7. The Reason for Everything
It’s all for God. Not only were you created by God; you were created for him, too. The ultimate goal of the universe is to show the glory of God. It is the reason for everything that exists, including you. God made it all for his glory. Without God’s glory, there would be nothing. What is the glory of God? It is who God is. It is his nature, his character, and his power. Where is the glory of God? Just look around. Everything created by God reflects his glory in some way. We see it everywhere, from the most microscopic form of life to the vast Milky Way, from sunsets and stars to storms and seasons. Creation reveals our Creator’s glory. You can learn a lot about God’s character just by looking around. Through nature we learn that God is powerful, that he enjoys variety, loves beauty, is organized, and is wise and creative. The Bible says, “The heavens declare the glory of God.” 73
How can you know what God is really like? Throughout history, God has revealed his glory to people in different settings. But God’s clearest picture of what he is really like is seen in his Son, Jesus Christ. The Bible says, “In the past God spoke through the prophets many times and in many different ways. But now . . . has spoken to us through his Son. . . . The Son reflects the glory of God and shows exactly what God is like.”74 Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.”75 Because of Jesus, we are no longer in the dark about what God is really like. The Bible says, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory.” 76 There are many insights about God that we would never know unless Jesus had come to earth. Jesus came so we could fully understand God’s glory. The Bible says, “The Word became human and lived among us and we saw his glory . . . a glory full of grace and truth.” 77 As humans created by God we are commanded to recognize God’s glory, honor his glory, praise his glory, reflect his glory, and live for his glory.78 Why? Because God deserves it! We owe him every honor we can possibly give. Since God made all things, he deserves all the glory. The Bible says, “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created everything.” 79
In the entire universe, only two of God’s creations fail to bring glory to him: fallen angels (demons) and us (people). Not giving God his due glory is called “sin.” All sin, at its root, is failing to give God the glory he deserves. It is loving anything else more than God. Refusing to bring glory to God is prideful rebellion, and it is the sin that caused Satan’s fall—and ours, too. In different ways we have all lived for our own glory, not God’s. The Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” 80 None of us have given God the full glory he deserves from our lives. This is the worst sin and the biggest mistake we can commit. On the other hand, living for God’s glory is the greatest achievement we can accomplish with our lives. God says, “They are my own people, and I created them to bring me glory,” 81 so bringing glory to God ought to be the number one goal of your life. Jesus told God in heaven, “I brought glory to you here on earth by doing everything you told me to do.” 82 He honored God by fulfilling his purpose on earth. We honor God the same way.
When anything in creation fulfills its purpose, it brings glory to God. Birds bring glory to God by flying, chirping, nesting, and doing other birdlike activities that God intended. Even the lowly ant brings glory to God when it fulfills its purpose. God made ants to be ants, and he made you to be you. St. Irenaeus said, “The glory of God is a human being fully alive!” The book The Purpose-Driven Life explains in detail how to fulfill God’s five purposes for your life. I hope you will obtain a copy and read it. But here is a summarized overview of those five purposes:
1. You bring God glory by getting to know and love him. This first purpose of your life is called worship. It is your number one responsibility on earth. “Some people have missed the most important thing in life—they don’t know God.” 83 You may know a lot about a lot of things, but if you don’t know God personally, you’re missing the first reason you were created. Worship is far more than going to a church service. Worship is a lifestyle of enjoying God, loving him, and giving ourselves to be used for his purposes. We worship God by enjoying him! C. S. Lewis said, “In commanding us to glorify him, God is inviting us to enjoy him.” God wants our worship to be motivated by love, thanksgiving, and delight, not duty. When you use your life for God’s glory, everything you do can become an act of worship. The Bible says, “Use your whole body as a tool to do what is right for the glory of God.” 84 Until you begin fulfilling this first purpose, you won’t be able to fulfill the other four.
2. You bring God glory by learning to love other people in God’s family. This second purpose is called fellowship, and it is preparation for eternity where those who have accepted God’s Son, Jesus, will fellowship together forever. When you commit your life to Jesus Christ, you become a part of God’s family. The life God intends for you to enjoy is more than just believing; it also includes belonging. Why? Because learning to love is one of the great lessons God wants you to learn on earth before taking you into eternity. St. John wrote, “Our love for each other proves that we have gone from death to life,” 85 and St. Paul said, “Accept each other just as Christ has accepted you; then God will be glorified.” 86 Your second great responsibility is to learn to love as God does, because God is love and he wants you to be like him. That’s why getting connected to a local church as your spiritual family is essential. You cannot fulfill God’s second purpose for your life on your own. He made us to need each other. Jesus said it is the proof that we really know him: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” 87
3. You bring God glory by becoming like Christ. Once we are spiritually born into God’s family through a commitment to Christ, God wants us to grow to spiritual maturity. What does that look like? Spiritual maturity is becoming like Jesus in the way we think, feel, and act. The more you develop Christlike character, the more you’ll bring glory to God. The Bible says, “As the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more.” 88 God gives you a new life and a new nature when you accept Jesus Christ to be the manager (or “Lord”) of your life. Then, for the rest of your life on earth, he wants to continue the process of changing your character. The Bible says, “Be filled with the fruit of your salvation— those good things that are produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.” 89 God uses a variety of tools— like other people, the Bible, circumstances, and time—to develop you spiritually and prepare you for eternity.
4. You bring God glory by serving others. Again, this is practice for eternity. In heaven we are going to enjoy serving God, so one of the five reasons he put you on earth was to give you time to get good at it! Of course, the only way to serve God (whom you can’t see) is by serving others (who you can see!). That’s why God has given you certain talents. You were custom-designed by God with talents, gifts, skills, and abilities in order to serve God by serving others. The Bible calls this fourth purpose of serving others your “ministry.” Contrary to popular opinion, God wired everyone to have a ministry, or serving niche. The way you’re “wired’ is not an accident. God didn’t give you your abilities for selfish purposes. They were given to benefit other people just as others were given abilities for your benefit. The Bible says, “God has given gifts to each of you from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God’s generosity can flow through you. . . . Are you called to help others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then God will be given glory.” 90
5. You bring God glory by telling others about him. God doesn’t want his love and purposes kept a secret. Once we know the truth, he expects us to share it with others. This is a great privilege—introducing others to Jesus, helping them discover their purpose, and preparing them for their eternal destiny. The Bible says, “As God’s grace brings more and more people to Christ . . . , God will receive more and more glory.” 91 Living the rest of your life for the glory of God will require a change in your priorities, your schedule, your relationships, and everything else. It will sometimes mean choosing a difficult path instead of the easy one. Even Jesus struggled with this. Knowing he was about to be crucified, he cried out, “My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Thy name.” 92 Jesus stood at a fork in the road. Would he fulfill his purpose and bring glory to God, or would he shrink back and live a comfortable, self-centered life? You face the same choice. Will you live for your own goals, comfort, and pleasure, or will you live the rest of your life for God’s glory, knowing that he has promised eternal rewards? The Bible says, “Anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go . . . you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.” 93
It’s time to settle this issue. Who are you going to live for—yourself or God? You may hesitate, wondering whether you will have the strength to live for God. Don’t worry! God will give you what you need if you will just make the choice to live for him. The Bible says, “Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God.” 94 Also, don’t feel that you must have all of your questions answered before you commit. You will always have questions for the rest of your life. I have been a follower of Christ for over forty years, and I still have questions and doubts about some things I read in the Bible. But those questions have not prevented me from enjoying a relationship with Jesus Christ. I don’t have to understand how internal combustion works in order to benefit from a car. I don’t have to understand the chemistry of digestion in order to enjoy a steak. Likewise, I wish someone had told me that I could accept Christ into my life even with all my doubts and questions. You can accept him, too.
Right now God is inviting you to live for his glory by fulfilling the purposes he made you for. It’s really the only way to live. Everything else is just existing. Real life begins by committing yourself completely to Jesus Christ. If you are not sure you have done this, all you need to do is receive and believe. The Bible promises, “To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” 95 Will you accept God’s offer?
First, believe. Believe God loves you and made you for his purposes. Believe you’re not an accident. Believe you were made to last forever. Believe God has chosen you to have a relationship with Jesus, who died on the cross for you. Believe that no matter what you’ve done, God wants to forgive you. Ask him to forgive you and help you change—and he will!
Second, receive. Receive Jesus Christ into your life by allowing him to become your Lord (manager, boss, the one in control) and Savior (who died to pay the penalty for everything you’ve ever done wrong). Receive his forgiveness for your sins. Receive his purpose and peace. Receive his power to help you fulfill your life purpose. The Bible says, “Whoever accepts and trusts the Son gets in on everything, life complete and forever!” 96 Right now, regardless of where you are reading this, I invite you to bow your head and quietly whisper the prayer that will change your eternity: “Jesus, I believe in you and I receive you. Thank you for dying on the cross to pay for all my sins. As much as I know how, I ask you to come into my life and help me learn to know you, trust you, and love you.” Go ahead. If you sincerely meant that prayer, congratulations! Welcome to the family of God! You are now ready to discover and start living God’s purpose for your life. I urge you to tell someone about it. You’re going to need support.
If you will visit the website you can tell me of your decision through the CONTACT US form, and I’ll send you some free material to get you started on your new spiritual journey.
Point to Ponder:
Who are you going to live for—yourself or God?
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
Did you pray the prayer above?
If you haven’t yet opened your life to Christ, what are you waiting on?
Who could you tell about your decision to follow Christ and begin living a purpose-driven life? Write down some names and tell someone today.