Discovering Your (Big) Purpose in Life
Passage: Romans 12:1–3
Great to Good
Grace Community Church
Oct. 16, 2022
Discovering Your (Big) Purpose in Life
Let’s turn in our Bibles to Rom. 12.
Charlie Brown’s teacher gave his class an assignment. That evening they were to go out into their back yards and count as many stars as they could see. The next day when the teacher asked the students how many stars they counted, the numbers were all over the place: 100, 57, 83, 223 and so on.
When the teacher asked Charlie Brown how many stars he counted, he answered 10.
“Ten? Charlie Brown, all the other kids counted so many stars, how is it you only counted ten?” Charlie Brown answered, “I guess I have a really small backyard.”
Our assignment this morning is to look at a really big topic: our purpose in life. Your purpose in life. What one investment commercial calls your “why”. Why do you do what you do? Why do you pursue what you pursue and prioritize what you prioritize? But let’s go bigger than that: why do you exist? Why were you born? What is your (big) purpose in life? What’s your why? I want you to answer that to yourself and remember your answer.
This is where we all can do a Charlie Brown and look at our life purpose from the perspective of a small backyard. There’s a lot we will miss when we think the size of our backyard limits God’s big purpose for our lives.
So how did you answer the question what’s your purpose in life? Your why? From a “backyard” perspective, we all come up with different answers, don’t we? A blue collar worker might say, “my purpose is to provide for my family.” A comedian might say “My purpose is to put a smile on people’s faces.” A musician, artist or a photographer might see their purpose as bringing out the beauty in life. A chef finds joy in creating culinary masterpieces for people to enjoy. A teacher finds their purpose in teaching, a carpenter in building, a parent may say, “I do it for my kids.”
All those answers – and if you came up with a different answer – they are all important expressions of our purpose in life but they’re not the big “why”. There’s a bigger “why” – a bigger purpose for why you and I exist, and it’s the same for all of us because it’s why God created us.
One word: worship. The (big) purpose of your life is to worship. Worship includes all the other answers we gave but it is the big why that reaches beyond our little backyards and ties our life to something so much bigger and greater and vaster than even the best backyard can ever be.
God created us to worship Him. That’s the big why, the vast, infinite, never- ending, joy-giving, life-fulfilling reason for our existence. And I imagine that some of you whose ears perked up at the idea of discovering your big purpose in life feel disappointed. Worship? Worship feels so disconnected to real life. We worship for a few minutes on Sunday morning, maybe at some point we put on worship songs during the week, but then we get on with real life – going to work, paying the bills, attending our kid’s soccer games, working at our marriage, going to school – and whatever else that needs doing in our backyard. We don’t see worship playing a big part in that.
If we think that way we don’t understand what worship is. Let me share three reasons why worship is the (big) purpose of your life and mine.
- We all worship something because we were created to worship
Romans chapter 12 is all about worship.
12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Rom. 12:1 NIV
Paul says “true and proper worship”. Whether we worship isn’t the question. Every human being that has ever lived worships something. We can’t help it – we were created to worship. The question is whether our worship is true and proper – both in the object of our worship and how we worship.
Sin is really just worship-gone-wrong. In the garden God walked with Adam and Eve. They were in close relationship with their Creator, He was the center of their lives, He made all the other blessings in their life make sense. When the serpent tempted Adam and Eve with these words: eat of the forbidden fruit and you will be like God. You can displace God as the center and put yourselves in the center instead.
It wasn’t a dietary issue, it was a worship issue. Who would be at the center? Who or what would be their “why”?
God has built an illustration of this in our solar system. The sun accounts for over 99% of the mass within our solar system. All the planets and moons combined account for less than 1% of the mass. It’s the sun’s great size and mass that creates the powerful gravitational pull that keeps all the planets in proper orbit.
We are all worshippers – we all put something at the center of our lives as the person or thing we worship.
- Some people try to put money at the center – money and what it can get is what they live for
- Dictators and too many politicians put power at the center. They think having power will give them life.
- Others live for the approval of others. They rise and fall on the approval or disapproval of people around them.
- Some put ease – an easy life – at the center.
- Others put recreation – fun! At the center
- Child-centered parents put their kids at the center. Their identity and their life revolves around their kids. That usually creates spoiled kids and challenging relationships and somewhere down the road a disillusioned parent says, “after all we did for them…”
Eventually all these things will leave us empty. The big “why” question will feel like there’s no good answer. The problem isn’t money or power or fun or loving our kids. The problem is trying to put these things at the center as the “why”. They’re simply not big enough. Inside of all of us is a longing for our lives to count. For our lives to have a larger meaning and purpose. The problem is, disconnected from God, everything else, even the bigger things, are ultimately too small. They’re meant to be.
- God is the only One worthy to be worshipped
Paul opens chapter 12 with the word, “therefore” and as they say, when you see a therefore in the Bible you should look to see what it’s there for. Why should we offer our bodies as living sacrifices? What drives true and proper worship?
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!How unsearchable his judgments,and his paths beyond tracing out!
34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?Or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Who has ever given to God,that God should repay them?”
36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen. Rom. 11:33-36
What these verses tell us is God is way beyond us figuring Him out or tracing out who He is or why He does what He does. God doesn’t need advisers, and nothing ever gives God anything He needs because all things come from God. All things are from God (He created them), through Him (we continue to exist by His will) and for Him (the goal – the “why” of all created things is to bring Him glory!)
There is simply no analogy that can illustrate how infinite God is so Paul says it’s beyond us. Men try to figure God out from their backyards and they come up with a ten star God. God says, I’m a million, billion, trillion, galaxies of stars God! Don’t try to figure me out, just worship Me!
The word “therefore” is important because it causes us to look at the unfathomable, untraceable greatness of God, but it’s just as important that Paul urges us to worship in view of God’s mercy. God’s infinite greatness is matched by His infinite goodness. Chapter 11 reminds us that our salvation is owed completely to God’s mercy shown us in Christ Jesus. God is worthy of our worship because He is so good as well as so great. Satan tries to distort our understanding of who God is, but the word of God tells us God is loving, kind, compassionate, patient, merciful, forgiving, and longsuffering.
Put Me at the center of your life. My promises are bigger than your problems. My love is bigger than all the hate in the world. My approval weighs a billion times more than all the approval in the world. My plans for your life are infinitely better than your plans for your life. Put me at the center of your life – only I am big enough to keep everything else in its proper order.
- Worshiping God isn’t separate from all the rest of our lives, worshiping God is central to all the rest of our lives
We’ve talked about the big purpose, the why. Let’s spend our closing moments briefly considering how. Rom. 12 goes on to lay out some practical how’s. Next week we have our dear friends Matt and Siobhan Slack with us and Matt will be bringing the message, but the following week we’ll pick back up in Rom. 12. But how do we do the why? How do we live our (big) purpose?
Paul says, offer your bodies – some say members – as a living sacrifice to God. Live your life, do what you do, only do it for the glory of God. We don’t need a different backyard, we just need to lift our eyes above our backyard and see the glory of God!
This doesn’t necessarily change what we do, but it changes why we do it.
- We may still make money – but we don’t live for money
- People may approve of us – but we don’t rise and fall on their approval
- We have fun, we enjoy life, all the more because fun and enjoyment isn’t the center of our lives
- We love our kids and lay our lives down for them, but they aren’t the center of our lives. In fact, raising them to know Jesus and praying they follow Jesus is our big why as we raise them
Live your life – but live it for Jesus!
- Praise God and worship Him with song
- Pray – prayer is the most powerful thing you can do
- Meet Jesus in the word. Mary chose the good portion. Not bible study but sitting at the feet of Jesus. When you read the Bible, meet God in this book. Meet Jesus in these pages.
- Every situation present your members – live your life – dependent on God and seeking to give glory to God by reflecting Him in that situation.
We’re going to return to worship.
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Rom. 12:2
The unique thing about man is that unlike any other creation, the Bible says we were created in the “image of God”, we are His image bearers. We are to reflect God in everything we do, and in everyday life and that, Paul says is our “true and proper worship”.
So don’t look like the world but be transformed into His image with ever increasing glory by seeing Him in His word. A transformed life starts to obey God. Legalism sees obedience as keeping a bunch of rules, but rules could never reflect the heart of God.
We obey God (and reflect Him) by growing in love. In humility. In compassion. In mercy. When we forgive others for their sins against us, we are obeying AND reflecting God. Jesus tells us in the Lord’s prayer to “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” If we want to be forgiven we need to forgive.
Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. That’s making God the center of all we do and as we do that everything else falls into order. The gravitational pull of His love, mercy, kindness and such pull all the other areas of our lives into order.
We start to live more for God and His will than for ourselves and our will.
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