The Surprising Truth About Finding Your Life Purpose

There are all kinds of books and blogs and videos about finding your purpose in life.

From Tony Robbins to Oprah to Dr. Wayne Dyer to TD Jakes and even to TED Talks, numerous experts teach how we can find our purpose in life. Life coaches and success instructors tell us we can find our life purpose by asking ourselves questions like: What do you love to do? What drives you or energizes you? How do you want to help people? And so forth. If you search blogs on the topic of your life’s purpose, you will find quotes like:

The two greatest days of your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out what your purpose is, but if you don’t know what your purpose is than you don’t know why you are here, and it can be hard to keep going. –Shannon Kaiser

Or this quote by Jack Canfield:

If you want to be fulfilled, happy, content, and experience inner peace and ultimate fulfillment, it’s critical that you learn how to find your passion and life purpose. Without a life purpose as the compass to guide you, your goals and action plans may not ultimately fulfill you. –Jack Canfield

I think it would be great to have a clear purpose in life, and to run hard after that purpose. But what if you don’t know what your life purpose is? What if you’re like me, a lousy goal setter, easily distracted, easily thrown off course, and very often full of self-doubt? Maybe you have just graduated from college, and aren’t sure which direction to head. Maybe you’ve just been fired from a job or retired and don’t know what you should do now. Maybe you’re like me and have a number of interests and don’t know exactly which to focus on.

Here is what the Bible says about finding your purpose in life:

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. PS 138.8

You know what I love about this verse? It doesn’t talk about me finding MY purpose for my life. It talks about the Lord fulfilling HIS purpose for my life. This is great news. The Lord has a purpose for every single person who has believed in Jesus and called upon him to save them. God isn’t wondering what to do with me; he knows exactly what he is going to do. He has plans for the life of every one of his children.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. JE 29.11

Whether we have plans for ourselves or not, God has a plan for each of us. We don’t always know them; in fact we have no idea of all the plans God has for us. But he knows them. He’s not scratching his head. He has every single second of our lives planned out; he knows every single thing he will take us through. And all of God’s plans are for our well-being and good. God says he has a future and a hope for us.

We don’t need to know God’s purpose for us in order for him to fulfill it.

He promises to fulfill his purpose for each of his children. First of all, God has a grand purpose for every believer. And that grand and glorious purpose is to transform each one of us into the likeness of his Son.

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. RO 8.29

God has predestined every believer to be conformed to the image of his Son. It will happen. God will do it. He will conform us to Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. He conforms us through his Word as we meditate on it, hear it, obey it. He conforms us to Jesus through affliction and suffering. He uses brothers and sisters to disciple and encourage us to become more and more like Jesus. He transforms us through prayer. He uses every event of our lives to make us more and more like Christ. And he will not fail. To be like Jesus is our destiny as Christians. This is God’s grand purpose for each of us.

But what about God’s lesser purposes for our lives? Do we need to figure those out? Nope! God will fulfill his every purpose for us, as he has promised in Psalm 138.8. He says in Ephesians:

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (2:10).

In eternity past God created good works for every believer to walk in. They exist already. We don’t need to know what they are. If we follow Jesus he promises to lead us and guide us into those works.
When Jesus first saved me, I was out of work and had no idea what I wanted to do in life. I got a job as an art teacher – that was his purpose for me at that time. I had no idea that a few years later he would call me to be a pastor. In fact, if you had told me I would be a pastor, I would have laughed at you and called you crazy. I certainly wouldn’t have chosen that path on my own. But here I am, now after 37 years of being a pastor, amazed at God’s faithfulness to fulfill his purposes in my life. And now that I’m retired, God has me serving him in some ways I never could have imagined. And though I’m not sure what lies ahead, I am confident that the Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.

How about you? Do you find yourself wondering what to do next?

Are you unsure of which direction to go with your life? Here’s my suggestion. Memorize Psalm 138:8. Meditate on it. Pray it. Ask your Heavenly Father to fulfill his purpose for you. Thank him that he will do it. Then just serve wherever he opens up opportunities. And don’t worry that you might miss God’s will. If you ask him to lead and guide you and help you to glorify him, he will certainly do it, for his glory.

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.

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