Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Brian Houston's new book, For This I Was Born: Aligning Your Vision to God’s Cause, (Thomas Nelson, 2008). 

Living your life just for yourself will ultimately leave you unfulfilled. But if you choose to live for something bigger than yourself – a cause – you'll find meaning and satisfaction. 

The greatest cause of all is the cause of Christ. That's the cause God created you for, and when you devote your life to it, everything you do takes on eternal significance.

Here's how you can live for the greatest cause of all:

Discover your purpose. Your appearance on this planet at this time in history isn’t just by chance. God planned for you to be here, and He hopes you’ll fulfill a specific purpose during your lifetime. Reject any notion that your life is merely a random happening, and set out to understand more about God’s kingdom and the unique part you’re meant to play in it. Ask God to help you see yourself as He sees you. Instead of looking at your life in terms of what you think you lack, consider the amazing reality that you’ve been born for the greatest cause of all, and trust God to empower you to do whatever He is calling you to do.

Plant yourself in a church that will nourish you. Find a healthy church in your area and get fully involved in it. Don’t just attend casually; develop close friendships with the people there, participate in the activities, and serve wholeheartedly. As you do, God will release more and more of your potential as a person. You’ll grow in vital ways that will help you fulfill your purpose. The church is the vehicle through which God’s kingdom will take hold in your life and move you forward into what God wants you to do.

Connect your vision to God’s cause. Make sure the vision that guides your life supports the cause of Christ. Surrender your own agenda to God and pursue His plans for your life. Base all your decisions on what’s most important to Christ rather than just on what seems like a good idea to you. As exciting as your own vision might be, it will lack power unless you connect it to God’s cause. Once your own vision aligns with the cause, however, you’ll be able to accomplish much more than you could ever imagine.

Unite with others around the cause. Work with other people who are single-minded in their vision to serve Christ and His church. Confront and overcome division, wrong motives, disloyalty, and disunity. Do all you can to promote unity so God’s purposes can stand and His kingdom can advance on earth.

Approach life from an eternal perspective. Keep in mind that your life can impact the future in powerful ways. If you’re living faithfully, everything about you can provoke people to think about eternity. And if you’re serving as God leads you, all of your efforts have eternal significance. Consider what kind of legacy you want to leave on earth. Every day, invest your time and energy into what matters most and don’t let lesser pursuits distract you from what’s most important.

Live as someone who has been called, not just saved. God has saved you not just to spend an eternity with Him in heaven, but also to make a positive difference on earth. Every situation and every person you encounter presents a fresh opportunity to live out your God-given calling. Let your gratitude for the salvation God has given you motivate you to reach out to others who need salvation. Be as active as you can in serving as God calls you to serve.

Use what God has given you. Discover, develop, and fully use your natural talents and spiritual gifts. God has given them to you to help you fulfill specific purposes in His kingdom. No matter what you’re especially good at doing – comforting hurting people, working with numbers, creating art, etc. – decide to do it for God’s glory as often as you can. Don’t underestimate the power of your abilities. Seize each opportunity God presents to use them and look forward to what God will do as a result. If you’re not serving much already, start out being faithful in small acts of service, and expect God to eventually open doors to larger opportunities to serve.