Friday, July 19, 2013

The Meaning of Life

We've been watching The Truth Project on Wednesday evenings at CCO as part of our Summer Growth Workshops, and it has been wonderful. As a fairly routine part of each week's study, video clips are shown of "man on the street" interviews asking questions that are pertinent to the topic at hand. This past week the question being posed was "What is the meaning of life?" As you can imagine, the answers were wide and varied—ranging from "there is no meaning to life" to personal and wordy responses that touched on every New Age philosophy known to man.  In the end it was rather dizzying.

But it got me thinking. In fact, the very next day while out for my morning walk, I was spending time praying about that very question and just kind of talking out loud while the Lord listened. But I posed that question to both the Lord and to myself: "What is the meaning of my life?"

We talked it over for awhile and finally came up with the following. The meaning of my life is:

  • To know God
  • To love God
  • To serve God, and
  • To bring glory to God
The meaning of life is to know God. This isn't just intellectual knowledge, although that's certainly part of it. But knowing God is also about experiencing God in day to day life. The Apostle Paul wrote: "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection..." (Philippians 3:10-11 NIV84). This is part of the meaning of life.

The meaning of life is to love God. The Bible tells me to love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my soul and all my strength. (Deut. 6:5) To love God means to choose Him above all else, and to place my relationship to Him at the highest level. 

The meaning of life is to serve God. The world around us us is constantly encouraging us to serve ourselves. This they do by making the highest form of service to make oneself happy. But that is a perversion of my purpose for living. I am not here to seek my own happiness, but to serve the One who gave His life for me.

The meaning of life is to bring glory to God. Rather than living to call attention to myself and my own accomplishments, my purpose is to glorify God in everything I do and say.

After defining the points above, I began to discuss with the Lord how I ranked on each point. (This is where our conversation took on a more somber tone.) I openly confessed that, although I recognized each point as representing a very real goal, I was no where near fulfilling those goals in any quantifiable way. But I prayed for strength and courage to continue reaching for them.

While these declarations of the meaning of life are important and even precious to me, I understand they run counter to popular culture and today's search for personal fulfillment and happiness. I guess I've lived long enough to realize that the world is a bankrupt system that is simply trying to make life worth living apart from God. This they do by focusing on self and seeking to find one's life. But remembering what Jesus said about that brings us all instant perspective: "...whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it." (Matthew 16:25 NIV84)

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