May 23, 2010
The Joy of Fulfilling Our Purpose
“O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise” (Psalm 51:15).
God means for us to find joy in fulfilling the purpose of our creation. Just as there is a satisfying rightness when a good tool is used for exactly the right purpose, there is a wholesome goodness when progress is made toward a fitting goal. When that goal is the very object of our creation, we experience something the Creator intended to be deeply gratifying. Good deeds are good not only because they are right, but because they contribute to the fulfillment of our purpose.
But what is the purpose for which we were created? One answer is that our “chief end” is to “glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” But why did God make creatures with such possibilities? Was it not so that God could show forth God’s own goodness through us? Jesus taught, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). The end of our existence is not only to enjoy the glorification of God ourselves, but to be vessels through whom God can manifest God’s majesty and goodness to others. Our highest prayer is this: “Father, glorify Your name” (John 12:28). Literally everything about us, even our death, should be measured by this standard (Philippians 1:20,21).
Peter wrote, “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:11). When we live this way, the fit between our purpose and our deeds produces joy.
In this life, our joy can't be perfect, of course. As long as sin fractures our commitment to God's purposes, we'll not enjoy the fullness that can come only from perfect commitment. But if we genuinely seek God in trust and obedience, we'll find a joy that, although incomplete for now, is nevertheless deep and true.
“God did not put you in the world because he needed you. He made you for the purpose of working his goodness in you. He has given you a mind to know him, a memory to recall his favors, a will to love him, eyes to see what he does, and a tongue to sing his praise. This is the reason you are here” (Francis de Sales).