Life’s Greatest Purpose

Churches worship teams and choirs usually meet weekly to practice the music for Sunday. Since heaven is filled with the glorious praise of God, how about doing some practice right now? Psalm 29:1 gives us the vocal warm up:

“Give unto the LORD, O you mighty ones,
Give unto the LORD glory and strength.
Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name;
Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 29:1,2).

And now for the chorus:

. . .”And in His temple everyone says, ‘Glory!'” (Psalm 29:9).

What is the ultimate purpose of life? :

  • We have been created for His glory (Isaiah 43:7),
  • We [believers] have been redeemed for His glory (Eph. 1:6),
  • We are to do all things for His glory (1 Cor. 10:31).

To give God glory is to show the excellence of His attributes. Why is this so important? In His conversation with the woman at the well Jesus declared,

“The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23,24).

How profound–God seeks us to be His worshipers! Now, why would almighty God, who fills the universe, want us to worship Him? A skeptics may misinterpret this desire for worship as selfish on God’s part. To answer this, we consider Paul’s observation in Acts 17:24,25:

“God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.”

This shows us that God does not need our worship; He is infinite and self-sufficient (see Isaiah 45:18-25).

Theologian, Louis Berkhof observed,

“The Bible teaches us clearly that God created the world for the manifestation of His glory. Naturally, the revelation of the glory of God is not intended as an empty show to be admired by the creature, but also aims at promoting their welfare and attuning their hearts to the praise of the Creator.” [1]

God’s desire for our worship, then, must derive from His love and good purposes. In His sovereignty He has determined that the highest goal for which people can live (here and in the life to come) is for His own glory. Any lesser purpose would have devalue humanity’s purpose and hinder personal development.

The beneficial purpose for worship is further validated by a basic biblical principle: We become like what we worship! The writer of Psalm 115 observed this:

“But our God is in heaven;
He does whatever He pleases.
[But the pagan’s] idols are silver and gold,
The work of men’s hands.
They have mouths, but they do not speak;
Eyes they have, but they do not see;
They have ears, but they do not hear;
Noses they have, but they do not smell;
They have hands, but they do not handle;
Feet they have, but they do not walk;
Nor do they mutter through their throat.
SO IS EVERYONE WHO TRUSTS IN THEM” (Psalm 115:3-8, emphasis added).

How about asking the Lord to reveal your goals in life? Is anyone or anything more important to you than God? If we look to people or things to provide what only God can provide, we are “worshiping” an idol. This is why coveting is categorized as idolatry (Col. 3:5). Jeremiah decried this sin:

“‘Be astonished, O heavens, at this,
And be horribly afraid;
Be very desolate,’ says the LORD.
‘For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters,
And hewn themselves cisterns–broken cisterns that can hold no water'” (Jer. 2:12,13).

Living for anything less than the glory of God is like trying to fill a leaking cup. “Holes” of sin, wrong values, and personal conflicts puncture the inner life.

God has a much better plan for those who know Him: “… Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive…” (John 7:37-39). God intends for us to find our fulfillment in Him (Psalm 37:4); as believers we are complete in Christ (Col. 2:10). To have a “cup that runs over” (Psalm 23:5), our hearts need to be open to Him.

The apostle Paul summed up the grand purpose of the cosmos in this doxology: “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen” (Rom. 11:36).

A fundamental strategy for glorifying God is to abide in Jesus Christ (John 15:1-8). Watchman Nee discerned this:

“God must be the originator of all spiritual work. His will must govern its beginnings; on this we are all agreed. Indeed we would go further and say that all is to end too with Him, so that, in Paul’s words. ‘God may be all in all.’ But there is something more. He is not only the Originator and the Consummator of all things; He is the Worker too. And where His power is at work, all will issue in glory. Our trouble is that, while we know that the beginning must be ‘of Him,’ and the end ‘unto Him,’ we forget the other vital fact, that in the middle, all the great activity that lies between, must be ‘through Him.’ If He is to have the glory at the last, we must be in no position to claim any. God’s will governs the beginning, His glory the end, but His power must permeate the whole operation between. In practice the question of glory is settled, not at the end, but in the middle.” [2]

It has been said that many people strive their whole life to “climb the ladder” of success only to realize in the end that this ladder was leaning against the wrong building! How different is God’s plan of success (see Joshua 1:8,9).

The Lord Jesus demonstrated the ideal way of glorifying the Father. The night before His crucifixion Christ prayed, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do” (John 17:1-4).

Our Savior left heaven’s glory to redeem His people. At His ascension He was highly exalted, not only as the Son of God, but also as our victorious Savior and Mediator (Phil. 2:9; 1 Tim. 2:5). Likewise, believers will be glorified with Christ at His return and are now summoned to glorify God by making the most of life’s opportunities (Phil. 3:20,21; Col. 4:5).

We need not live for the illusive approval of others. How serene we can be if we follow Paul’s example: “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God” (1 Cor. 4:5).

As true believers in Christ, we are accepted in the Beloved (Eph. 1:6). Our ultimate goal is to live for the One “who loved us and gave Himself for us” (Gal. 2:20). This is life’s greatest purpose! How wonderful that this goal is good for us, has eternal value, and is possible through Christ who indwells us. This plan will be carried to ultimate fulfillment by our Redeemer, “to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:10,11).

Friend, are you living for life’s greatest purpose?


[1] Louis Berkhof, Summary of Christian Doctrine, p. 52.

[2] Watchman Nee, A Table in the Wilderness, July 16.

Copyright (c) 2000 by John Woodward. 4th edition. Permission is granted to reprint this article for non commercial use.

Scripture quotations (unless indicated otherwise) are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Posted in