Home > Christianity, Identity > Exploring my meaning and purpose in life

Exploring my meaning and purpose in life

February 11, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Who am I?

As a product of the instant gratification generation, I want to know the answer to who I am and why I’m here NOW. The two basic questions I grapple with on a daily basis are:

  1. What is my meaning in life?
  2. What is my purpose?

And when I say daily basis, I mean, daily as in every single day. Usually the standard answer I give myself is the first Q&A from the Westminster Shorter Catechism:

What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.

I’m not sure how those in the Reformed faith applied that practically in 1646 but I’m trying to figure out what that looks like in 2010.

Does that result in a list of do’s and don’ts? There’s a call to holiness: how do I live that out? I’m called to be a Christian witness 24/7 but often feel like a practical atheist—speak of God, am interested in the things of theology but do not really talk about my faith outside of… my faith. Quite the impractical faith. But I’m not trying to get into a discussion of evangelism and witnessing right now. I’m trying to figure out how to accomplish my meaning and purpose in life by glorifying God and enjoying Him forever.

Glorifying God and enjoying Him look different for each person. We are not all the same and we are not called to be alike. While we all have the same chief end, how that plays out looks different in an individual’s life.

So in my life, what does glorifying God look like? Well, to be quite honest, I’m not so sure. As a Christian though, there are certain things I am called to:

  • Being a good wife
  • Seeking after God through prayer, Bible reading, worship with His community, and the preaching of His word
  • Exercising my spiritual gift of mercy (and supposedly encouragement) to those who need it (in and out of the body of Christ)

And how do I enjoy Him? You’ve got me. I know how to enjoy His creation but enjoying Him is an entirely different matter.

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  1. February 11, 2010 at 3:43 PM

    I didn’t realise that the Reformed Tradition has a catechism. Or that it would be so like ours. In the old Baltimore Catechism, it is given as

    “To know God, to love Him and to serve Him in this life, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.”

    I think yours and ours are more or less the same, but I like ours a little better since it gives more specifics. To glorify God is the purpose of human life, according to Christianity (of any kind) and what we do in life has only one of two possible effects. Either we deny God by our actions and words and decisions, or we glorify Him. Anyone who thinks there is a third option, to live our lives without reference to God, fails, perhaps, to understand who God is and what a human being is.

    Those are the rules, of course and the trick that we have is to fight the urge to try to take that imaginary third way. Which can be a problem when one is seriously depressed.

    But maybe there is a clue in the expanded Baltimore version. To glorify God is a bit broad and undefined, to my mind. It helps to be given a set of steps to take to achieve that goal.

    To know Him. Now that’s a bit of a tall order. One can spend a lifetime on that one alone.

    And, obviously, once one knows Him, to love him. And this of course, does not refer to a feeling of love. How can a feeling be mandated? It can’t be a requirement, since we cannot generate feelings by an act of will. It has to refer to the action of loving God. This means taking the choices to act in accordance with His will. To do good and avoid evil even when you don’t feel like it.

    This is to “serve Him in this life”.

    It is practical.

    Maybe it will even cure depression.

    Might be more worth a try than drugs.

    • Kass
      February 11, 2010 at 3:46 PM

      I do like how the Baltimore Catechism is more specific. It has a narrower focus than what the Westminster Catechism outlines.

      Thank you for your comment. It is much appreciated.

  1. December 24, 2010 at 3:37 PM

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