Purpose: Finding a Reason Amidst Chaos


Warning, this is a long post…


What is purpose?

The dictionary defines purpose as the following:


pur-puhs ]


verb (used with object), pur·posed, pur·pos·ing.

verb (used without object),pur·posed, pur·pos·ing.

to have a purpose

Purpose. It’s such a big part of our lives. It’s the thing that drives us, that gets us up in the morning, that inspires us to make goals and reach them—or at least try to. Whether it’s fueled by ambition, pride, determination, or plain spite, it’s what gives us a reason to do what we do, no matter what our goals are. We can’t live without it.

Actually, rephrase that. We can live without it, but life plain sucks without it. Without purpose, we are hopeless, drifting through life without anything to anchor on to, just like floating in space, unable to grab hold of anything. Just… Floating and nothing else.

As human beings, we were designed to have a purpose right from the very beginning. Genesis 1:27-28 says:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
Even in the very beginning, God gave man a purpose, to be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the earth, and to have dominion over the earth. We were given the job to be stewards and care-takers over the whole creation. But because of Adam’s disobedience, sin has entered the world and this purpose has become distorted. The job is far more difficult. And we now have more “jobs” on top of that. For instance, we must not sin, but because of our fallen sin nature, we sin anyway and that purpose is pretty much hopeless. It’s all hopeless now, because of sin. The original purpose is destroyed and it is impossible to follow it now.

In the famous lines of the fish from Finding Nemo in that end-credit scene: Now what?

Indeed, what are we to do? Our purpose is ruined and it looks like there’s little hope for any of us.

Fortunately, that’s not true. We do have a purpose, regardless of Adam’s fall, one that was in place the moment creation was made.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism states the following: (emphasis mine)

Question 1: What is the chief end (or purpose) of man? 
Answer 1: Man’s chief end (or purpose) is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.
(See 1 Corinthians 10:31: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” and Psalm 73:25-26: “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is non upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.”
The Westminster Shorter Catechism goes on to say how we know how to glorify God, which is by reading His word, which tells us how to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.

My point is, our primary goal in life is to glorify God; God instructed Adam on how to do this, which was to obey God’s commandment to fill the earth and to subdue it. That is still our charge, even though we are no longer in Eden.

The truth is, when we take God out of the picture, life no longer has any meaning. There is so much I could say to prove this point, but I will say this. Look at the world around you. I don’t mean where you’re sitting or wherever you are reading this. I mean, the world in general.

We live in a world of chaos. A world full of disease, wars, death, confusion, identify crisis—the list goes on. We live in a world full of broken marriages, ruined friendships, abortions, suicides, fear, anger, same-sex marriage, murder, hopelessness. Books could be filled with all that’s wrong in the world. This is what happens when God is no longer in the picture. Struggling to find meaning in a world without the One who created and sustains it and Who gave us our purpose only gives us momentary delight before sin discloses the darkness that lies behind the gaudy veil. I’m dead serious. You take God out of the picture and you have complete misery. There is no reason to do anything. People do all sorts of crazy things to give their life a meaning; because a life without God is a life without meaning. When we take our eyes off of Him, there is only the brokenness of the world. And it’s pretty depressing. And to fill that void, we can try everything we can think of, but it will never satisfy.


Because God gave us a purpose: to glorify Him. And when we’re not glorifying Him, life is going to be empty and meaningless.

Some months ago, a friend of mine posted this poem on her Instagram story. I don’t know if she wrote it herself, but it puts what I want to say into words far better than I ever could.

Christ is why we have hope. Christ is why, in the midst of the ruin that creation became through sin, that we have a purpose and a reason to go on living.
Colossians 1:16 says, “For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and things on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him.”
Everything in this world points, ultimately, to the One who created it. We are called to glorify Him because of that.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
We live in a world that craves purpose. Almost everyone has a goal of some kind, no matter how small. Most of us have goals; some might be as simple as trying to get enough sleep at night, while others might be trying to do well on the ACT. Either way, it gives us purpose, whether to set aside things in order to get the sleep we need or spending one hour a day during free time to study and prepare. As human beings, we thrive when we have a purpose; and we wilt when we lack one. God created us that way. And nothing makes us more happy than when we are fulfilling our ultimate purpose: glorifying God and enjoying Him forever.

God controls our futures, our destinies, our fates, regardless of any plans we might have. He knows them all and He is in ultimate control of our lives, as evidenced by the following verses:

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD. Plans for peace and not disaster, plans for a future filled with hope.” Jeremiah 29:11


“The LORD work out everything to its proper end—even the wicked for the day of disaster.” Proverbs 16:4


“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21


“But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart throughout all generations.” Psalm 33:11


“And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28


“I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do.” Isaiah 46:10-11

This is why we have hope, why we have a purpose—why life has meaning to it. Because even if we don’t win an international title, or get knighted, or publish a best-seller, or write the most amazing music, if we are glorifying God in our day-to-day words and actions, it doesn’t matter if we don’t do great things in the eyes of the world. Because God is glorified and that will bring us a joy that nothing else will.

And that is our ultimate purpose.

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