Ephesians 1:3-11. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places… 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
What happens when we take God out of the equation? What if this life is just random? What if there is no higher power? No plan? No purpose? Then of course life begins to lose all meaning. From a philosophical point of view something can only have true meaning if it is eternal and good. It must last forever and it must be pure and perfect. It might be good, but if it comes to an end it loses ultimate meaning. It might be eternal, but if it loses its goodness it loses ultimate meaning.
By God’s grace that is not us. We have purpose. We have meaning. In Christ we are both eternal and good. We will live forever and we will live forever without evil or entropy. That is ultimate meaning. That is ultimate purpose. Ultimate glory.
No Christian ever has to say “my life is meaningless.” God has predestined our purpose. He has told us where we are headed. Our destiny. It is not hidden from us. His purpose is not veiled. The counsel of his will has been revealed.
But what is our purpose? I’m gad you asked. Here it is:
that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
Or in Romans Paul says it this way:
Romans 8:29-30. 29 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. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
For many of us “finding our purpose” is paralyzing. We live in a culture where we are told to create our own destiny, follow our hearts, make our dreams come true. But this thinking leaves us constantly wondering if we are ever living in our true purpose. And it’s no better for Christians who add the neurosis of “being in the perfect will of God.” Am I in it? What about now? What about now? What about now?
What if his beginning advice and his ending advice are both wrong? What if it’s grace?
The prosperity gospel has dug the grave even deeper. While preaching that God has a wonderful plan for your life and that he doesn’t want you to suffer, this “gospel” has told us that our purpose is to “live our best lives now.” But what if my life is kinda crappy? Or dare I say, normal? Or what if I’m failing at most of life, or at least just breaking even? Am I out of God’s purpose?
But here’s where finding our purpose in Christ is so liberating. Our purpose is to be to the praise of his glory. And what is his glory? It’s his grace. Do you remember how Paul said it just a few phrases earlier?
Ephesians 1:5-6. 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace.
If our purpose is to display the grace of God. If our purpose is for people to praise God’s glorious grace. If our purpose is to be conformed to Christ. Then EVERYTHING serves that purpose. Your successes and your failures. Your dream job and your “nowhere” job. Your happy life and your crappy life. Your joy and your sorrow. God’s grace is at work in all of it.
Now purpose is no longer a goal to attain to. It’s all of life. All of life has purpose because God uses all of your life for his purpose – displaying his grace.
This is liberating because now everything else can simply be what it is. Your job can just be your job. Your marriage can just be your marriage. Your friends can just be your friends. Your sexuality can just be your sexuality. Your money can just be your money. You can fire all of these things from being the source of “purpose,” your god. You can let them be gifts from God as they were intended.
“To live is Christ” means you are free from the bondage of seeking purpose. You are free to let God’s grace in Christ be your meaning. Now you have something that will never end and always be good. God himself.