February 21, 2018 • Life for Leaders
In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
Why are you here on earth? Why do you exist?
Of course there is a historical and biological answer to those questions. You exist because you were conceived by your birth parents. You are here because your mother gave birth to you and nothing has ended your life yet.
What I’ve just written is true, but that’s not the answer I’m looking for. When I ask, “Why are you here?” I’m thinking of a more existential sort of question, such as: What is the purpose of your life?
This is a big question, of course, not the sort of question that can be fully answered in a few words. But it is worth noting that Ephesians 1:12 answers the “Why do you exist?” question clearly and succinctly: “for the praise of his glory.” There it is. You exist for the praise of God’s glory. That’s why you’re here on earth. (Note: Verse 12 speaks specifically of the earliest Christians, but verses 13 and 14 make it clear that the truth of verse 12 applies to all believers. In fact, “to the praise of his glory” appears again at the end of verse 14, in which this phrase is applied to all Christians.)
Some translations choose the verb “to live” over the verb “to be.” The NRSV, for example, says that God’s purpose for us is that we “might live for the praise of his glory” (1:12). This isn’t a bad rendering of the original Greek. But, in fact, the verb used in verse 12 is the “be” verb (einai). This verse is showing us not just how we should live but also our very purpose for existing.
I will have more to say about what it means to be for the praise of God’s glory. For now, however, I’d like to encourage you to consider this truth. Reflect on it. Pray about it. See what God wants to say to you through his Word today.
Something to Think About:
Before you read today’s devotion, how would you have answered the question: Why are you here?
When you think about your life, your thoughts and feelings, your dreams and actions, why do you exist, really? What are you living for?
How will your reason for existing make a difference in your life today?
Something to Do:
Take some time to think about other messages you receive that seek to define your existence. What have you learned about your purpose for living from your family of origin? From your culture? From your education? From your friends? From your workplace?
Gracious God, as I think about why I exist, I’m aware of many purposes and motivations in my life. I exist to love and to be loved. I exist to work hard and make a difference in the world. I exist to bear witness to you in the world. I exist to know you and live in relationship with you. In a way, all of these are true.
Yet, today I am challenged to reflect more deeply about how I actually think about my reason for living. What is really motivating me each day? What should be defining my existence? Help me, Lord, to be open to whatever you want to say to me. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary:
How Do You Envision the Glory of God?
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.