Your Purpose

Reading: Ephesians 2:1-10

1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Reflection: What is the purpose of your life? From whom did you receive it?

This passage from the Epistle to the Ephesians begins with a solemn list of powerful terms. “Dead in the trespasses and sins… following the prince of the power of the air… children of wrath.” Paul encourages us to introspect, to consider our essence when an inadequate authority imposes purpose upon us. Various forms of authority can wrongly impose purpose upon individuals, including insecure, ambitious parents, misguided teachers, charismatic religious leaders, and political leaders who may project their beliefs or agendas onto others. Society, with its abundance of cultural norms and social pressures, can shape individuals’ perception of their purpose. The influence of media, including advertisements, films, and influential figures on social media, can distort individuals’ understanding of purpose. Ideologies, whether philosophical, religious, or political, can impose a predetermined purpose on individuals, disregarding their unique circumstances or desires. Additionally, personal relationships such as partners, friends, or mentors can unintentionally or intentionally impose their aspirations or values on others. The result is that we live a life that is not aligned with our true selves but rather one defined by the desires and expectations of others.

Paul continues to write: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us…” This divine “but” has the power to disrupt the purpose that has been wrongly imposed upon us. God’s “but” introduces an alternative, something new, something different, something we could not have invented ourselves. The good news is that the life purpose that may have been imposed upon us does not have to define us because in God’s grace, we have the freedom for an alternative. Paul says that God loved us while we were “dead,” that is, numb and without hope, in despair and cynicism, so that we can abandon the life we lived while we were dead… He made us alive with Christ! When God revealed Himself in Jesus, He not only fully revealed Himself to us but also showed us what true human life looks like. That life, as its fundamental characteristic, reveals self-sacrifice.

The true purpose of every person is to live by doing good deeds. And not just any good deeds, but by imitating Christ, as part of His Church, we are called to preach and invite people to find their true purpose, which is prepared for each of us in advance, as mentioned in Psalm 139: “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

Prayer: Father, we pray that You grant us wisdom and strength to free ourselves from the influence of inadequate authorities who try to impose purpose on our lives. Help us to feel Your guidance and to discover the true purpose in our hearts. Give us the courage to follow our true desires and to live in accordance with Your plan for us. Amen.

Photograph by Claudio Schwarz

Posted in Daily devotionals.