Understanding Christianity: Purpose

What do Christians believe? Why is the cross the symbol of their faith? In this series Pastor Tim Schouten of the Prince George Canadian Reformed Church explains some of the fundamental beliefs of the Christian faith. Questions? Email pastortim@pgchurch.ca.

What is the point of my life? Do I really have a purpose?

When we lose our sense of purpose, we tend to feel hopeless. Most of us have probably experienced this feeling at one level or another. It’s hard to move forward when nothing matters.

Last time we explored the Christian belief that the universe and everything in it was created by God. Today we’ll focus on how this informs the further beliefs about who we are and why we exist. We’ll see that if we are designed by God then we have the hope of being designed for a purpose.

When God made the world (as described in Genesis 1-2), he saved the best for last. He made people as the crown of the creation. He shaped them from the dust of the earth and then breathed the breath of life into them. He created humanity, “in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).

This special attention was for a reason. People were designed for a very specific purpose, that is, “to glorify God and enjoy him forever” (Westminster Catechism). Notice that this has two parts, which Christians do not see as mutually exclusive. We were designed to bring glory to God our Creator through our enjoyment of him. In the words of Baptist pastor John Piper, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.”

We live in a world where everyone seems to need a bigger purpose than pure survival. Why is this? Because it is built into us. We are not purely physical products of blind chance. We are created and designed by God for a spiritual purpose and will not thrive until we accept that and work within it.

The problem is that our instinct is to look for purpose in all the wrong places. That’s why we “still haven’t found what we’re looking for” (U2) and “can’t get no satisfaction” (The Rolling Stones). Just like a plane was designed to fly, so people were designed to give glory to God through a relationship with him and will “crash” when working against that.

This has always been the Christian belief. For example, in the early 5th century, the Bishop Augustine prayed, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in you.”

What is the point of my life? It is to do what I was made to do and, even more, to love the One I was made to love.

Author Rev. Tim Schouten

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