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Bible Q

How do you know what your purpose in life is?

There are a number of passages in the Bible that tell us what our purpose in life is. For example, Micah 6:6-7 asks a similar question to “What is my purpose in life?” and then answers it in v8:

{6} With what shall I come before the Lord,
and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
{7} Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
{8} He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?

Some other passages that describe what our purpose in life is are:

Ecclesiastes 12:13:

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

1 Thess. 4:3:

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality

1 Thess. 5:16-18:

{16} Rejoice always, {17} pray without ceasing, {18} give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Peter 2:11-15:

{11} Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. {12} Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. {13} Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, {14} or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. {15} For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.

1 Peter 2:20-21:

{20} For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. {21} For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

1 Peter 3:9:

Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

So, our purpose in life involves:

  • fearing God
  • keeping God’s commandments
  • being just
  • loving kindness
  • being humble
  • abstaining from sexual immorality
  • rejoicing
  • praying
  • giving thanks
  • abstaining from the passions of the flesh
  • keeping our conduct honourable
  • being subject to every human institution
  • doing good
  • doing good and suffering for it
  • not repaying evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, blessing

None of these are big things (like physically leaving our home country, which is what Abraham was called to do: Gen. 12:1), but they are what God has called us to do; our purpose is to serve God in the small, day-to-day things of life. Although these things may not be obvious or dramatic, they are the challenge of a whole lifetime.

A related passage is 1 Thess. 4:11, which says:

…aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you

Sometimes we may want our purpose in life to be something obviously different and useful. However, the purpose God has given us is to live a normal life in an extra-ordinary, God-focused way.

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