Why in the World Are You Here?
- Dr. Tony Evans
- 2005 25 Mar
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 sick man to touch his own shoulder. The man touched his shoulder and cried out in pain. The doctor told him to touch his thigh. The man touched his thigh and cried out in pain again. The doctor told him to touch his forehead. He touched his forehead and cried out in pain again. He finally said, "Doc, everywhere I touch, I hurt." The doctor finally examined him and said, "You dummy-you've got a dislocated finger!"
Existing Without Purpose
This joke serves to illustrate a common occurrence in many of our lives. Even though it may feel like everything in our lives is wrong, in fact it's often just one thing. That one thing is that we are living purposeless lives. We're simply existing and going through the motions. When we live without purpose, we are like the man with the dislocated finger. Everything is out of place and painful because of our misguided purpose. If we are seeking anything other than God's purpose first in our lives, we are out of line with His will, and nothing on earth will fill the void that is created by our disobedience. The emptiness of a purposeless life even occurs among Christians who say they know Christ and go through the motions of reading, studying, going to church, yet they still don't know what God says about their purpose for living.
The symptoms of purposeless living are obvious in our culture: the high divorce rate, the high suicide rate, the number of addictions, the struggle to climb the corporate ladder. None of these is the mark of a successful life. A successful life is not measured by what you have done compared to what someone else has done. A successful life is measured by what you have done compared to what you are supposed to do.
Years ago I bought my son a bicycle for Christmas, and I thought I could put that bike together by myself. I didn't need the instruction book; I was finishing my doctoral degree-surely I could put together a bicycle. Eight hours later I had only put the handlebars together when my wife suggested, "Why don't you read the manual?" The bicycle maker knew more about putting the bike together than I did, and I needed to read his instructions to make it work. Could it be that the Life Maker knows more about living a purposeful life than we do? We should listen to what He has to say on the subject.
Created for God's Purpose
God tells us in His Word that the foundation of our existence is this: We were created for God's purpose. We were not created for God to help us with our purpose. The world tells us that we decide what we are living for; we are responsible for building our own American dream and forming our own lives. You've probably seen the bumper sticker "God is my co-pilot," which means, "I'm the pilot, but I want God in the cockpit with me just in case." But when we examine Scripture, we see a different message: God is in control, and He created us to fulfill His purpose.
First Corinthians 8:6 says: "For us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him." We exist for God's purpose. The Bible doesn't begin with man; it begins with God: "In the beginning God . . ." (Genesis 1:1). Colossians 1:16-17 says: "By Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things have been created through Him and for Him." We were created by Him and we were created for Him.
Ephesians 1:10-11 says: "With a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will." God saved you so that through you He could fulfill His purpose. God does want to bless you, but He wants to do it in line with His purpose, not your own.
Romans 11:33-36 says: "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever." Our lives were created and we were redeemed for the purpose of having a group of people on earth who would live for His purpose. Acts 13:36 calls our attention to the example of David as one who lived a purposeful life for the Lord: "David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep." When David, a man after God's own heart, had served the purpose of God-not after he made a bunch of money or had all kinds of power, but after he had served God's purpose-he died. That is a good way to die, knowing that there is nothing left undone and you did what you were supposed to in the eyes of God.
If your life does not exist for His purpose, God is probably just a vending machine to you. You decide what you want, put in your coins, and push buttons so that God will bless you the way you desire. God does want to bless us, but not in such a way that we are using Him for our own purpose. God is the Creator, and we need to start talking to Him like a Creator. Back in the first century AD, it was a common belief that the sun and planets revolved around the earth. But science showed us that the earth was not the center of all things; everything, including earth, actually revolves around the sun. Many of us are applying this astronomy in our lives. We think God revolves around us: "He's here to serve me, to fix me, to make me happy." But we've got it backwards.
We were made for God. No product or creation defines itself. I don't walk up to my refrigerator and ask it what it does. The one who made the refrigerator defined its capacity to keep my food cold and fresh. The inventor made the definition.
Using All Things for His Purpose
First Corinthians 10:31 says: "Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." If you make your only reason for existence to fulfill the purpose of God, does it mean that you don't matter? No, it means for the first time in your life you are really going to matter because God makes you matter. Romans 8:28 holds the key: "God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." How many things does God work together for good? All things. That is a promise from Scripture.
You may wonder why you can't see any good coming from the bad circumstances in your life. Maybe because you don't love God like that verse requires. If you truly love Him, you will trust Him, even in the good, the bad, and the ugly. God will take all things and put them in His cosmic blender, making something good from that which doesn't look so good. Butter by itself, sugar by itself, flour by itself, and nutmeg by itself aren't good to eat. But when you mix those ingredients together, you get a wonderful product-a delicious cake. God says when you are committed to His purpose He will mix together all the elements to produce ultimate good. It's not about your will, but it's about His will for you. If you wake up every day and say, "God, it's about You today," He will transform your mind-set and work in your life.
Many of us have warranties on products in our homes. Warranties guarantee the product. If there is a defect, a fault, or a failure, the manufacturer will stand behind the product. But all warranties have limitations. They will guarantee against flaws in the manufacturing, but they won't cover abuse of the product. You can't take your toaster and throw it up against the wall, jump on it, stand on it, and run over it with your car, and then return it under warranty. Warranties assume you are using the product correctly and for the intended purpose.
Does your life seem out of warranty? God has guaranteed that if we love Him and follow His purpose, He will use all the parts of our lives for His good. But you can't expect good to come if you are not living for His purpose. Maybe you're praying but it doesn't seem like God is showing up. If you're not living for his purpose, you can be certain that purposeless living will tire you out and make you weary. You may have more money than you've ever had before, but you're emptier than you've ever been. You may be on your fourth marriage, and this one isn't working out either. You may be popping pills to camouflage your pain. Well, these aren't God's ways. Are you seeking to live and move and exist in Him (Acts 17:28)? If not, you are seeking empty pleasure and vain purpose.
Living for His Purpose
Many of us are familiar with the tale of Victor Frankenstein. He was a Swiss scientist who went through terrible tragedy. He wanted to take something lifeless and bring it to life, so he created this huge, lifeless entity that he named after himself, Frankenstein. The lifeless creature came to life through electric currents, and it became a beast. The tragedy of Frankenstein is that after he was created, after his lifelessness was given life, after he went from nothing to something, he turned on his creator and made him a victim. Victor Frankenstein suffered because of his own creation.
God found us when we were dead in our trespasses and sins. He created us, found us, shared the Gospel with us, saved us, and gave us new, eternal life. But many of us have become Frankenstein Christians. We've turned on our Creator and rather than living for Him, we want to live on our own and turn against Him. There is only one reason you and I are here: for His purpose. Until that becomes a life decision and a daily orientation, we will simply exist and never get around to real living. If you are ready to live for His purpose, you need only tell Him. Make His purpose your own, and you will find the richest, deepest meaning in life. His purpose will drive you to live life in the fullness of His great love each and every day.