Back in the day – I worked as a manager in the auto repair industry. A typical interaction with a customer might begin with a phone call. Then the customer is greeted at the facility where all relevant information is recorded. Next the vehicle is inspected and necessary repairs are diagnosed. From there the job is: priced, sold, and the work is performed. Finally, payment is received for the services. As manager I was responsible for presiding over each of these action items. Unfortunately, there were a couple of occasions when something went wrong with the final stage of that process – receiving the payment. It might have been that I failed to get an approval code from the credit card company or that I failed to properly guarantee a check. In these cases – I would receive a….. let’s call it a “consultation” from the boss. The message was something to the effect – “Danny, you can do everything right in our process, but if you fail to receive payment, it’s all for nothing!” I may have done a lot of stuff right along the way – but if I missed the ultimate purpose, those things lost their value. Let’s not allow that to happen to us spiritually! I don’t ever want God to say to me, “Danny – this is a nice salad, but I ordered spaghetti.”
God has a wonderful plan for your life! You have a high calling and a fantastic purpose! Did you know that your purpose is not to get saved and go to church? Well, that is a part of the process, but your purpose is much bigger. Much, much bigger! You were created in the image of God – and God wants you to grow in the image of God. This is the same for every human being. We have different roles in the Body of Christ but a similar purpose – to love. Your purpose in life is to love.
The Meaning of Life
As Barry Manilow said, “looks like we made it.” We have come to the end of the road – We’ve arrived at the destination of the path found in 2 Peter chapter 1 which reveals how God wants us to grow. A path that each person is to travel, picking up certain qualities as we walk through this life with the Lord:
- Faith – Believing and trusting the Lord
- Moral Excellence – A commitment to His ways
- Knowledge – Learning God’s Word
- Self-Control – Hearing and choosing the Spirit over the flesh
- Perseverance – Continuing in the Lord when life gets hard
- Godliness – Awe and devotion to God
- Brotherly Kindness – Love of the brethren
- And finally what it is all about….. LOVE!
Christians are unique masterpieces of God (Eph 3:10). Sure we are gifted differently and have different roles in the Body of Christ. But no matter who you are, how you are gifted or what your specific role is – you exist to love. Your purpose in this life is to love.
What is Love?
Have you ever been asked to define love? Love is a tough word to define. I think for most of us we begin by thinking of love as “really liking someone a lot.” In other words, strong feelings toward someone or even something. Then our definition might expand to how we treat someone. “Treating someone with kindness, that is love.” And then finally we adopt the definition of love that we have probably heard in church – or from those churchy people “true love is to sacrifice.” Or, “true love is to put someone else’s needs before your own.” What the Bible means by love is better understood when we realize that in the Greek language (the laguage of the original New Testament manuscripts) there are several words that all translate to “love” in English. Below are Greek words that translate to love:
- Eros is the word for sensual or romantic love.
- Philia means brotherly love or friendship.
- Storge describes the love between family members.
- Agape – selfless, sacrificial Love
Allow me a few observations about the Greek words for “love.”
- Eros, philia and storge describe feelings you have for others while agape describes doing for others. You cannot always choose your feelings but you can choose your actions.
- In the Bible – any time we are commanded to love, the form of love commanded is agape. Agape is the word at the end of the 2 Peter Path (2 Peter 1:5-7).
- God wants us to be set apart from the rest of the world – and recognized as belonging to Him because of our agape love (John 13:35).
Love is Infinite
Above I gave a nice 3 word definition for agape, “selfless, sacrificial love.” This is a tidy little summary – but desperately insufficient. It is a dictionary-like definition for an infinite concept. For more on love, I recommend reading 1 Corinthians chapter 13. This is an inspired description of what love looks like. I have heard 1 Corinthians 13 referred to as the most beautiful poem ever written. Perhaps the best way for us to begin to grasp what love is, comes at the end of 1 John 4:8: The one who deoes not love does not know God, for God is love. WOW! Did you catch that? God IS love…. it’s not a characteristic He possesses, it’s not something He does, it is what He is! And we know that God is infinite – that means we will be able to continue learning about love throughout eternity and never exhaust the topic! God is love – and God created you in His image. God’s will is for you to grow in His likeness….. your purpose in this life is to love!
We all want to go to heaven, right? We say we want to spend eternity “in heaven” don’t we? If that is true – I’ve got good news for you. You can have a taste of heaven right now. Heaven is a place where things occur according to God’s will… where residents are in the very presence of God…. and, as mentioned, we grow in the image of God. So – if that is what we really want for eternity, then why would we not start now? We can align ourselves with heaven right now. Seek and submit to God’s will, be keenly aware and respond to God’s presence, and grow in love. If this is what you want, a good starting place is to get on the 2 Peter Path – and / or continue moving forward and picking up the qualities on this path as you grow toward love. This is the meaning of life. Your purpose in this life is to LOVE (AGAPE).
5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1 NASB)