Have you ever wondered why there are so many Bible verses about purpose? From the very first chapter to the last chapter of the Bible, we read verse after verse about our purpose.
So let’s start at the beginning.
Bible verses about purpose in Genesis
In Genesis 1 we find the well known passage where God creates mankind. “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness,” He says. Next is a mandate at our very creation: “so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky.”
God made us in His likeness and made us to rule in His likeness too.
God is a fair, just and good ruler. He looks after His children, He cares for His creation and He works all things together for our good. We can take these attributes that we know of God and extend them as a guide for how we should rule.
Our very first, ordained, purpose was to be good stewards of the world that God created.
How does our purpose as stewards apply today?
It can be easy to dismiss the task given to humanity at the beginning of time as outdated and irrelevant now. The world is so vast and so developed now. We’ve come so far from the people who walked amongst the trees with God.
Think about it this way instead: in you is an innate call to steward well what God has given you. To do so is to connect to your divine purpose, leading to wholeness, wellbeing and joy.
Connecting to your purpose as a good steward doesn’t have to mean living in the country and growing your own produce. It can mean simply living with a focus on living generously, for example, or shopping with sustainable brands. Maybe it’s about opening your home to people or setting up a prayer network at your place of work.
What can you do to bring God’s goodness and fruitfulness into your day to day, so that others thrive?
We were created for relationship
The other standout Bible verse about our purpose in Genesis is found in chapter 2. In verse 18 God says: “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
We were made to be in relationship with God; it was His intention to live every day with us in Eden, and to be in relationship with each other. Now, that doesn’t mean we panic if we’re single, or that we should see a life spent unmarried as a failure. What it does mean is that we acknowledge that living alone isn’t good for us. We need companionship with people and we need the everyday presence of our Creator. Both of these things are part of our purpose and are essential for living well.
Old Testament Bible verses about purpose
It can be easy to skip over the Old Testament in favor of the new as parts of the Hebrew Bible can feel inaccessible. But we miss a huge resource of inspiration, wisdom and revelation by not studying it. The New Testament, and Jesus, make sense because of the story told from Genesis to Malachi.
In Isaiah we find a clear statement about our purpose. In Chapter 43:21, God says: “the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.”
The fact that we were created for worship is a theme that runs throughout the Bible.
God knows that we are at our healthiest, most whole and most content when we worship Him. He doesn’t require our worship out of vanity or pride, but rather out of love and the knowledge that as we worship we are able to come before Him.
He designed us to worship Him so that we can grow to be more like Him. The worship we sing at church, or maybe as we drive along, is just one small example of worshipping God. We worship Him through every part of our life, our decisions, our spending and our words.
Your job, your passions – however you occupy your time – can become your worship to God simply by dedicating it to Him. If you seek to glorify Him, in everything you do, then that posture of worship will influence and transform what you do.
Peter reinforces this purpose, writing:
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
But what about my personal purpose?
First of all, remember that we must root all of our ambitions in the mandate given to us when we were created. Namely, to be good stewards and to live in relationship with God and other people.
Next, remember that God created each of us with a unique identity and that there is a plan and purpose for your life that no other can fulfil in the same way. Through conversations with the Holy Spirit you can discover the specific passions and projects God has set aside for you.
The Bible is filled with stories of people who, in obedience to a prompting from God, discovered their unique call. Moses heard God and ended up liberating a nation. Noah obeyed God and ended up saving humanity. The list goes on and on. The beginning and end of discerning your exact purpose is found in relationship with God.
Living a life of purpose
Rather than searching for a job or vocation that makes you feel fulfilled, why not approach it from this angle instead:
How do I take my passion and connect it to my purpose of being a good steward, staying connected to God and nurturing community?
Answering that question, with wisdom and guidance from the Holy Spirit in you, will lead you to a life lived with purpose.
The first are last
When you’re figuring out what it is God wants you to do and finding ways to root your passions in your purpose, remember this important Biblical context for your life:
In God’s kingdom the first are last. Jesus continually sought out the most unexpected of people and Scripture is filled with humble shepherds and fishermen who went on to change history.
Don’t allow our broken world’s understanding of what a successful life looks like to distort your God-given call.
Photos by Patrick Robert Doyle on Unsplash