What is the Meaning of Life?

The Most Impressive Credits

I watched hundreds of movies before I turned 10. I don’t remember too much about any of them. Yet there is one movie stands out in my memory from that time in my life. It wasn’t so much the movie itself. I don’t remember a thing about it except one line and the credits. Now, I’ve also watched thousands of credits in my lifetime, and I don’t remember anything memorable about any movie’s credits other than this one’s. (I remember waiting through movie credits for sneak peaks, but not actually being impressed by the credits themselves.) The credits of this movie left such a mark on me, because they symbolized the temporary end to my chance at a critical answer I was searching for.

I can still picture myself, a tall, scrawny 7 year old sitting cross-legged on the floor 3 feet from the TV watching the credits roll, like a deflated balloon. I don’t believe much before that point in my life had discouraged me more. I hadn’t expected to have ended up there at the end of a comedy. In the movie, “Oh, God!” starring George Burns as God, “God” asked the question, “What is the meaning of life?” I remember being riveted to the screen. I wanted no interruption- nothing to keep me from hearing the answer. (Because, of course, George Burns as God would know the answer to that). Perhaps I’d never considered it before and it suddenly struck me as ultimately important to know, or perhaps it struck a cord with the deepest longings of my soul, but I remember still the poignant longing to know the answer to that question.

George Burns’ Answer to The Meaning of Life

George Burns replied, “The meaning of life is exactly and precisely, not any more or even a tiny bit less than what you say it is and what I think does matter one iota.” I was shocked. What kind of cop out answer was that?  That did NOT seem like an answer that an all-knowing God would give (and I didn’t even know God at the time). I was stupefied. The credits rolled.

What IS The Meaning of Life?

I frantically turned to my mother, standing behind me-

“Mom, WHAT IS the meaning of life?!” I asked.

“That’s something you’ll have to figure out for yourself, honey,” She replied.

“Tell me, PLEASE, Mom!!!” Please tell me!” I pleaded, as my longing to know the answer erupted into desperation.

I was flabbergasted that my mom wouldn’t tell em the answer to such an important question. Looking back, I know my mom loves me deeply and wasn’t holding out on me. I don’t know that the answer was completely clear to her at the time, but ultimately, she was absolutely right. I did need to find it out for myself- as everyone does. It wouldn’t be wise to be told an answer to a question like that of such importance and just believe it without seeking out whether or not it is true for oneself.

God Never Wanted the Answer to be Hard to Find

The God of the Bible never meant the answer to that question to be a hard one to find for those who seek it. In fact, He made sure that it wasn’t, by sending us His Word and protecting it so vigilantly through all of history. He wants us to know the answer to that question and He wants to personally empower us to fulfill the purpose we were created for.

God signed the answer clearly in His Word

Created For His Glory

God is infinite in wisdom, love, justice, holiness, sovereignty, goodness, power, and so much more…all His perfections are unlimited. He is so vastly different from us in so many ways that our minds struggle as we seek to fathom the depths of who God is. He made everything and He knows everything, and in His infinite wisdom, though He didn’t need to create man, He delighted to. Being created by Him who is infinitely perfect, He gave us the chance to delight in what is most perfect, most good- God Himself. He created us to delight in knowing and bringing glory to the only One who deserves it.

Isaiah 43:1,7

But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine…..

everyone who is called by my name,
    whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made.”

1 Peter 3:9

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.”

Created With A Longing For Him Who Alone Can Satisfy

From the beginning God gave us the choice to love Him or not. He didn’t make us robots with a button on our shoulder that He could push to make us say, “I love you, God!” The first two people chose to not love Him, to disobey Him, and there has been something missing for people ever since. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Our sin separates us from the God we were created to be close to and glorify, and it leaves us with a longing for a time when all will be made right- a longing to be with Him for eternity.

Ecclesiastes 3:11

“..He has also set eternity in the human heart..

and as Augustine of Hippo said, “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.”

Have you ever felt a deep longing welling up in your soul? I’ve felt it rising up on a vibrant summers day looking down from the top of a mountain with the world stretched out below. I’ve felt it on a crisp autumn afternoon looking up across the creek water trickling happily by at my dear friends that I knew would all soon part paths of life and rarely have times like this again. I’ve felt it staring at the face of my newborn child, considering the intricacies of his face and wondering at what the world might be like when he grew up. It is a strange awe, a deep longing, one that holds joy and rapture but borders on pain. It is there to remind us all that there is something greater, something more, something deeper our souls long to be satisfied with. God has set in us a deep longing for Himself. With the longing, He has provided the privilege and ability to know and worship Him.

Loving, Obeying, Relying On, and Standing In Awe of Him Glorifies Him

Stand in Awe of God and Honor Him

Throughout the book of Ecclesiastes, the wisest man that lived noted the many pursuits of life that are meaningless and do not satisfy. He compared them to a “chasing after the wind.” At the end of the book, he concluded:

13Now all has been heard;
    here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
    for this is the duty of all mankind.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
    including every hidden thing,
    whether it is good or evil.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

To Love God is to Obey God

1 John 5:3 shows us that keeping God’s commandment is essentially loving Him, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.”

He Desires Us to Rejoice With, Rely On, and Draw Near To Him

Sometimes people balk at the idea of- “What is God’s will?” But He makes many things clear about His will throughout the Bible. Here is one example:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-1816 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances;for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

He Longs For Us to Know Him for All Eternity

God desires for us to have eternal life. That is a free gift from God. This gift is that we can know God now- and forever. That means we don’t just know facts about Him- we know Him. We get to know what He cares about, what grieves Him, what He longs to and promises to bring about in the future. He delighted to solve our sin problem by providing a way for us to be forgiven through Jesus. Through Him, we get to draw near to Him and learn His unique design for our lives.

John 17:3 “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

Want to Know More about This Free Gift? This Gift that Determines Your Present and Eternity? Check out This Video.

Want to know even more? Check out The Bridge Video.

All of These are Part of the Meaning of Life- Glorifying God

We honor God by knowing Him, revering Him, by wondering at how amazing He is. We also bring Him glory by loving and obeying Him. His direction for our life teaches us how to live in a way that is best for us, brings the most honor and dignity to other people, and that glorifies God the most. He has made clear to us the meaning of life

Each Person Uniquely Glorifies God

What this looks like for each person- well, it is different. My mom was right- this is something I do have to seek God for and find out for myself. The way you glorify God best in your life- that is to some degree unique to you. You have gifts and abilities, strengths and skills that make you exactly like no one else that has ever or will ever live.

I love the scene in Chariots of Fire where the missionary and Olympic gold medalist Eric Liddell was confronted by his sister. She urged him not to run in the Olympics, scared that he would become proud. He replied in true humility, reveling in the unique way that He was designed to glorify God,

“God made me for China, but He also made me fast. And, when I run, I feel the pleasure of God. To not run would be to hold Him in contempt.”

I feel that way about teaching and writing. What about you? What is it that you do that when you do it, you feel the pleasure of God?

He has given us the broad brush strokes of what it means to glorify Him. He works with us, in us, and through us to help us paint the fine brush strokes that complete the picture of our individual lives.

This is the meaning of life.

Want More Like This?

This blog is designed to help you find and delight in true purpose in your life. It is written to inspire you to engage deeply in what matters most to you, to do so with your whole self (rather than shattered pieces), and to delight in every minute of it.

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