Why are you here? What is the point of life?
This is a profound question, maybe the most important question you will ever ask. In a group of about 15 guys playing basketball at the church court one night not long ago I asked this question. Half had not thought about it, others had no idea, and one said “to raise my son well.” I was surprised that, almost to a man, no one knew why they were here on this earth, what the point of their life was.
Talking to SUNY students, they struggled with the same question. Why were they spending years studying, thousands of dollars? To get a degree. Then? Get a good job. And then? Maybe get married and have a family, buy a house. Then what? Save money, experience the world, then retire well. Then what? Silence. Not one had an answer. In the end, what is the point? Sooner or later, your life will end. Will anyone know you even existed 20 years later? Even if they do, it certainly won’t matter to you, since you are gone. Solomon explored this reality 3,000 years ago.
Solomon was the wisest man alive, about 1,000 years before Christ was born. He wrote the book of Ecclesiastes. In it, Solomon describes himself throwing himself into wisdom, knowledge, reading and writing books, hobbies, women, drinking, pleasures of life and food, building projects, working hard and accomplishing things, and experiencing all that the world has to offer. He was better able than any man to do so, because he was the wisest man in the world, an ability God gave him, and he was the wealthiest king at the time, he had success in battle, and in every endeavor, and he had resources beyond compare. Yet he was miserable chasing all these things. In fact, in these things he found no meaning or purpose, saying over and over “all is meaningless.”
The Bible says you were created. Every creation, designed by a maker, has a purpose. If you want to know the purpose, you have to listen to the creator. An I-phone is designed on purpose to facilitate personal communication with others, searching worldwide for information, taking pictures, making recordings and the like. It’s designed with that in mind. In fact, the innovations in computer interface were developed to make using the system for these things easier and more intuitive, allowing more people to use it.
What if I took the I-phone, however, and used it for a purpose other than what it was designed? What if I used it to drive nails into the studs in my house? What would happen? It would do a poor job, and this activity would ruin the phone. What if I used a hammer to try to take pictures with? That would be futile. I want to know what my design is, why am I here, how I can fulfill my purpose, don’t you?
The Bible says God created the world and all life, and lastly human beings. Why? God says many times that He does not want us to be ignorant. He wants you to fulfill your purpose. He describes the joy you will find as you do this (unlike Solomon’s looking in all the wrong places, finding misery and emptiness at the end).
1 Philippians 3:10-11 says [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [[a]which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope]
11 That if possible I may attain to the resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body]. (Amplified Bible, Classic Edition).
In the beginning, God walked with man in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15) and intended for us to be in dominion and care for the garden (all that He created around us), but not independent of Him. He made us to share with Him, and to be in relationship with Him. We were also made to be in relationship with each other (Genesis 2:18, 24-25). Ultimately the Bible is the story of our turning from Him, and His working through history to reconcile us to Himself. God wants a relationship with you. That is why He made you. There is nothing in life which will give you the meaning you seek ultimately, but this.
Our purpose not just to know about God, but to know Him intimately, and to love Him and receive His love for us (which requires trust, dropping all psychological defenses to Him).
The Bible compares this relationship to marriage. But it is even deeper than a relationship with any human being (1 Corinthians 2:10-11). God literally says He wants to abide in YOU (John 15:4), live inside you. This is what the Bible is talking about being “born again” from the Spirit of God from above, not an earthly, material birth (John 3:6). In fact, God says He actually determined the time place and family you were born into, and all the specific circumstances of your life, for one reason – that you may have the best chance possible to come to know Him (Acts 17:26-27).
He invites, He “proposes”, but we have the choice to respond. The invitation is on His terms though. We don’t get to have an “open marriage” with God. No, this is a serious choice. Jesus says count the cost (Luke 14;25-33) before you decide. Forsake all other “paths”. All other relationships, pursuits, interests, have to fall away in priority to Him. He will not have any competition for your heart. It costs you everything, your whole heart, your whole life, your whole self, forsaking all other philosophies, your own opinions. God will not share His place in our hearts with anything or anyone else.
And when we come to know Him, when we are “born again”, we begin to grow, we become more like Him. He transforms us to become more and more like Him, as we daily surrender to Him. If someone says they ‘know God’ but aren’t becoming more like Jesus, God doesn’t live in them, no matter what they claim (1 John 2:4 for example).
What about you? Do you know Him? Would you like to? If you think you know Him, are you hearing from Him in your spirit, talking to Him, listening to what He says, submitting your will to His? Are you becoming more like Him? If not, you are only fooling yourself. Walk out of a lie and into the truth today. To know what God is like, look at Jesus, who is the perfect representation of The Father, the revelation to men of what God is like (Hebrews 1:3). The fruit of the Holy Spirit inside a man is – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22)