A research study conducted in 2020 by the Cultural Research Center in Arizona, found that “a huge majority of Americans – 86%, which amounts to six out of every seven adults – believe that there is a universal, shared purpose for life that every human being possesses.”1
What is the universal, common purpose, or ultimate reason for living? Percentage of those who answered the question.
- “experiencing happiness and fulfillment” 23%
- “evolving into our full potential, physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually” 18%
- “knowing, loving, and serving God” 18%
- “furthering the development of humanity” 10%
- “living a long, healthy life” 10%
- “advancing world peace” 7%
- “there is no universal or common purpose” 10%
- “unsure / don’t know” 4%
How do you arrive at your purpose?
What’s your favorite music? What book has made the greatest impact on your life? How do respond when crisis happens? Who are some of your heroes? Is there one person you admire? These questions and more find their answer from your worldview experience. For example, there’s a good chance your musical taste has been influenced by someone you look up to, or from hearing a certain style of music during your early years that captured your emotions, especially if they were happy years. Your environment, family life, exposure to the arts, literature and spiritual content all begin to shape your purpose.
There are many good personal and skill related assessment tests that reveal what your special interests and abilities are that can be nurtured and developed. But, your real purpose, your destiny, cannot be found in a skill test.
What do you believe about God? Is he a tyrant? Someone to fear as in “dread”? Or, do you even think He exists at all? How you view life and the future is most likely determined by who you think God is? If you believe there is no God… or doubt His existence, there’s a good chance you feel there is no future for you personally or maybe even for the human race.
Without a belief in something greater than yourself, you most likely have never found your real purpose in life. For you to have purpose means life has meaning… and if life has meaning, where does that come from?
Everyone Has A Purpose
If you grew up in a Christian home or strict religious home life, then as you entered your adult years… did your spiritual views stay the same, change or did they just fade? Even though kids tend to conform to their parents’ beliefs, as they get older your beliefs often need to be reexamined so you can be sure you really believe in them. Personally, I believe you should question everything. Not from a cynical point of view, but sincerely asking whether something is true or not.
Finding your purpose requires a sincere and dedicated effort to discover your true identity, your worldview and your motivation. We were all created with certain gifts and abilities… and some limitations. There is a spiritual GPS inside all of us that desires to help us find our direction. In research studies I’ve conducted over the years, often the number one thing that surfaces as the most important thing in life is to “find your purpose”. We were made to find and pursue our purpose.
To find your purpose, not just how to use and nurture your gifts and abilities, requires one main thing… to know God in a personal, intimate way. Without that, you are simply performing a job or tasks that, if your fortunate, will provide at least some sense of fulfillment. But we can go our whole life without really knowing our divine purpose. Knowing God takes your life to another level, one where you can know why you were created. Growing up, many of us were told lies like: “you will never amount to anything”, “you’re a loser”, “forget about your dreams and aspirations, you’ll never accomplish them”. There’s another lie we’ve also been told that is rarely addressed.
“You can do anything you want to if you believe you can”. Think about it.. how often have you heard that statement. Just believe you can do something… and if you apply yourself, you can do it. That is simply not true. For example, let’s say I want to be an Olympic track star, but I just don’t have the physical attributes or abilities to perform at an Olympic level. Belief in yourself can only take you so far. Let’s face it, we all have limitations. Rather than trying to fulfill our dreams, some of which may not be realistic, it’s better to find our purpose which will provide the greatest sense of fulfillment. Your purpose is waiting for you.
What Makes The Difference?
Knowing and fearing God (or having a sense of awe about Him) is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge which makes up the foundation of your purpose (Proverbs 2:6). To know God at this level can only be found through Jesus Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2). Otherwise, don’t waste your time by only focusing on earthly knowledge from an education, but rather seek the kind of wisdom and knowledge that can only be found by knowing God through Jesus Christ who represents everything that God is. Imagine knowing the creator of the universe… without the debt of a university education? Establish your relationship with the creator, and you will find your purpose.
With a sincere heart and desire to find your purpose, God is waiting to welcome everyone into a personal relationship. Ask Him. He will show you. Where do you start? “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).
Without finding and knowing your God-given purpose, life will continue to lack a sense of fulfillment and joy or happiness.
It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others (Ephesians 2:10 The Living Bible).
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born… Jeremiah 15
God was speaking to Jeremiah, but it applies to all of us.. He knew YOU before you were born and has a plan for you. He wants us to spend our lives helping others and He will also guide us as we learn How we are to help others. He wants to prosper us and give us a future filled with hope.
In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will… Ephesians 1:11
1 American Worldview Inventory 2020 was undertaken in January 2020 among a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults. You learn more about the research and other recent studies they have conducted at the Cultural Research Center.