It’s not about you.
The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.
The search for the purpose of life has puzzled people for thousands of years. That’s because we typically begin at the wrong starting point — ourselves. We ask self-centered questions like What do I want to be? What should I do with my life? What are my goals, my ambitions, my dreams for my future? But focusing on ourselves will never reveal our life’s purpose. The Bible says, “It is God who directs the lives of his creatures; everyone’s life is in his power.”
Contrary to what many popular books, movies, and seminars tell you, you won’t discover your life’s meaning by looking within yourself. You have probably tried that already. You didn’t create yourself, so there is no way you can tell yourself what you were created for! If I handed you an invention you had never seen before, you wouldn’t know its purpose, and the invention itself wouldn’t be able to tell you either. Only the creator or the owner’s manual could reveal its purpose.
I once got lost in the mountains. When I stopped to ask for directions to the campsite, I was told, “You can’t get there from here. You must start from the other side of the mountain!” In the same way, you cannot arrive at your life’s purpose by starting with a focus on yourself. You must begin with God, your Creator. You exist only because God wills that you exist. You were made by God and for God — and until you understand that, life will never make sense. It is only in God that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny. Every other path leads to a dead end.
Many people try to use God for their own self-actualization, but that is a reversal of nature and is doomed to failure. You were made for God, not vice versa, and life is about letting God use you for his purposes, not your using him for your own purpose. The Bible says, “Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life.”2
I have read many books that suggest ways to discover the purpose of my life. All of them could be classified as “self-help” books because they approach the subject from a self-centered viewpoint. Self-help books, even Christian ones, usually offer the same predictable steps to finding your life’s purpose: Consider your dreams. Clarify your values. Set some goals. Figure out what you are good at. Aim high. Go for it! Be disciplined. Believe you can achieve your goals. Involve others. Never give up.
Of course, these recommendations often lead to great success. You can usually succeed in reaching a goal if you put your mind to it. But being successful and fulfilling your life’s purpose are not at all the same issue! You could reach all your personal goals, becoming a raving success by the world’s standard, and still miss the purposes for which God created you. You need more than self-help advice. The Bible says, “Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.”3
This is not a self-help book. It is not about finding the right career, achieving your dreams, or planning your life. It is not about how to cram more activities into an overloaded schedule. Actually, it will teach you how to do less in life — by focusing on what matters most. It is about becoming what God created you to be.
Excerpted from The Purpose Driven Life Copyright © 2002, 2011, 2012 by Rick Warren. Published by Zondervan. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
2 Romans 8:6-16
3 Luke 9:24 or Matthew 16:25
The Purpose Driven Life
New, expanded edition—25% off this month at womenoffaith.com!
“As I wrote this book, I often prayed that you would experience the incredible sense of hope, energy, and joy that comes from discovering what God put you on this planet to do. There’s nothing quite like it. I am excited because I know all the great things that are going to happen to you. They happened to me, and I have never been the same since I discovered the purpose of my life.” —Rick Warren
This spiritual journey will transform your answer to life’s most important question: What on earth am I here for? Simplify your life, increase your motivation, discover God’s amazing plan for you both now and for eternity. Translated into over 50 languages, The Purpose Driven Life is far more than just a book; it is a guide to a spiritual journey that has transformed millions of lives. Once you take this journey, you’ll never be the same again.
This new, expanded edition of The Purpose Driven Life, created for a new generation of reader, includes:
- Video introductions by Rick Warren to chapters 1-42
- An audio Bible study at the end of each chapter, with over 30 additional hours of teaching by Rick Warren.
- Two new bonus chapters on the most common barriers to living a purpose driven life.
- Access to an online community where you can discuss your journey to purpose, get feedback, and receive support.
On your journey you’ll find the answers to 3 of life’s most important questions:
- The Question of Existence: Why am I alive?
- The Question of Significance: Does my life matter?
- The Question of Purpose: What on earth am I here for?
Transform your life. Start your journey today.
God longs for you to discover the life he created you to live — here on earth, and forever in eternity.
It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for.
Long before we first heard of Christ, . . .
he had his eye on us, had designs on us
for glorious living, part of the overall purpose
he is working out in everything and everyone.
EPHESIANS 1:11 (MSG)
I am grateful to the hundreds of writers and teachers, both classical and contemporary, who have shaped my life and helped me learn these truths. I thank God and you for the privilege of sharing them with you.
As I wrote this book, I often prayed that you would experience the incredible sense of hope, energy, and joy that comes from discovering what God put you on this planet to do. There’s nothing quite like it. I am excited because I know all the great things that are going to happen to you. They happened to me, and I have never been the same since I discovered the purpose of my life.
About the Author
As founding pastor of Saddleback Church, Dr. Rick Warren leads a 30,000 member congregation in California with campuses in major cities around the world. As a theologian, he has lectured at Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, University of Judaism, and dozens of universities and seminaries. As a global strategist he advises world leaders and has spoken to the United Nations, US Congress, Davos Economic Forum, TED, Aspen Institute, and numerous parliaments. Rick has also founded the global P.E.A.C.E. plan, which Plants churches of reconciliation, Equips leaders, Assists the poor, Cares for the sick, and Educates the next generation in 196 countries.
Interviews & Video
You will need to be on a device or computer that has a Flash Player installed to view these videos. If you are on an Ipad or Iphone unfortunately Flash isn’t available.
Watch a recent interview where Rick explains “your value has nothing to do with your valuables.”
What On Earth Am I Here For? Pastor Rick Warren talks about his new book.
CBS This Morning
Rick talks with Charlie Rose and Norah O’Donnell about morality, politics and tolerance.