Let’s lighten it up a bit. My last blog entry caused a bit of a stir, so let’s soften the mood with an easier and lighter topic. How about THE MEANING OF LIFE (pause for dramatic music). What is the meaning of life? What is your purpose, what is your task? Where might we go to find the answer to this age old question? I know, how about the Dalai Lama:
Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.
Do I detect a hint of comedy in the Dalai Lama’s quote? “If you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them”…. not bad! In any case, according to the Dalai Lama the purpose of life is to help others. Not satisfied? Then let’s go to another obvious source, Whoopie Golberg:
We’re here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark.
Interesting, and similar to the Dalai Lama – helping others. Well if you’re not happy with the Dalai Lama or Whoopie Golberg, then certainly you will appreciate the authority of my next source….. Arnold Schwarzenegger:
The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer.
All of you type A, alpha males are drawn to Arnold’s take, I wager?
What did you say? “Go to the Bible you numb scull!” First, that’s a bit harsh. Second, wouldn’t it be nice if the Bible did have a passage that gave us a map to follow so that we could not only know our destination but also give directions as to how to arrive there? Not only would we know what to aim for, but we could gage how far along we are in the journey! You see where I’m going with this, don’t you? I present to you, 2 Peter 1:3-8:
3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. NASB
A Road Map to Meaning
For your convenience I have underlined the route in the verse above. Let’s call this route, “Kingdom Route 2138” or “KR2138.” 2 Peter 1:3–8 reveals a path that leads to your ultimate purpose on this earth – to love! More specific, to love like Jesus (God’s love revealed as a man – like us). I took the liberty of drawing this out while preaching in 2 Peter chapter 1, and here’s how my version of the map looked:
Don’t be fooled by #’s 9 and 10 on my beautiful work of art above, your ultimate goal on earth is to love. You partake in the divine nature when you submit to #’s 1 through 8, and eternity is when you are no longer on this earth. You were put here to love like Jesus Christ.
Notice there is also an alternative path which leads to destruction. No, that is not a baked potato, that is a pit of destruction. There are many ways to get off of KR2138 and slide down to the path which leads to destruction. But if you strive diligently, KR2138 guides you to the meaning of life, your purpose to LOVE. Let’s take brief look at the milestones on KR2138, beginning in verse 5, the path God wants you to walk during your time on earth:
- Faith – Faith consists of two elements: Belief and Trust. When you combine belief (having to do with facts) and trust (having to do with reliance), violà you have faith! Faith is the entryway to KR2138. God’s will for you begins with believing and trusting Jesus Christ for your salvation and with your life. Once you give your salvation and life to Jesus, you have stepped onto KR2138. But faith is not an entryway one walks through (salvation) only to leave it behind. Each step on this path requires faith. And the faith it takes to accomplish each milestone is what actually pleases God. If you trust God for your salvation but not your life, you will sit down at the beginning of the path and rob yourself of the journey and your purpose.
- Moral Excellence – Christianity is a relationship and not a religion. It is likely you have heard this before or even seen it on a bumper sticker? This expression is certainly true, but even in this new covenant of grace there are universal truths of conduct. Just as a toddler begins with rules “Don’t cross the street” or “bedtime is AT 9:00pm” there may be some life changes the new believer must make. For example, “I belong to the Lord now, so I will gather together and worship with other believers” or “I belong to the Lord now, so I will no longer use recreational drugs, get drunk, or use vulgar language” or “I belong to the Lord so I must end this sexual relationship outside of marriage…” You get the idea. It is a bit stunning how many people will trust God with their salvation but not with the elementary doctrines of morality found in Scripture.
- Knowledge – This knowledge is of God and His Kingdom ways. This is primarily found in Scripture. Do you study Scripture? Do you belong to a group Bible study? Do you read your Bible and ask the Lord for understanding? If your toes just started hurting, perhaps you need to strive to reach this milestone.
- Self Control – This is another way of saying “discipline,” submitting to God’s Spirit rather than one’s flesh or physical appetites. Who is running the show, God’s Spirit or your carnal desires?
- Perseverance – This means continuing on KR2138 even when life gets tough. How are you doing here? Does your worship and obedience depend on your circumstances? If so, strive for perseverance.
- Godliness – This is a God-like attitude that comes from knowing and hearing the Lord’s Spirit. Godliness is seeing circumstances and people as God does.
- Brotherly Kindness – This includes devotion, affection, and kindness toward Christian brothers and sisters. Affection and caring toward your Christian family.
- Love – This is the ultimate goal for the Christian life. YOUR PURUPSE IN THIS LIFE IS TO LOVE LIKE JESUS LOVES! This is something a healthy Christian grows toward throughout a lifetime and beyond. We will spend an eternity with the Lord and never exhaust growing toward loving like He loves. God is love and God is infinite, therefore we will always be able to learn more and grow more. For a good definition of love (but not an exhaustive one) I recommend 1 Corinthians chapter 13. This is enough to keep us busy for the entirety of our time on this earth.
Below are a few more tips as you get started or continue on your Kingdom journey:
- Eternity – Well done faithful servant. Eternal life is not achieved by your works, but works are achieved because of eternal life. And you will be rewarded after you leave this world to be with the Lord. This is not to suggest that there are not rewards on earth as one travels up KR2138.
- It is possible for you to successfully walk this path because His divine power has granted to us everything.
- It does take effort. Applying all diligence could also be translated “strive forward.” We must strive to travel the Godly path that lies before us. However, we strive knowing that God comes alongside us. We are not left to accomplish our purpose by our own strength and might.
Brother or Sister, what’s your 20?
So how far are you toward your purpose in life? Have you camped out somewhere on the side of the road? Have you tried to take a shortcut past a milestone? I encourage you to take your map, have faith in the Lord and hit the road. But make sure that the road you hit is Kingdom Route 2138.