Finding meaning

Written by Schalk_and_Elsa on. Posted in Set apart living, Training in righteousness

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purpose_smallFinding meaning, is probably one of the most sought after objectives in life. Many books have been written about this subject, yet it remains unreachable to most and the question is often asked why this is. The reason may be that we seek for answers in the wrong place. We often search for meaning by worldly means instead of seeking the true Source of meaning.

We have learned in a previous article ” To have hope…” that meaning and hope are connected. Without meaning or purpose, we can’t have hope as it is our purpose that fuels our hope. You have probably, like me, experienced how hopelessness causes depression and how depression is like a deep pit filled with quicksand. The more we try to get out, the deeper we sink into doubt and despair. It is almost as if we treasure those depressing thoughts in our minds and that makes it impossible to get out of. We play the negative scenarios over and over in our brains and sink deeper and deeper in despair. We have to stop this before we can get out of this pit.

This is easier said than done, but not impossible. We first have to understand the purpose of our lives. Then when we know what our purpose is, we need to learn to speak truth to ourselves. In this study, we will search Scripture to find our purpose and in a follow-up article we will look at how to speak truth to ourselves. That is where hope and purpose come together as we learn how to apply all this in our lives. By subscribing you can ensure that you don’t miss this article, the principle we discuss is life changing and has helped many people out of depression and anxiety.

First things first, let’s find our purpose

Finding our purpose

What does it really mean to have purpose?

To have a purpose is to have a design for our lives, intent, meaning, a plan, a destination, a goal, aspirations, direction, a mission, an objective, a function or a target. 2

These synonyms give us a deeper understanding of what purpose is. In order for us to live a full life, we have to know what our purpose is, even if we just know a part of it. Purpose is what drives us and gives us hope.

A popular misconception is that to have a purpose it to define it for ourselves based on what we think it should be. Hereafter, we are to set goals in order to achieve this purpose. This strategy forms an important part of the secular business world. Whenever you attend a management workshop or conferences, you will be taught to create a vision for yourself and then to set goals in order to achieve this vision. This strategy is also often applied to personal life. However, we who have employed this technique will know that it is not lasting. It tends to fizzle out after a while, we lose focus. It takes much effort to keep on track and once the initial inspiration wears off, we go back to where we have been before.

So, how do we find a lasting purpose in our lives. I think we need help. This help is best found in Scripture as YHVH’s Word is our handbook for life.

YHVH’s purposes

Nothing is random. YHVH is the Creator of all and He knows the end from the beginning. That means He has planned everything from eternity to eternity. Each of us were created by YHVH, and is here on earth to accomplish something. YHVH does not make mistakes. So, if we want to find our purpose, it should be in line with YHVH’s purpose. We will thus need to find out what His purpose is in order to find out where we fit into His plan. He has purposed it, He will certainly do it.

Isaiah 46:10
10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;

We will first look at different facets of YHVH’s purposes. We will loosely use the layout from the Dictionary of Bible Themes.

YHVH’s purpose prevails

YHVH’s purpose will prevail, no matter what.

Jeremiah 4:28
28 “For this the earth shall mourn And the heavens above be dark, Because I have spoken, I have purposed, And I will not change My mind, nor will I turn from it.”

Jeremiah 23:20
20 “The anger of YHVH will not turn back Until He has performed and carried out the purposes of His heart; In the last days you will clearly understand it.

YHVH’s purpose cannot be thwarted by evil powers

Revelation 17:17
17 “For Elohim has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of Elohim will be fulfilled.

The implication is that evil is subject to God’s control and operates within the determined limits of his sovereign purpose3

YHVH’s purpose prevails in people’s lives and circumstances

It is futile to think our plans can prevail if it is not in line with YHVH’s plan.

Proverbs 16:9
9 The mind of man plans his way, But YHVH directs his steps.

Proverbs 19:21
21 Many plans are in a man’s heart, But the counsel of YHVH will stand.

Proverbs 20:24
24 Man’s steps are ordained by YHVH, How then can man understand his way?

It would be easier to submit our will and plans to YHVH’s purposes instead of always making our own plans which often don’t succeed. We should seek His will in everything, or we will be disappointed.

YHVH’s purpose is fulfilled through His choice of individuals

Ephesians 1:11
11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,

God’s choice of individuals does not invalidate their free will to do or not to do anything, nor remove their answerability to God for their actions. See also Ge 18:19; Ro 11:5; 1Co 1:1; Eph 1:4-5; 2Th 2:13 3

Joseph’s brothers were afraid he would avenge himself on them for what they have done to him after their father died. This is what he said to them:

Genesis 50:20
20 “As for you, you meant evil against me, but Elohim meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.

YHVH used Joseph and his brothers to fulfill His purpose.

Proverbs 16:4
4 YHVH has made everything for its own purpose, Even the wicked for the day of evil.

YHVH’s purpose is founded on divine wisdom

Romans 11:33
33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of Elohim! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!

See also Eph 3:10-11 and Ps 104:24 3

YHVH’s purpose is determined from eternity

2 Timothy 1:9
9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Messiah Y’shua from all eternity,

Isaiah 25:1
1 O YHVH, You are my Elohim; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.

Isaiah 46:10
10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;

Matthew 25:34
34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

See also 2Ki 19:25; Eph 1:4; Tit 1:2; 1Pe 1:203

YHVH’s purpose is for His own glory

Romans 9:17
17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.”

Ezekiel 36:22
22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says YHVH Elohim, “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went.

YHVH reveals His purpose to His people

Amos 3:7
7 Surely YHVH Elohim does nothing Unless He reveals His secret counsel To His servants the prophets.

Ephesians 1:9
9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him

See also Ge 18:17; 2Sa 7:20-21; 1Co 2:9-103

The fullness of YHVH’s purpose is beyond human understanding

Even though we can get a glimpse of YHVH’s purpose, we can’t comprehend it fully.

Romans 11:33
33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of Elohim! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!

See also Dt 29:29; 1Co 2:9-10; Eph 1:9; 3:4-5 3

YHVH’s purpose is good and loving

Romans 8:28
28 And we know that Elohim causes all things to work together for good to those who love Elohim, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Jeremiah 29:11
11 ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares YHVH, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

See also Ro 12:2; Eph 1:4-5; 2Ti 1:93

YHVH’s purpose is revealed through Y’shua Messiah

YHVH has one amazing eternal plan, redemption.

Ephesians 3:11
11 This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Messiah Y’shua our Master,

This plan centers on Y’shua’s redemptive death, it was prophesied

Isaiah 53:10–11
10 But YHVH was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of YHVH will prosper in His hand. 11 As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities.

And was fulfilled!

1 Peter 1:18–21
18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Messiah. 20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you 21 who through Him are believers in Elohim, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in Elohim.

1 John 4:10
10 In this is love, not that we loved Elohim, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

It is God’s purpose to redeem the world through the cross Mt 26:18,45 Y’shua Messiah often speaks of his appointed “hour”. In John’s Gospel in particular his “hour” refers to the cross. Y’shua Messiah refuses to allow anything except the cross to be the climax of his ministry (Jn 12:27). pp Mk 14:41; Jn 7:6-8; 12:23; 13:1; 17:13

John 12:27
27 “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.

It is YHVH’s purpose to exalt and establish Y’shua Messiah as Master

Hebrews 1:8
8 But of the Son He says, “Your throne, O Elohim, is forever and ever, And the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom.

See also Eph 1:9-10; Ac 2:36; Php 2:8-11; Col 1:183

Y’shua Messiah submits to God’s purpose Jn 6:38 See also Mt 26:39-42 pp Mk 14:35-36 pp Lk 22:42; Jn 4:34; 5:30; Heb 5:7-8; 10:7

YHVH’s ultimate purpose is to save

When YHVH created man, He had fellowship with them out of their own free will.

Genesis 3:8
8 They heard the sound of YHVH Elohim walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of YHVH Elohim among the trees of the garden.

From this verse, we also see that they are hiding from YHVH because of their disobedience. Sin brought distance between YHVH and man. Later, YHVH in Leviticus it is written:

Leviticus 26:12
12 ‘I will also walk among you and be your Elohim, and you shall be My people.

From this, we see that YHVH still wants a relationship with man. Repentance through the sacrificial system serve to bring man closer to YHVH. YHVH, furthermore, had an eternal plan of salvation and that was Y’shua. In the fullness of time, He sent Y’shua to sacrifice His life for us so we can be restored back to Him through Y’shua. Y’shua took the penalty for sin, which is death, and overcame death. We can now, with boldness, come before YHVH, in Y’shua and have fellowship with Him. We will also not be affected by the second death, which is eternal separation from YHVH, but have eternal life.

Galatians 1:3–5
3 Grace to you and peace from Elohim our Father and the master Y’shua Messiah, 4 who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our Elohim and Father, 5 to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen.

1 Timothy 2:3–4
3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of Elohim our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

2 Peter 3:9
9 YHVH is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

Why did YHVH do this? He did it out of love because He is love.

John 3:16
16 “For YHVH so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

John 6:40
40 “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

YHVH wills that people submit to His purposes

When we believe in YHVH, we become like His children. The role of a father is to raise his children in the best way possible. In order to do this, he has rules that his children must obey. These rules are for the protection and well-being of the children. It is the same with our Heavenly Father, He also requires obedience from us. He gave us instructions for living out of love for us, and blessing will come forth out of our obeying His instructions.

We are to, totally, submit ourselves to YHVH’s will

James 4:15
15 Instead, you ought to say, “If YHVH wills, we will live and also do this or that.”

Psalm 40:8
8 I delight to do Your will, O my Elohim; Your Law is within my heart.”

Psalm 143:10
10 Teach me to do Your will, For You are my Elohim; Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

Matthew 6:10
10 ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.

We have learned that YHVH’s plans will prevail. We can’t stop it, neither can any form of evil. He is in control. His purpose is to save, He is love and He is patient. He only wants the best for us. We also know that to do according to His will is to our benefit. From this, we can conclude that we as believers in YHVH have only one choice and that is to do His will. Knowing this makes it easier to figure out what our purpose is.

Our purpose

Our purpose, as children of the Heavenly Father, is to do His will in accordance with His Word. That is our first priority. That should be the foundation and focus of our lives, to obey Him and to live our lives to glorify Him. His will is never contrary to His Word, so you can always test what you think YHVH said or revealed to you against His Word. The next step in finding our purpose is to go back to basics.backtobasics_small

Back to basics

We need to consider what YHVH has given us. If YHVH has given you a husband or wife, you are to be a good wife or husband. If YHVH has given you children, your purpose is to be a good parent and to raise your children for YHVH’s kingdom.

Consider Elizabeth, the mother of John the baptist. Her purpose was to be a good wife for Zechariah in order to create a good home environment and to be a good mother to John and to raise him for YHVH’s kingdom. She may not have thought it special at the time, but she definitely fulfilled her purpose without knowing how glorious the result would be.

It is the same for each of us. We all form part of YHVH’s glorious plan, and must do what He has given us to do. We are not to think it less than what was given to others, but do our very best with what YHVH has given us. We are to be happy in our activities, for who knows what the outcome would be.

Ecclesiastes 3:22
22 I have seen that nothing is better than that man should be happy in his activities, for that is his lot. For who will bring him to see what will occur after him?

We can be likened to the engine of a car, each and every part is necessary in order for the car to function optimally. The analogy of the body is also very good. Every person is like a body part with his or her special function. We will be judged as to how well we fulfilled that function.

2 Corinthians 5:5–10
5 Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is Elohim, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. 6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from YHVH— 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight— 8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with YHVH. 9 Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Messiah, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

Our ambition should be to be pleasing to YHVH, we will be judged according to what we have done. Paul also said in this verse that we are to be of good courage while living it.

To be of good courage means the following:

2509 θαρρέω (tharreō): vb. [see also 2510]; ≡ Str 2292; TDNT 3.25—LN 25.156 have courage, have confidence, be bold (2Co 5:6, 8; 7:16; 10:1, 2; Heb 13:6+)4

We are to be confident or bold in living out our purpose as part of YHVH’s eternal plan and strive to do it to the best of our ability.

1 Corinthians 10:31
31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of Elohim.

Colossians 3:23–24
23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for YHVH rather than for men, 24 knowing that from YHVH you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Master Messiah whom you serve.

YHVH will help us, He gave us His Spirit to guide us in all our ways. We are to listen and do. He will give us the strength.

Philippians 4:13
13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Mark 9:23
23 And Y’shua said to him, “ ‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.”

Conclusion

In a previous article To have hope… we wrote about how to find hope. We have also learned that having a purpose fuels hope. In this article, we have specifically looked at having a purpose, or having meaning. We determined that we can find our purpose by looking at YHVH’s purpose. Every human being forms part of His plan. Our choices play a role in this. We can either choose to follow Him and do His will by obeying Him or we can be counted with the wicked who were created for the day of evil.

YHVH planned everything from the foundation of the world. The day He started creating, He already had this glorious plan in mind, every intricate detail of it. Each of us is in this detail, having a role to play. We are to take this to heart and do what YHVH has given us to do with our whole heart as if we are doing it for Him. If you are a parent, then raise your children for His Kingdom, if you are a spouse, then be a great one. Do everything you do to the best of your ability to give glory to our King. In doing this, we might just inspire or influence somebody to choose YHVH and live their life for YHVH. How glorious would that be. May we strive to inspire through our love for and obedience to our Heavenly Father.

Proverbs 16:3
3 Commit your works to YHVH And your plans will be established.

References

  1. All quoted passages are from the New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995. We have substituted YHVH for LORD, and Y’shua for Jesus.
  2. Merriam-Webster, I. (1996). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate thesaurus. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster.
  3. Manser, M. H. (2009). Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser.
  4. Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
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