Updated: Oct 8, 2020
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My life purpose is my Christian faith. Let me unpack that statement. I believe that a higher being, God, created the world and everything in it. There are good and evil forces fighting against each other in the world, and I am subjected to both. Inherently, I am wicked and deserve death. The higher being sent a savior, Jesus, to combat the evil forces in the world, and he ultimately defeated them. God conquered death for me. Because of him, I am no longer subject to evil, and I don’t have to die.
Because Jesus redeemed me, I want to rescue the rest of the world too. I want to show the same grace, love, and compassion to those around me, as He has revealed to me. I believe my purpose is to have a relationship with God, to be authentic to myself, and to spread God’s love to the world, aka further God’s kingdom. To fulfill my purpose, God has given me gifts. During my life, I can explore these gifts and figure out how to best use them to further God’s kingdom.
The five spiritual gifts of Christianity are teacher, prophet, apostle, evangelist, and preacher. Apostles are visionary and pioneering; they want to start something new. An evangelist strives to share what they love with other people. Pastors frequently comfort and love those around them. A prophet listens to God and foretells his will. Teachers explain and apply truth in the most organized and straightforward way possible. I am a teacher and a prophet.
Those gifts don’t confine me to one purpose. My spirituality can take many different forms and change over time as my life transforms. It has the advantage of not being set in stone. My purpose gives me the ability always to be improving, allows me to find what fits me best, and can change as my life changes. For example, when I got married, I used my gifts to strengthen my marriage. When I was single, that wasn’t required of me.
Having Christian faith as your life purpose means no one can take it away from me. My job or my relationship status can change, and I can still be further God’s kingdom. The world can take away my rights and privileges; they can take away my Bible and church, but they can’t take away my faith. I will always have a fluid purpose.
One psychologist criticized having religion as a purpose. Steve Taylor of Psychology Today expresses the following: “Another possibility is a religious purpose. Religion is appealing to many people because it does provide a strong sense of purpose and meaning. However, taking on a religious purpose usually involves accepting questionable and irrational beliefs, and subsuming one’s individuality and intellectual independence within a pre-given framework, which is difficult for many of us to do. As a result, religion offers only limited help.”
There are two separate arguments here. First that Christians or other religious individuals are “accepting questionable and irrational beliefs” and second that these individuals are “subsuming one’s individuality and intellectual independence within a pre-given framework.”
Universities teach med students that half of what they are learning is wrong; they just don’t know which half. For the longest time, we thought the earth was flat. Christianity has never been proven, nor has it been disproven. No one can say that any religion has questionable or irrational beliefs because we don’t know.
There has been a long-standing argument that Christianity started science. During the Middle Ages, the church oversaw the education system. Though science had been around long before that time, it was during the Middle Ages that the scientific method was developed, and the first scientists made groundbreaking discoveries.
When Taylor says, “subsuming one’s individuality and intellectual independence within a pre-give framework,” I believe he is referring to the concept of individuals “dying to self” to be a Christian. The misconception here is that Christians have given up their personalities, goals, and wishes to become a puppet of God. When the Bible says, “die to self,” it means to give up our sinful selves. The part of our self that lies, cheats, and steals. When a person dedicates their life to Jesus, they aren’t subject to sinful desires anymore.
Religion is used in the wrong way, just pick up a Stephen King novel for an example. Most, if not all, of his villains construe religion in some way. Throughout history, religion has been used for evil, but also good. I’m going to use Christianity as an example religion because I know it the best. During the crusades, individuals used religion as an excuse for war and conquest. During the renaissance, capitalism was created by Christians and has pulled millions of people out of poverty. There are two sides to each coin.
The way that I’m “using” religion as a purpose in my life is healthy and positive. It is how I see the world and how I navigate the universe around me. My mission doesn’t tell me to impose my way of life on others. I am not going to try to conquer the world or condemn non-religious individuals, but I am trying to pull millions of people out of poverty.
Check out: Grace-Filled Plate
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