When I first started following Christ, I had a lot of questions.
Prior to faith, the only question that really concerned me was, “What do I want to do today?” But once I realized that the world doesn’t revolve around me and that God was inviting me to live for him, I hungered to know how that works. What did God want me to do with my life? And what does the Bible say about living that out?
It’s a question I think everyone wrestles with at some point. “Why am I here? What’s my life’s purpose?” It’s a big question, but thankfully the Bible has a lot of very powerful things to say about the topic of purpose.
Getting Our Bearings
The Bible shows us a God who creates with purpose. He crafts humankind in his image, gives us the dignity of personal choice, and shares the management of his creation with us (see Genesis 1:26-28). From God’s perspective, every person’s life is packed with great value and great potential.
But the Bible also shows us that sin and evil have distorted human life, making it challenging for individuals to feel their God-given value or to discern what his will is for their lives (see Romans 1:18-25). Because of sin, we all start at a disadvantage. Our natural tendency is to live only to please ourselves, but at the same time we feel God’s pull toward something greater than ourselves (see Ecclesiastes 3:11; Acts 17:27). No wonder the question of purpose is so challenging!
Thankfully, God hasn’t left us without guidance. There is a way forward, a way to find and fulfill God’s purpose for your life.
Below I have listed some of the most important Bible verses to know for finding and fulfilling your life’s purpose. I’ve also included my own comments on these verses so that we can compare notes. This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive coverage of this topic; think of it more as a foundation for thinking biblically about purpose. I can’t show you everything about the path you are meant to walk. Instead, I’m merely going to show you the entrance to the trail and encourage you to walk down it.
Take some time to read each passage carefully and reflect on what the Bible has to say about purpose. Write down what stands out to you, and pray for God to speak. Ask what these passages reveal about the next steps you need to take toward realizing your purpose.
See you down the trail!
Key Verses About Purpose:
(Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the CSB.)
John 6:28-29 – “What can we do to perform the works of God?” they asked. Jesus replied, “This is the work of God–that you believe in the one he has sent.”
Before he wants you to do anything else, God wants you to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This is the first step. If you don’t get this right, nothing else will work. This is how we find rescue from the trap of sin. It’s how we enter a right relationship with our Creator.
Your true purpose can only found by following Jesus.
Mark 12:28-31 – Jesus answered, “The most important [commandment] is….Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is, “Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.”
Jesus tells us that the most important things we can do in life are to love God with all we are, and to love those around us as ourselves. This should be the foundation for everything we do in life. It’s what each of us was created to do – we were made for relationship, with God and with people!
Proverbs 3:5-7 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight. Don’t be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
Pretty straightforward: Trust and obey God in all areas of your life. Obey what’s revealed in his Word, and stay away from evil. This automatically rules out a lot of wrong choices for your life!
1 Corinthians 10:31 – “So, whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.”
Once again, this rules out a lot of bad choices. Just ask yourself, “Will doing this bring more honor to Jesus?” If not, leave it behind.
Another thing this verse shows us is that God is not quite as concerned with what you do as he is with who you are (character) and why you do it (motive). And that’s crucial. It means God’s purposes for you are more about the kind of person you are becoming than about what you do for a living, or who you marry, or [insert other personal objectives]. Your choices should be all for the sake of honoring Jesus, and becoming more like him, no matter what you do in the day-to-day.
Ephesians 2:8-10 – For you are saved by God’s grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift–not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.
God saved you not just to get you into heaven when you die, but so that you can make a difference here on earth. He has good works he has purposed just for you to do! You have a reason for being who you are, for being alive here, today! Pray for God to help you recognize the opportunities to serve him when they come along.
1 Corinthians 12:7; 14:1, 12 (NLT) – A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. . . . Let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives . . . . seek those that will strengthen the whole church.”
God wants you to discover and use your unique spiritual gifts to build up the church and serve God’s people. What has God made you good at? What do other people see in you that they recognize as God’s hand at work in you, that you can use to further Christ’s kingdom? Do that!
Matthew 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.
Micah 6:8 – Mankind, he has told each of you what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.
These two passages have a similar theme: Always seek to have a closer walk with God and to promote his values in the world around you. Your life is not just about you; God wants all of us to be concerned about justice for our neighbors. You were put here to make the world a better place. Promote God’s kingdom – not yours or the world’s.
Matthew 28:18-20 (NLT) – Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
Jesus entrusts us with carrying on his mission of spreading the gospel and inviting other people to become Christ-followers. Wherever you go in life, make sure you’re finding ways to share the good news of Jesus with others and encouraging them to know God more. One of life’s greatest joys is when we get to see other people experience the joy of coming to know Christ.
Psalm 138:8 – The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me. Lord, your faithful love endures forever; do not abandon the work of your hands.
Finally, trust that God will carry out his purpose for your life! Even though you need to be responsible to walk the path God sets before you, know that it’s not ultimately all dependent on you – and that’s a comforting thought.
“Living on purpose is the path to peace.” – Rick Warren
Want to go deeper? Check out Os Guinness’ The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life.