What Is the Purpose of Life?
WHY DOES THE ANSWER MATTER? Few things are more distressing to the human spirit than the thought that life has no meaning, no purpose. On the other hand, a person who has a clearly defined purpose in life is resilient. Viktor E. Frankl, a neurologist and a Holocaust survivor, wrote: “There is nothing in the world, I venture to say, that would so effectively help one to survive even the worst conditions, as the knowledge that there is a meaning in one’s life.”
However, there are numerous and conflicting opinions on this subject. Many feel that it is up to the individual to determine for himself the purpose of life. By contrast, some who believe in evolution teach that there is no ultimate meaning in life.
Really, though, the most logical way to discover the purpose of life is to consult the Life-Giver, Jehovah God. Consider what his Word has to say on the subject.
What the Bible Says
The Bible teaches that Jehovah God had a specific purpose for man and woman when he created them. Jehovah gave the following command to our original parents.
Genesis 1:28. “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving upon the earth.”
God purposed that Adam and Eve and their children make the whole earth a paradise. He did not intend that humans grow old and die; nor did he want mankind to harm the environment. However, because of the poor choices made by our first parents, we have inherited sin and death. (Genesis 3:2-6; Romans 5:12) Even so, Jehovah’s purpose has not changed. Soon the earth will be a paradise.—Isaiah 55:10, 11.
Jehovah created us with both the physical and the intellectual capacity to fulfill his purpose. He did not create us to live independently of him. Note how God’s purpose for us is defined in the following Bible passages.
Ecclesiastes 12:13. “The conclusion of the matter, everything having been heard, is: Fear the true God and keep his commandments. For this is the whole obligation of man.”
Micah 6:8. “What is Jehovah asking back from you but to exercise justice and to love kindness and to be modest in walking with your God?”
Matthew 22:37-39. “‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. The second, like it, is this, ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’”
How the Bible’s Answer Brings Real Peace of Mind
For any complex piece of machinery to work properly, it must be used for the purpose and in the manner that its maker intended. Likewise, if we are to avoid damaging ourselves—be it spiritually, mentally, emotionally, or physically—we need to use our life in the way that our Maker intended. Consider how our knowing God’s purpose can bring us peace of mind in the following areas of life.
When establishing priorities, many today devote their lives to accumulating wealth. However, “those who are determined to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and many senseless and hurtful desires,” warns the Bible.—1 Timothy 6:9, 10.
On the other hand, those who learn to love God rather than money discover the secret of contentment. (1 Timothy 6:7, 8) They appreciate the value of hard work and know that they have an obligation to provide for their own physical needs. (Ephesians 4:28) But they also take seriously Jesus’ words of caution: “No one can slave for two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick to the one and despise the other. You cannot slave for God and for Riches.”—Matthew 6:24.
Therefore, instead of making secular work or the pursuit of wealth their top priority, those who love God make the doing of his will their primary concern in life. They know that if their life revolves around the doing of God’s will, then Jehovah God will take care of them. In fact, Jehovah considers himself honor-bound to do so.—Matthew 6:25-33.
When dealing with people, many put themselves first. Today, the world lacks peace, in large measure because so many people have become “lovers of themselves, . . . having no natural affection.” (2 Timothy 3:2, 3) When someone disappoints them or disagrees with their viewpoint, they give vent to “anger and wrath and screaming and abusive speech.” (Ephesians 4:31) Rather than bringing peace of mind, such a lack of self-control only “stirs up contention.”—Proverbs 15:18.
By contrast, those who obey God’s command to love their neighbor as themselves are “kind to one another, tenderly compassionate, freely forgiving one another.” (Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13) Even when others do not treat them kindly, they endeavor to imitate Jesus, who when being reviled “did not go reviling in return.” (1 Peter 2:23) Like Jesus, they appreciate that it brings true fulfillment to serve others, even those who may not appreciate what is being done for them. (Matthew 20:25-28; John 13:14, 15; Acts 20:35) Jehovah God gives his spirit to those who imitate his Son, and this spirit produces in their life a genuine sense of peace.—Galatians 5:22.
How, though, can your view of the future affect your peace of mind?
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A person needs a clearly defined purpose in life
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Jesus teaches us how to gain peace of mind