Finding Purpose and Meaning in Life

Posted on June 22, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Devotional Reflections

“Teach me your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth. Unite my heart to fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and I will glorify your name forevermore” (Psalm 86:11-12).

Continuing our focus on the fear of God, the Bible reveals that this is the key for knowing Godʼs will and finding purpose in life. Wanting to know Godʼs will is common to every dedicated Christian. Young people understand that God has a plan and purpose for their life. Each day we are faced with decisions about what to do and how God wants us to live. There are major decisions that come along in life that result in job choices, relocation of our family, ministry and community responsibilities, all of which have implications regarding our future.

How can we be assured of doing Godʼs will? Life decisions are so ambiguous and subjective to our whims and limited understanding. The guidance we need comes from a heart that fears God and is fully devoted to Him. As mentioned in our previous devotional, the fear of God means a reverential awe, obedient respect and worshipful submission to Him. He is sovereign and worthy of our absolute, unequivocal devotion, and we consider doing anything contrary to His will unacceptable.

But there are many desires and affections pulling at our heart, influencing our decisions and interpretation of Godʼs will. We are by nature self-serving creatures; it is hard to escape concern for comfort and convenience and opt for that which accrues to success from a worldly perspective. The Psalmist reminds us that we can know Godʼs way and walk in His truth only when all the desires, affections and natural inclinations of our heart are brought into subjection to the fear of God.

Other translations render this prayer in Psalm 86 as “give me a singleness of heart to fear Your name.” We are able to bring all the disparate influences to conform to this one, over-riding motivation. The fear of the Lord trumps everything else in determining Godʼs will and how we live.

Whatʼs more, the fear of the Lord gives us purpose and meaning in life. Many people have no idea why they are living on the face of the earth; there is no compelling purpose that gives significance to their life. They are just existing, living from day to day for whatever occurs. We are told, “You have given a banner to those who fear You” (Psalm 60:4). What does that imply?

It brings to mind crusaders going into battle. One can picture the banner of their king waving in the air; the coat-of-arms on the flag is inscribed on every shield and armor. It represents the cause for which the knights are fighting–the purpose for which they are willing to lay down their lives.

Those who fear the Lord not only have discernment of Godʼs will and guidance in how they should live, their life has a purpose. They are dedicated to serving the kingdom of God. Every aspect of their life is characterized by praise, and the end goal of all they do is to “glorify the name of the Lord forevermore.”

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