer everything else will become. A life without a purpose is a life without a destination. Two thousand years ago the Roman philosopher Seneca wrote:
Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbour he is making for, no wind is the right wind.
Finding the right direction in life is an existential problem for all of us. When Stephen Hawking wrote his book A Brief History of Time, after explaining his view of the nature of the universe he concluded regarding the question of why we and the universe exist, “If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason—for then we would know the mind of God” (p. 175).
What do you look forward to in life? Living without purpose is dangerous. Somebody put it quite well: “The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.” Purpose is not measured by what you have done compared to what someone else has done, but by what you have done compared to what you are supposed to do.
By Knowing God We’ll Find Our Purpose
The only way to know your purpose is to experience and walk closely with the One who has created and destined you for it. If you are a Christian, you do not need to be running around trying to discover your purpose. Rather, it is in experiencing God that your purpose will be made known. Experience God, and you will experience your purpose.
One of the greatest benefits that arises out of a close relationship with our heavenly Father is in his ability to guide, direct and prepare us for the purpose he has for our lives. When you truly embrace the principle found in the book of Psalms ‘Be still, and know that I am God’, you will experience the abundant joy that Christ has promised you. Because you will no longer be spending your energy trying to see if this plan will work, or if this relationship will work, or if this job will work, or if this path will work because when you know that God is God—and you seek to get close to him.
He will show you your path, your job, your mate, your relationships, meaning and purpose. In his classic book The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a poem that included the line ‘Not all who wander are lost’. The same applies to you. Even though you feel like you’re wandering without any true purpose, that doesn’t mean you’re lost. You can regain your sense of purpose and discover what God has for your life.
God set eternity in the human heart.
If you want to experience God’s purpose for your life, experience God. Don’t go looking for his will, look for him. It is in the close, abiding intimacy with the Father that you will not only discover, but you will also live out the destiny he has purposed for you. Some 3,000 years ago, Israel’s wise King Solomon wrote that God “has put eternity in [men’s] hearts” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). God gave us the longing to ask the questions, but not the ability to know the answers unless we come to sincerely seek and rely on him.
I think Rick Warren’s profound one sentence has a power to change our lives. He once said, What is worse than death? It is life without a purpose and, specifically, living without the purpose of God. Trying to discover your life purpose can be a stressful, overwhelming thing. It can seem like such a big, confusing, frustrating subject. You want to move forward, but you’re not sure how. You want to find your purpose, but you feel like you’re aimlessly wandering.
But you can trust God to lead you where he wants you to go. As Psalm 23:2-3 says, “He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” You may feel confused, but God doesn’t. He knows what’s best for you and your life.