The purpose of glorifying God gives structure and meaning to every part of life because God has a design for every part of life. This is good news for our generation. The people of this generation are killing themselves because, for them, life is pain without purpose. But there is real, lasting purpose in life. True, objective purpose flows from and relates back to God. Secular thinking has cut people off from the deep meaning of everyday life. We all need to be reconnected.
When I was a kid I remember popular culture frequently speaking of “the meaning of life” as a deep mystery. I noticed the pattern. It was brought up in joking and comedic ways, never expecting a response. Eventually I realized that asking the question was the joke, but they were mostly serious about not knowing the answer.
Today, I don’t know if anyone even jokes about asking the question anymore. Has America moved beyond not knowing the answer to not thinking there is one?
God created the universe and there is nothing for which he does not have a purpose. There is nothing extra supplied from somewhere outside of his will. There is nothing we have made or invented that was not first in his foreknowledge. There is absolutely nothing outside of these two things: first, God himself, second, what he has made. God as creator is all-encompassing. Whether we are godly or ungodly, it is true that in him we live, move and have our very being.
As a person shifts to a God-centered life, they will do three things: they will learn God’s design for life, they will change their life to line up with God’s design, and they will cultivate an appreciation for God’s design. To reiterate, these three things are 1. learning, 2. repentance and 3. appreciation.
Learning is straight forward. We read the bible and think about the meaning of the words. We ask questions and ponder the answers. We seek out teachers and mentors. Operating on the assumption that we need to know God’s will, and that we do not yet know it as we should, we take the common sense steps to learn.
Repentance means that as we learn God’s will and discover the difference between how we live and how he wants us to live, we sincerely abandon our previous ideas, habits and decisions. We forsake our own ways and turn to God’s ways. This requires faith. This requires confidently resting in God’s wisdom and benevolence. It also requires acknowledging that our previous ways, which seemed right, were substandard and unacceptable. It requires us to look at ourselves in the mirror and say, “You were wrong yesterday. Give that up and obey God.”
There is nothing more cherished in heaven than when a wayward man or woman repents. Repentance is the great acknowledgment of the righteousness and God-ness of God. We can show him no greater honor than to abandon our own solutions and surrender to the superior morality and foresight of God himself.
Appreciating God’s design means that we would enjoy it. Rather than grudgingly obeying, we actually come to see the beauty in the design. The learning is not to a dull, surface-level memorization of the bare facts, but a growing understanding of the goodness and beauty in his plan. For each of us, appreciation of God’s design for certain things comes with difficulty. Sometimes we don’t see his plan as beautiful, initially. In these situations we draw close to God by learning more attentively, pondering more thoughtfully. We seek the beauty in his design because of our love for him. We trust that it is there, and that it is our perceptions which are mistaken when they contradict God.
God’s ways are beautiful, life-giving and wise. As we become familiar with his ways and develop an appreciation for his design, we can reconnect with the deep meaning in each facet of life.
And that’s no joke.