Discuss: What is the Purpose of Life?

Michael Ramsden draws on the story of his own wrestles with God during his journey to faith. This video is a part of The Saturday Session: Each Saturday, one of our speakers offers an extended message of reflection and timeless truth for a time of caution and confusion.

We struggle with the idea that we may be designed because the more we understand our own hearts, at times makes us question whether there’s a God involved in our life at all.

The message of the gospel is that you and I were created, we were designed, we were brought into existence by a loving God. That is where it starts.

However, instead of accepting God and accepting how we should live, we decided that we could make a better job living our way, and we rejected both God, and we rejected the way He would have us live. We rebelled against Him.

If there is to be any hope in this world, if there is to be any joy in this world, we need someone to come who will not simply change what we think and change our ideas. We need someone who will not simply change what we feel, and how we experience our emotions. We need someone who will not just simply change what we do, and make us live differently. We need someone to come and change who we are; we need someone to intervene in this world, who at the most basic level, will change the nature of our existence, enabling us to become that which we were always intended to be. And this is what the gospel this is what the Christian good news is all about.

God has broken through in this world, not just to change how we think, but that’s important; not just to change what we do, that’s important; not just to change how we feel, that’s important; but, first and foremost, to change who we are.

But if you embrace the design He has for you, He can use you, no matter how small you feel. It is not about how significant you feel you are. It is about who you can be in His hands.

Make it Personal

  • Do you struggle with trying to think the right thoughts, or feel the right feelings, or do the right things at the expense of knowing who you are?
  • How does knowing who you are, in Christ, help you to orient your life and your purpose?
  • How might you share this with a world that thinks that we are a cosmic accident?
7 Likes

Love it, beautiful.

Hello Joshua

I definitely find it a struggle at times of making the mistake of breaking my Christian life into questions of whether I am thinking, feeling or doing the right thing. So many times I can define how good I am doing by whether I felt good today or whether my day was productive. If my day wasn’t productive, then surly I must have failed in someway in my service to God’s kingdom. Maybe I needed to pray longer or help somebody in need. This in-turn can lead me to feeling down and distant from God. It is very easy to fall into a legalistic mentality and define how ‘good’ a Christian I am being, by my thoughts, feelings and actions.

In coming to know that it is God who gives me new life, who makes me a new creation, means that it is not by my effort that the changed life occurs, but through my surrender. God will do all the work of transforming who I am as an act of His grace. In coming into this new life, in Christ, it is the first time I can truly know who I was always created to be, a child of God. Therefore, despite what I feel, think or do, my God will always be my heavenly Father, I will always be His child, which means I will always find my true self in Him. Part of being a new creation, means that my old ways of thinking, feeling and doing, are also transformed in the process.

For a world lost in the distorted perception that sin causes, I think asking question of people to describe ‘who they are’ and ‘how they define themselves’ is a useful starting point. Once we can admit that we are lost and in need of some form of restoration and healing, means that a door for the new life on offer through Christ can be explored. Reading through the Gospels, shows Jesus as a man who was completely assured in His identity; He knew who the Father was and Jesus knew who He was. In coming to know Jesus and experiencing His life in our own, is something we can offer the world as the way to bring freedom and a reborn identity.

2 Likes

Thank you for this post.

I can understand with my mind that saying a Christian is not defined by what he/she does, thinks, or feels, but who they are.

But what does this look like on the practical level? How do I ask God to change who I am? Moreover, how do I verify that it is happening?

The other question I have is this: what does it look like to meet the person of Christ and be completely changed as a person? Again, I have no trouble comprehending the idea of this but the practicality of it is beyond me.

Thank you.

David

1 Like

Hello David

I really appreciate your questions and they are all incredibly valid. I agree that sometimes the practical outworking of a theology can be difficult to see. In the New Testament, terms like ‘born again’ and ‘new creation’ are used to exemplify the changed life that comes through the salvation experience through faith in Christ. The trouble that so many of us experience is that many times this new life doesn’t feel very new. However, like a new born baby, it often takes a period of time to mature and grow into ones identity and come to understand who we are. At conversion, even though we have the Holy Spirit come and live inside of us and implant God’s DNA if you will, our knowledge and experiential revelation of God is still limited. This doesn’t mean that God doesn’t immediately start changing the way we view life, our desires and wills, it just means that to grow into the full revelation and experience of our new life can be more of a process. So a way that you would verify that this is happening, would be when we become aware that our desires are becoming more in-tuned with God’s desires. We find that we want to live a life pleasing to Him. Our old life, living in the flesh, does not desire the things of God, but through the Spirit our desires change. We start to love the things that God loves.

Galatians 5:22-25: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.

1 John 5:1-5: Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

As the above passages point to, a changed life will also show in fruit keeping to the nature of God, love for the Father and the people of God, and so a willingness to obey God. This doesn’t come through an effort to be obedient to a law, but through the supernatural act of God’s grace upon the believers life. The believer is only asked to believe and trust in God through faith.

In order for God to change who you are, all you have to do is ask Him. It might be a prayer like “God I desire to have your desires, I desire to have more faith, I want to be more like you and I want to love with your love, please help me.” God will meet you where you are at and His grace is sufficient :slightly_smiling_face:.

To your last question on what does it look like to meet the person of Christ and be completely changed, I think the best answer that you will find is in the Bible. Reading the book of Acts and seeing the changed lives in people like Peter and Paul is truly inspirational. The apostle Paul even says in Galatians:

Galatians 2:19-20: For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

What a powerful statement of a life completely transformed and made new by Jesus Christ. Paul’s life, the way he thought, felt, and acted, became completely inseparable from the indwelling Spirit of Christ living through Him. Paul was still Paul, but his entire identity was redefined from his past life without Christ. And this is what Jesus wants to do in everyone of us.

I hope that is of some help David but hopefully others may be able to give some further input to your questions. Even though it may take time for us to see the practical outworking of our ‘new life,’ throughout the journey nothing changes the way God views us and loves us, which means our true identity is always found secure in Him.

God bless :slightly_smiling_face:

3 Likes

Thank you!

David

To experience meaning as a person is deeper than natural selection can offer. Inviting a naturalist to explore who they were designed to be is asking them to ignore what they want to believe. Though deep down who doesn’t desire meaning and purpose? Perhaps expressing to them that the very natural world they praise is merely a vehicle on which they were placed. A transport ,from birth to death, intended to expose them to design and glory, so that they realize how finite they seem in comparison.

And that sense of tiny in a great universe and the interdependent state of everything was intended to invite them to imagine beyond what we see. That we were made to be a part of something greater. The evidence shows order, structure and not random chance; a designer is implied not an improbable gamble. Because how can such an amazing universe be void of deeper meaning and instead just exist to die?

I believe many unbelieving fellow humans struggle with the existence of the biblical God simply because they can not fathom mankind being made in His image. The deplorable state of the human experience throughout history and personal knowledge of evil is too much to accept since God must logically be good. So then how can we be like Him? That may lead to recognizing why Genesis 1:31 has everything designed perfect and good and in Genesis 3 the horizon of everything dark. The problem is us, and in us.

And hopefully their awareness of depravity will permit openness to hearing God’s answer to evil- Jesus.

1 Like

Greetings David,

Two questions at the heart to what is the kingdom of God?

“And for an entire year they met with the church and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” Acts 11:26b NASB

Believers in Jesus were recognized as such. The term Christian is rare in scripture. Perhaps the use of disciple or follower of Jesus as Lord would be more practical to answer what this looks like? The church, body of Christ, or the Christians were noticed for their love of one another, devotion to live for Jesus’ commands and steadfast belief in the resurrection of believers. So on a practical level their way of being each day was their testimony to their belief.

We recognize the kingdom of God as being filled with the body of Christ, of which, Jesus is the head. In regard to the saying as you mentioned, “but who they are”.Your hunger to serve Jesus as your Lord will verify for you His presence in your life. He is bigger than the universe and calls all of yourself, as a person, to follow Him. He does this because of His love for you, since being fully submitted keeps us out of getting into trouble. And our Father will discipline us in love, so it’s better to stay on course.

And we are a works in progress with a purpose. So receiving Jesus as your Lord and Saviour for the forgiveness of your sins begins the major transformation of you. We are called to obedience as a result of having been bought by Jesus blood. Saved by faith, real faith, produces works. James spoke lots on this. It’s our faith we are known for, our works prove our faith. Like being branded by the Holy Spirit. As soon as you have called on Jesus name for salvation before God you are grafted in, you become His child.

“For we are His workmanship , created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 NASB

The verification is the knowing in your heart of hearts to whom you belong, the god of this world or the God of heaven and earth. That defines who you are, His child. Every believer was made a believer for good works. That is our, the church of Jesus’, purpose. God does much of His works in and through the church. It means where ever we are and what ever influence we have under any circumstances, we are to do as our King commands. I have learned the term repentance well because of this calling. It is no wonder why our God is a God of grace.

Since I got saved Jesus has been anointing me with spiritual polysporin daily with how many times I’ve fallen. The last 20 years have proven to be a steady up hill hike with many prayerful rest stops on route. Nourishment of God’s Word and prayer will prove essential in knowing and doing our Maker’s will.

“We are a soul in a body”, Ravi spoke of this and it’s true. If we know to whom our soul belongs then our longing will follow our Master and on every practical level our faith in Him will identify us as His.

“What does it look like to meet the person of Christ and be completely changed as a person?”

Like walking in a particular direction and suddenly realizing it’s the wrong way.

How can I keep walking in a direction that for what ever reason and all my mind and soul- I know this direction will never lead me to where I am sure my heart’s desire wants to go? And the point of change is the intersection with Christ Jesus.

I walk a lot. I also go hiking and cycling in mountains and off-roading in remote places. If I am on a back country trail and realize the way I’m heading is not right, something inside me says stop! In a practical sense I’ll get stuck in a cold stormy night on a bike or run out of fuel in my truck. At that point everything inside me is standing up against what ever else in me that is silly enough to keep going.

When I met Christ Jesus back in 1997 at age 27, the last thing on my to-do list was to get saved. It was so far down the list that I didn’t even think it was on my list. But God did. My life journey become His path. Where I thought I was in charge of doing what I wanted, Jesus demonstrated grace to change my wants.

I remember a big christian guy up the block from my place at the time. I say big cause he was 240 lbs and lean and I always seen him and thought, “Darrell is big.” And what’s with the quoting Bible verses every time I see him? I kept a New Testament and Pslams Bible he gave me on my Landcruiser dash board for 16 years to remind me of being a daily witness for Jesus. One day when I was in battle with personal life style changes of being saved, brother Darrell kindly gave his new convert friend some advice. He said, “If the Lord has His calling on you, you can either go the easy way or the hard way, but you are going. I suggest the easy way”

Suffice to say I understood the calling of Jesus was transformation of me.

Unique people have unique stories and no two stories are alike. Meeting Jesus is being introduced to Authority and Love and Grace and everything that mankind was designed and intended to be. We were made in His image. As for the change part, you will know because Jesus will restore you from the inside into His likeness. And one part at a time our sinful desires, habits, thoughts and words, will drop by the wayside of God’s path, the narrow road that leads to eternal life.

I hope this is helpful David. Have an excellent day.

Ken

1 Like