“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21
What is the purpose of life? In other words, why are we here?
How we answer this question shapes our lives in countless ways.
But perhaps we need to begin with a different question. Before we ask, “Why are we here?” we should ask, “Who are we here for?” It’s a subtle change, but it makes a significant difference. The question helps us evaluate who is really at the center of our purpose: Is it God or self?
Many of us try to center our purpose around ourselves as if life is all about us. This is like trying to make the sun orbit the Earth; the universe isn’t designed to work this way.
Biblically speaking, we are made by Jesus and for Jesus (Colossians 1:15). We exist for His glory (Ephesians 1:12) and to humbly serve Him, not vice versa.
Paul beautifully summarizes this concept in twelve words in Philippians 1. His encounter with the risen Christ on the Damascus road (Acts 9) completely changed the purpose of his life. From that moment on, there was a fundamental shift in Who he was living for!. He lived to exalt Christ and to make Him known (Phil. 1:20). Staring at the possibility of dying in prison, Paul possessed a deep-seated hope that no executioner could take from him. If he died, he would be in the presence of Jesus. This reality calmed his fears and emboldened his witness.
Allow me to confess- I am incredibly challenged by Paul’s words. The way he lived out his purpose is remarkable. Yet, it also seems unattainable. I’m often content to have my faith in Christ be a segment of my life, not the singular focus of my life.
Paul’s purpose to magnify Christ was all-encompassing. There wasn’t an area of his life off-limits to Jesus. Can we say the same thing?
We may not be full-time missionaries (like Paul), but we should share his purpose of exalting Christ in all things. No matter how we spend our time throughout the day, we are called to live for Jesus above “self.”
Sounds great, but is this truly possible in the real world?
Yes, I believe so, but it takes intentionality. You can’t live with purpose by flipping on cruise control and coasting through life. Three suggestions:
- Regularly ask yourself this question: ‘Who does my life really revolve around-me or Christ?’
- Evaluate and realign the areas of your life as often as necessary.
- Amidst your daily activities whisper this prayer: “Jesus, be the center.”
Resolve today to not only be mindful of why you are here but Who you are here for.
Written by Jonathan Munson, Executive Director RFTH