Summary: The first purpose of our lives is to worship God.
Note: This topic and some of the ideas come from Rick Warren’s "40 Days of Purpose" campaign.
This morning, we continue our series of messages on "The Purpose Driven Life". Last week, we saw that God does have a purpose for each of our lives. We are not the random results of an evolutionary process; we are not just collections of cells being blown about by a blind, uncaring Fate. We were created on purpose by a wise and loving God. He made us for a reason, because everything that God does, He does intentionally. And so He has a plan and a purpose for each one of us here today. Our goal over the next several weeks will be to understand why God brought us into existence; to uncover His purpose for our lives, so that we can live it out, and thereby find the meaning and the purpose and the fulfillment that He intends for us to have.
Today’s message is entitled, "You Were Planned for God’s Pleasure". And this highlights the main point of this series, which is that it’s not about us. It’s about God. The purpose of life doesn’t revolve around us – our needs, our desires, our fulfillment. It revolves around God. It starts with Him and ends with Him.
"For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him." – Colossians 1:16
"All things were created by him and for him." All of creation, everything that exists, was made by God, and for God. Think about this: what portion of the universe is accessible to us as human beings? Very little. Thanks to the Hubble telescope, we can now look deeper into space than ever before. You’ve probably seen the spectacular photos of far-off stars, and galaxies, and nebulas. But as amazing as these images are, they represent only a tiny sliver of what’s out there. Think of all the billions of stars that will never be more than a pinpoint of light to us. All of the remote galaxies, beyond the reach of any telescope. And then ask yourself, "who are they for?" Not for us – we can’t appreciate them. We can’t even see them. The answer is that they’re for God. He didn’t make them for us. He made them for his own pleasure. Does that startle you, to realize that there are things in this universe that couldn’t possibly be here for our benefit? Or how about the fish that live at incredible ocean depths, beyond our ability to descend? Marine animals that live their entire lives out of human view. What purpose could they possibly have? But they weren’t made for us. And so it’s not necessary that we be able to see them. They were made by God for his own pleasure.
And so were we. Like everything else, we were created by God so that we could bring him pleasure. Not like a toy or a pet gives us pleasure, but like our children give us pleasure. Now, does that mean that if we seek God’s purpose for our lives we won’t have our needs and desires met? Does it mean that God will be happy, but we won’t be happy and fulfilled? No. In fact, just the opposite is true. If we focus on ourselves, we will completely miss the purpose for which we were created and we will ultimately lose everything. If you’re heading in the wrong direction, you’ll never reach your destination, no matter how fast you go. But if we focus on God, the true center of our lives, then we will find lasting joy and peace. Because that’s what we were made for. It’s as simple as that. We exist for God. We were made to honor, and serve, and worship our Creator. Any other approach to life is like driving west on I-90 and hoping to reach Miami, Florida. It’s not going to happen.
"If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me." – Matthew 10:39, Msg
"If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life." – Matthew 16:25, NLT
If your life revolves around yourself and your concerns; if your days are filled with a personal quest for what you hope will make you happy; then you are heading for disappointment, and disillusionment, and despair. Because according to God’s Word, there’s only one way to be satisfied. And that way is not by focusing on ourselves or our desires, but by focusing on God and his purposes. Not seeking first our welfare, but his kingdom. As Christ taught us: