Finding your purpose is to find a reason to live and die for. It is one of the most-asked philosophical questions of all time. People ask it in different ways; some would ask, what is the goal of life? Another would ask, what is my purpose? Others would ask how will I find happiness? Another may ask, what is the meaning of life? E.t.c Aristotle said that happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.
The reason for finding our purpose is so that we can live a happy life. Happy life for many is defined as fulfilled and joyful regardless of what come may. This is how Aristotle syllogism goes.
Premise 1: Finding the purpose of life.
Premise 2: Living each day thinking and doing the found purpose of life.
Premise 3: make meaning of life by living the found purpose of life.
Premise 4: this may lead to having and leaving a legacy.
Conclusion: have a satisfied, happy life.
Life is about the now adventure and experience.
Eleanor Roosevelt answered this question differently. She said, “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for a newer and richer experience.” For her, life is not about a pursuit, but rather the experience, and it is what we hear today in many quotas, that life is about how you make it. It is about how you live the moment. It is the reason for the adrenaline junkies who want to experience a more and more adrenal rush. Forbes quotes on the business of life quoted Helen Keller, who viewed life with such lenses as Roosevelt. she said that life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
There are two challenges that Eleanor’s and Helen’s answer may have. One is the question of the definition of ‘experience’ or ‘adventure’. I foresee their answer would be something like this. That experience or adventure is something that one has to determine by himself since certainly each one of us has his own appreciation of what you’d call adventurous. But such relativistic thinking makes us want to question a lot. Secondly, underneath their reasoning is the assumption that life ends at the point of death, and life begins at the point of the experience or adventure. Who’s viewpoint would you want to take, Aristotle or that of Eleanor’s?
Why can’t we have both; happiness and the now experience?
I opine that we can have both, live, for now, enjoy the experience, and take part in the adventures of life while pursuing the happiness that comes with a much greater purpose than what the now life offer.
Christianity offers both of this world. Here I quote John Piper” Christian Hedonism Is a philosophy of life built on the following five convictions: The longing to be happy is a universal human experience, and it is good, not sinful. We should never try to deny or resist our longing to be happy, as though it were a bad impulse. Instead, we should seek to intensify this Longing And Nourish It With Whatever Will Provide The Deepest And most enduring satisfaction. The Deepest And Most Enduring Happiness Is Found Only In God. Not From God, But In God. The Happiness We Find In God Reaches Its Consummation When It Is Shared With Others In The Manifold Ways Of Love. To The Extent That We Try To Abandon The Pursuit Of Our Own Pleasure, We Fail To Honour God And Love People. Or, To Put It Positively: The Pursuit Of Pleasure Is A Necessary Part Of All Worship And Virtue. That Is: The Chief End Of Man Is To Glorify God By Enjoying Him Forever. “
It is good to long for, and to seek happiness.
To expand what John Piper is saying, the longing for happiness is part and parcel of our lives in the first place. Therefore, we should acknowledge it and endeavour to pursue it. Quenching and ignoring it does but harm to ourselves. As Christians, we see this in scripture when Solomon, after considering all about this present life (and boy! did he not indulge in his such for finding happiness?), and he ended by this resolute that the purpose of man is to fear God and do his commandments (Ecc 12:13-14).
True happiness is in the pursuit of God.
When we seek or pursue (an adventure that we do now) and want to intensify the longing for happiness (the experience), we should bring the deepest, most nourishing and enduring satisfaction ever. This can only be in God (aim). Jesus reminds us that if we seek the kingdom of God and all its righteous, everything, including happiness, we will find (Matt 6:33). There is nothing that we can do apart from God, that includes happiness (John 15:5). Therefore, we seek God, and in him, we find happiness, find meaning, and find adventure and experience. To this J. I Parker said, “Once you become aware that the main business that you are here for is to know God, most of life’s problems fall into place on their own”.
When you taste of the lord, you will know that he is God (Psalms 34:8) and that you will sacrifice everything for him with a joyful heart (Matt 13:44).
Share the happiness with others.
The happiness we find in God compels us to stay with it and go out and tell people about it. The old theologians phrased it most profoundly ever that finding God is like a beggar finding bread in an unending supply and telling other beggars about it. We see such an encounter Jesus had with the Samaritan woman. She enjoyed her time with Jesus that she couldn’t keep quiet about it (John 4:39). Because of her, many Samaritans believed in Jesus. How will this bring you Joy? It will bring you joy since you have given another person the opportunity to find the unending supply of happiness in God (Luke 15:9).
Live and be ready to die for true happiness.
When we find this happiness, we will drop all that we were pursuing. In John pipers words, we will abandon the pursuit of our own pleasures. Jesus captures this in a parable, the parable of a Marchant, when he finds pearls of great value, he will abandon the business he was doing, go and sell all that he has to come and buy these pearls (Matt 13:45-46). C.T Studd is famously quoted to say, if Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for him. If you find God, every other thing will be meaningless and vain as compared to being with him.
All the above is the purpose of man. To be happy here on earth in pursuing and living in God. Nothing more, therefore in whatever you do, find joy in pursuing and living for God. Your purpose is not to simply be a lawyer, a doctor, a pastor, a mother or whatever it is. It is to be in God and enjoy him forever. If you are not a Christian, please click the receive Jesus button or contact us. We will be glad to help.