Here is a brief article addressing the important question, "What is the meaning of life?" The answer to this question is related to the next question.
Does God exist?
Here are some items which should prove this to those with inquisitive and logical minds:
Is God’s Existence Logical? Is it really logical to believe in God? Yes! Would you like Christian answers to give atheists? This is a free online booklet that deal with improper theories and musings called science related to the origin of the origin of the universe, the origin of life, and evolution. Two animated videos of related interest are also available: Big Bang: Nothing or Creator? and A Lifegiver or Spontaneous Evolution?
: Big Bang: Nothing or Creator?
Does it Make Physical Sense to believe in God? Some say it is not logical to believe in God. Is that true? Here is a link to a YouTube sermon titled Is it logical to believe in God?
Is Evolution Probable or Impossible or Is God's Existence Logical? Part II This short article clearly answers what 'pseudo-scientists' refuse to acknowledge. Here is a link to a YouTube video titled Is There Another View of Evolution? and another titled Quickly Disprove Evolution as the Origin of Life.
How is God Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient? Many have wondered about this.
For if there is no God, if life happened by circumstance and random acts, then there is no meaning of life, no higher purpose.You may as well be selfish. You have no reason to read the rest of this article. (BTW, if you would like to watch videos covering subjects of this article, you can click on the following links: Why YOU? Why Do YOU Suffer? and What is the meaning of your life?)
But if there is a God, then there may be some higher purpose, some ultimate destiny, some true meaning for your life. Maybe your actions do matter.
If there is a God, then perhaps God has left a record for us to understand what is expected. We in the Continuing Church of God believe that the Bible is God's inspired word and that it is true. Those who want some additional proof about the Bible's authority may wish to read: Bible: Superstition or Authority? Those that wonder about how and when the books of the Bible were accepted by the Church of God may wish to read the articles The Old Testament Canon and The New Testament Canon - From the Bible Itself. These things are important to understand, because if one understands that the Bible is the word of God, then it would be expected to be able to answer questions, such as "What is the meaning of life?."
(Those of you who question how that which passes for mainline Christianity could possibly be right are correct about your questioning. What generally now passes for Christianity is quite different from what Jesus, the Bible, and the early true Christians taught. To learn what happened and what the original church believed, and Where is the True Christian Church Today? and Continuing History of the Church of God; you can also check out Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome and The History of Early Christianity.)
The Bible itself teaches that it is true and that your actions do matter,
160 The entirety of Your word is truth (Psalm 119:160, NKJV throughout, unless otherwise noted).
14 Depart from evil and do good. (Psalm 34:14)
7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:7-10)
The Bible also teaches:
8 And what does the LORD require of you, But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8).
Does God have a plan for humans? The answer is clearly YES!
The Bible teaches:
6 But one testified in a certain place, saying:
"What is man that You are mindful of him,
Or the son of man that You take care of him?
7 You have made him a little lower than the angels;
You have crowned him with glory and honor,
And set him over the works of Your hands.
8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet. (Hebrews 2:6-8)
God says humans (meaning both females and males) are different from the rest of creation, because humans are to be over all things.
How else are people different?
The late Herbert W. Armstrong wrote:
Did you ever wonder about the vast difference between human mind and animal brain? This, incidentally, is another PROOF of the falsity of the theory of evolution! The physical brain of the higher vertebrates in the animal kingdom is essentially the same in physical form, design, constituency, as human brain. The brains of whales, elephants, dolphins are larger--and chimp almost as large. Yet the output of the human brain is indescribably greater. Few indeed know WHY! Many passages of Scripture show that there is a spirit in man. Spirit is not matter, and man is matter. To distinguish it from God's Holy Spirit, I designate it as the "human" spirit. Nevertheless, it is spirit and not matter. This "human" spirit imparts the power of intellect, to the human physical brain. The spirit cannot see, hear, taste, smell or feel. The brain sees through the eye, hears through the ear, etc. The "human" spirit cannot of itself think. The physical brain thinks. What, then, is the function of this "human" spirit? It is NOT a "soul." But, 1) it imparts the power of intellect--of thinking, and of MIND power, to the human brain; and 2) it is the very means God has instilled, making possible a personal relationship between human MAN and divine GOD...But man's creation was not completed. He was made mentally and spiritually only "half there." He needed the addition of God's Spirit to unite with his spirit, begetting him as a child of God--uniting him with God--ultimately enabling him to be born into the very GOD FAMILY (Armstrong HW. Mystery of the Ages. Dodd Mead, 1985, pp. 104-105, 109).
The Bible clearly teaches:
8 But there is a spirit in man, And the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding. (Job 32:8)
This is an important part of how humans differ from animals.
And yes, being born into the very God Family is part of the meaning of life.
Herbert W. Armstrong also wrote:
WHY did the Creator God put MAN on the earth? For God's ultimate supreme purpose of reproducing himself--of recreating himself, as it were, by the supreme objective of creating the righteous divine character ultimately in millions unnumbered begotten and born children who shall become God beings, members of the God family. Man was to improve the physical earth as God gave it to him, finishing its creation (which sinning angels had deliberately refused to do) and, in so doing, to RESTORE the GOVERNMENT OF GOD, with God's WAY of life; and further, in this very process FINISHING THE CREATION OF MAN by the development of God's holy, righteous CHARACTER, with man's own assent. Once this perfect and righteous character is instilled in man, and man converted from mortal flesh to immortal spirit, then is to come the INCREDIBLE HUMAN POTENTIAL--man being BORN INTO the divine FAMILY of God, restoring the government of God to the earth, and then participating in the completion of the CREATION over the entire endless expanse of the UNIVERSE! That incredible potential of man will be fully explained in the pages that follow in this volume. God shall have reproduced HIMSELF untold millions of times over! So, on the sixth day of that re-creation week, God (Elohim) said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" (Gen. 1:26). Man was made to have (with his assent) a special relationship with his Maker! He was made in the form and shape of God. He was given a spirit (essence in form) to make the relationship possible (ibid, pp. 102-103).
The biblical definition of SIN is the transgression of LAW (I John 3:4). In the spiritual sense, in connection with the gospel, the basic law of the Kingdom of God is the spiritual law (Romans 7:14) set in inexorable, relentless motion -- the law of LOVE, the "GIVE" way of life -- the principle of the Ten Commandments...We need to realize God's LOVE and compassion. (Armstrong HW. Plain Truth About Healing, WCG, 1979)
Character to always do right--character to truly lead a life of love is why God created humans. God wants us to build character (Romans 5:4; For more on character, check out the article Building Character: Going on to Perfection.). Christians are not to sin, but live the way of love, the give way of life--God's way!
Notice something that the Apostle Paul was inspirted to write:
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
We are God's workmanship and were created to be engaged in good works. God has good works (cf. Genesis 1:31).
Now please notice that the Bible does teach that there is a whole family is named after God the Father, and that we are to know the love of Christ so that we can have the fullness of God:
14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height — 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19).
God is reproducing Himself to have additional members of His family. You can be part of it! (For additional information, please see the article What is Your Destiny? Deification? Did the Early Church Teach That Christians Would Become God?)
Carefully notice the following verses from the Bible:
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God (Romans 8:16-19, KJV).
Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world (Philippians 2:14-15).
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him (1 John 3:1).
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name (John 1:12).
We are to be children of God. The Bible teaches that repeatedly. By being God's children, we are clearly to be part of God's family. That is why God made humans! (For more information on this subject, please see the article What is Your Destiny? Deification? Did the Early Church Teach That Christians Would Become God?)
Why did God make YOU? What is YOUR purpose?
The Bible teaches "God is love" (1 John 4:16). "The LORD is good" (Nahum 1:7). God made you to share His love with YOU.
As a matter of fact:
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:16-17).
Love is the main part of the meaning of life.
And YOU are also to love:
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love (1 John 4:7-8).
The Bible also shows:
20 If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also (1 John 4:20-21).
2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith. (1 John 5:2-4)
29 Jesus answered him, "The first of all the commandments is: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
32 So the scribe said to Him, "Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He. 33 And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices."
34 Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." (Mark 12:29-34)
8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself,' you do well (James 2:8).
21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him. (John 14:21)
The Sabbath, for example, reflects love towards others as well as God's love toward humanity--as it is clear that God intended Divine rest from the beginning. The Bible does teach that real love and ethics are found in the law of God. For more on the Bible and love, please read the article The Ten Commandments Reflect Love.
15 "If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever — 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. (John 14:15-18)
Love God, keep His commandments, and realize that God will not abandon you.
God will work with you and you will not ever be forsaken:
6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6)
5...For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5)
32 "Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Luke 12:32-34)
What should you do? Jesus taught:
31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise (Luke 6:31).
35 It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35)
Since we are to be blessed (Matthew 25:34), this means that we are to be givers.
You may be thinking, "well I have heard some of this before from some religion," what is MY purpose? Who am I? Why me?
YOU are unique. You are one who can give love in a unique way.
(The old Worldwide Church of God taught this in bits and pieces. After its breakup, I never heard anyone outside of the Continuing Church of God teach very close to it. As it turns out, once when I went out to dinner with the late LCG evangelist Dr. Roderick C. Meredith, along with his wife Sheryl and his son David, I brought the subject up (it was just the four of us). But David went out to do something. I was curious if Dr. Meredith knew this meaning of an individual life, so I asked him a related question, but he did not know the answer. I then mentioned to Dr. Merdith that the meaning of an individual's life was ultimately to give love in a unique way. He acted surprised, yet pleased to hear the answer. He agreed, but never seemed to have publicly taught it. He continued to correctly teach that human destiny was to be born into the family of God, but never did teach the specific point that the purpose of each one's life is to eventually be able to give love in a unique way. We in the Continuing Church of God teach this--you could say that this is something we have restored.)
Ultimately God has special plans for YOU personally. YOU are not the same as everyone else.
Notice what the Apostle Paul wrote:
4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. (Romans 12:4-16)
The Bible makes it clear that we are not all the same and are not to contribute the same way, and Paul uses the analogy of the body in 1 Corinthians to do so:
12:4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free — and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.
15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?
20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." 22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, 24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. 28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. (1 Corinthians 12:4-13:1)
Yes, YOU, whether strong or weak, are necessary. God's plan includes a plan for YOU! Yes, you. This point is also referred to in Ephesians by the Apostle Paul, and involves love:
15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ-- 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love (Ephesians 4:15-16).
Yes, YOU have a part to do! You are important even if you are not sure your part is--God's word says it is!
God created all that He did so that eternity could be better (see Why Did God Make People? Why Did God Make Anything?).
You exist to help make eternity better!
If you are having trouble now and suspect your life is not going as it should, you may wish to read a booklet, based upon biblical principles, titled The Seven Laws of Success.
You are to receive love and you are to give love.
This is the true Christian meaning of life. You are to live the 'give way of life,' not the 'get way' that the world, under Satan's sway has accepted. Lust and sin is not the plan that God has for you.
In the Old Testament, Job understood that God had a plan for him when he stated to God, "You shall desire the work of Your hands" (Job 14:15). What Job meant was that after he was resurrected (this is discussed in the verses prior; see also What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrections?), Job knew that God had a specific plan, a "meaning of life," for him personally. Something for him to do in God's kingdom. God also has a specific plan for you.
In the New Testament, Jesus taught the same thing. When He taught:
In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself (John 14:2-3).
Jesus was saying that He would prepare a place for YOU if you were one of the Father's children.
Furthermore, notice the following:
But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked (1 John 2:5-6)
In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (1 John 4:9-11).
We are to love and receive love.
Those who are depressed about the suffering in today's world need to understand that the Bible teaches,
God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away (Revelation 21:3-4).
And the happiness we will experience will be beyond that which humans can imagine (1 Corinthians 2:9).
God's plan for you is to show you love through the forgiveness of sins, to ultimately reveal His loving plan of salvation to all, to give you more than you can even imagine, and for you to be able to show love to others throughout eternity.
(Ladies, and gentlemen for that matter, may also find the following article helpful The Cherished Christian Woman: Duty and destiny.)
Since God's thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9), sometimes we simply do not understand the specific reasons that we have to go through various trials and problems in this life.
1"Is there not a time of hard service for man on earth?
Are not his days also like the days of a hired man? (Job 7:1)
33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
13 "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
Giving love and living the true way of Christ can be difficult in this age (yet, there is an "age to come"per Matthew 12:32 when others will be called)..
Now, love is the ultimate reason we need to work. Work also helps build character, patience, responsibility, etc. It also physically helps support us and our families. Working and supporting the proper work of others allows us to give love. God wants us to love and obey Him and to love others as ourselves. Work, despite some of its difficulties, is one way in which love is demonstrated.
The Hebrew scriptures (the Old Testament) show that God's people benefit from the refining process of the trials of life:
10 For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined. 11 You brought us into the net; You laid affliction on our backs. 12 You have caused men to ride over our heads; We went through fire and through water; But You brought us out to rich fulfillment. (Psalms 66:10-12)
10 I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings. (Jeremiah 17:10)
16...that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end (Deuteronomy 8:16).
And while we personally cause some of our own problems--for the Bible says, "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap" (Galatians 6:7)--the Bible always says, "Know therefore that God exacts from you Less than your iniquity deserves" (Job 11:6). And why? Because God loves us, wants us to do what's is right, and tries to minimize any punishment that we may receive.
Notice that the Bible also teaches, "Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer" (2 Corinthians 1:6), hence there is a purpose for our suffering even though we do not like it. The following also confirm this:
17 "Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects;
Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty.
18 For He bruises, but He binds up;
He wounds, but His hands make whole.
19 He shall deliver you in six troubles,
Yes, in seven no evil shall touch you.
20 In famine He shall redeem you from death,
And in war from the power of the sword.
21 You shall be hidden from the scourge of the tongue,
And you shall not be afraid of destruction when it comes.
22 You shall laugh at destruction and famine,
And you shall not be afraid of the beasts of the earth.
23 For you shall have a covenant with the stones of the field,
And the beasts of the field shall be at peace with you.
24 You shall know that your tent is in peace;
You shall visit your dwelling and find nothing amiss. (Job 5:17-24)
"If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?...Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it" (Hebrews 12:7, 11).
In other words, God understands that the bad things that happen are painful, but that they can yield a lot of good later. His correction, as Job indicates, could save us from troubles, which in this generation could include the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21).
And later DOES count, because ETERNITY is a lot longer than the relatively few years that we are on this planet. The Bible acknowledges that if there is no future resurrection (life after this one), then the trials we go through appear to make us "most pitiable" (1 Corinthians 15:9).
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
9 Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, 10 but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. 11 For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.
12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. (James 1:2-18)
Although Christians suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:21; see also Persecutions by Church and State), God does not want you to bring suffering on yourself by doing wrong (1 Peter 4:15). Also, notice Jesus' words:
13 But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. (Matthew 9:13)
Notice that the emphasis from Jesus is on mercy. Which suggests that God values your love towards others above making personal sacrifices intended to please Him.
We are also not to be selfish. For we are to escape:
the corruption that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love (2 Peter 1:4-7).
In other words, by having self-control and persevering through trials we will be able to add to our faith godliness and kindness, and love. More love than we have ever imagined. A type of love that will endure throughout all eternity where all will be fabulous.
Notice also that the Apostle Paul was inspired to write:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
For more on the those fruits, watch the sermon Galatians 5 & 6: The Gifts of the Spirit.
Although it may not always seem like it, the Bible teaches that, "all things work together for good" (Romans 8:28).
1 For I considered all this in my heart, so that I could declare it all: that the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God. (Ecclesiastes 9:1a)
13 The Lord looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men.
14 From the place of His dwelling He looks
On all the inhabitants of the earth;
15 He fashions their hearts individually;
He considers all their works. (Psalm 33:13-15)
17 ... "God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, For there is a time there for every purpose and for every work." (Ecclesiastes 3:17)
God has a plan for ALL.
The Bible is teaching everything that happens in this physical life is preparing US (and US includes everyone except those who intentionally blaspheme the Holy Spirit, because everything else will be forgiven as per Matthew 12:31) for the spiritual life that we are to inherit for all eternity.
Now this does not mean that God wants us to suffer now:
33 For He does not afflict willingly, Nor grieve the children of men (Lamentations 3:33).
For the Apostle John was inspired to write:
2 "I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health" (3 John 2).
And even though it does not seem like, it God promises: "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).
However, we need to try to endure the tests, trials, and also the good times and try to do justly and love one another.
Also, do not think that just because you have problems and have prayed about them that you do not necessarily have faith. Recall what the Apostle Paul wrote:
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they ministers of Christ? — I speak as a fool — I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness — 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?
30 If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity. (2 Corinthians 11:22-30)
The Apostle Paul was a man of faith, but had physical affirmities and suffered a lot. And he also wrote:
1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)
Not that we are to go out and try to cause ourselves problems, but we need to realize that problems often can affect the lives of real Christians. Notice what the Apostle Peter was inspired to write:
12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. (1 Peter 4:12-16)
(For some practical tips on succeeding in this life, please check out: The Seven Laws of Success. If child rearing is a personal concern, please see the article Five Rules for Effective Parenting. Information on faith can be found in the free online booklet: Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen. Information on prayer can be found in the free online booklet: Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach?)
Notice three translations of Jeremiah 29:11:
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)
11 For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of affliction, to give you an end and patience. (Jeremiah 29:11, Douay-Rheims)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11, New Living Translation)
Some quote Jeremiah 29:11 as proof that God has a plan for them. And while God does have a plan for all, many tend to not consider the verse in context.
Notice what the Bible teaches:
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive. (Jeremiah 29:11-14)
Notice that the plan was exile. To be a sojourner, to be a refugee (see also Christians are to Be Strangers and Pilgrims?). So, we should not be surprised that we do not always fit in. Consider also what the Apostle Peter wrote:
9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. (1 Peter 2:9-12)
17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 Now
"If the righteous one is scarcely saved,
Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?" (1 Peter 4:17-18)
"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).
Sometimes we get confused, but consider we need to understand:
24 "Teach me, and I will hold my tongue;
Cause me to understand wherein I have erred. (Job 6:24)
8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord.
9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Believe and understand that God has a plan and is not making mistakes. Have faith (see also Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen).
The Bible teaches that people who truly hope in the true God, who obtain wise understanding, and who keep His law will be happy. Notice:
Happy are the people whose God is the LORD! (Psalm 144:15)
Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the LORD his God, Who made heaven and earth, The sea, and all that is in them; Who keeps truth forever (Psalm 146:5-6).
Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding; For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, And her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. Length of days is in her right hand, In her left hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, And all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, And happy are all who retain her (Proverbs 3:13-18).
But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he (Proverbs 14:21).
He who heeds the word wisely will find good, And whoever trusts in the LORD, happy is he (Proverbs 16:20).
Happy is the man who is always reverent, But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity (Proverbs 28:14).
Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law (Proverbs 29:18).
Does your church teach that people are happy if they keep the law of God, or do they teach or act like God's law is a burden?
Perhaps I should mention that the Bible requires that new husbands do spend time to cause happiness for their wives. Notice:
5 When a man has taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war or be charged with any business; he shall be free at home one year, and bring happiness to his wife whom he has taken (Deuteronomy 24:5).
Also, notice that Paul said that being able to speak the truth made him happy:
I think myself happy, King Agrippa, because today I shall answer for myself before you concerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, especially because you are expert in all customs and questions which have to do with the Jews (Acts 26:2-3).
The Bible teaches that those who truly have hope in God, who obtain wise understanding, who speak the truth, and who keep His law will be happy. Does your church teach that?
God wants good for you and if you love Him, that is how everything will turn out:
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
God's plan takes into account what has happened to you.
Notice somethings the Old Testament teaches related to that:
1 For I considered all this in my heart, so that I could declare it all: that the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God. (Ecclesiastes 9:1a)
9 A man's heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)
13 The Lord looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men.
14 From the place of His dwelling He looks
On all the inhabitants of the earth;
15 He fashions their hearts individually;
He considers all their works. (Psalm 33:13-15)
God has a plan for YOU INDIVIDUALLY whether you are called in this age or not. And He considers ALL OF YOUR WORKS. All the you have been through is preparing YOU.
What is something YOU SHOULD DO?
11 Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 Who is the man who desires life,
And loves many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil,
And your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it. (Psalm 34:11-14)
3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:3-4)
11 You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11)
DO GOOD! TRUST GOD. DELIGHT IN THE LORD and He will give you the proper desires of your heart. There will be pleasures for eternity!
For more on happiness, check out the article: Biblical Keys to Happiness.
Although we are not to be careless (see Physical Preparation Scriptures for Christians), and should work (2 Thessalonians 3:10; Exodus 20:9), we are to try not to unduly worry about our physical needs.
Notice what Jesus taught:
25 "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 28 "So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:25-34)
We need to have the right priorities. And Jesus said that we need to seek FIRST the Kingdom of God.
Now this does not mean that we should not take care of ourselves or not exercise, only that our focus should not be on the physical as that will perish, but on godliness:
6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (Romans 8:6)
8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. 9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. 10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:8-11)
6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. (1 Timothy 6:6-7)
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness (2 Peter 3:10-11).
God's way of love is what is going to last. This is something all should consider as this present age will not.
There were those in the New Testament who understood this:
1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.
3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.
5 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, "and was not found, because God had taken him"; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
11 By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude — innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 of whom it was said, "In Isaac your seed shall be called," 19 concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.
20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.
22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones.
23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king's command.
24 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.
27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned.
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. 31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.
32 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: 33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again.
Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented — 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. (Hebrews 11:1-39)
Notice the words of Job:
14 My relatives have failed,
And my close friends have forgotten me.
15 Those who dwell in my house, and my maidservants,
Count me as a stranger;
I am an alien in their sight.
16 I call my servant, but he gives no answer;
I beg him with my mouth.
17 My breath is offensive to my wife,
And I am repulsive to the children of my own body.
18 Even young children despise me;
I arise, and they speak against me.
19 All my close friends abhor me,
And those whom I love have turned against me.
20 My bone clings to my skin and to my flesh,
And I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.
21 "Have pity on me, have pity on me, O you my friends,
For the hand of God has struck me!
22 Why do you persecute me as God does,
And are not satisfied with my flesh?
23 "Oh, that my words were written!
Oh, that they were inscribed in a book!
24 That they were engraved on a rock
With an iron pen and lead, forever!
25 For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
27 Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:14-24)
The accounts in the Old Testament were written for our examples:
11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (1 Corinthians 10:11)
And we are closer to the end than the Apostle Paul, who wrote the above, was. Just because you may not be wise or noble, does not mean that God does not have a plan for you:
26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God — and righteousness and sanctification and redemption — 31 that, as it is written, "He who glories, let him glory in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)
Most called in this age are not mighty or noble.
You are one who can give in a unique way.
So, what should you do?
10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
You should be serious about using the gifts that God has given you.
If you read the related links, you should have learned that it is truly provable that there is, there must be, a Creator God.
God does have a plan for you. God loves you and wants you to love others. You are to live the 'give way' of life. Increasing real love: that is the meaning of life.
The trials and problems we face are to help us grow so that we can be godly and rule the universe FOREVER! By learning all these lessons (even if we do not often understand many of them), we actually will be able to get along together forever, even though it often seems difficult to believe in this life.
Many of the problems show us that humankind does not have the answers itself and that not only the world, but you, need the Kingdom of God.
Thus your life counts! You are to do good (Ephesians 2:10). Everything you have gone through, every lesson you are learning, makes it so that you are one who can give love in a unique way. And you will be supremely happy. And if you seek God and keep His law now, you can also be happy now.
"God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away" (Revelation 21:3-4). (More on this can be found in the article on Millenarianism).
God is reproducing Himself. God wants you to be part of His family (see also What is Your Destiny? Deification? Did the Early Church Teach That Christians Would Become God?). He wants YOU to help rule the universe. God has plans for YOU, plans that YOU will like. Opportunities for YOU to love as God loves. YOU can be in the very family of God!
As Jesus said:
There is plenty of room for you in my Father's home. If that weren't so, would I have told you that I'm on my way to get a room ready for you? 3 And if I'm on my way to get your room ready, I'll come back and get you so you can live where I live. (John 14:2-3), THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)
And that home will be coming to the earth after the world changes (Revelation 21:1-3). There will be no more sorrow (Revelation 21:4), but instead love will abound (1 Corinthians 2:9).
God’s plan for you is to show love through the forgiveness of sins, to ultimately reveal His loving plan of salvation to all, to help you reach your potential, to give more to human beings than they can even imagine, and so that all will to be able to show love to others throughout eternity.
A free book is available online: The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you? Here is a link to three related sermons: Mysteries of God’s Plan, Mysteries of Truth, Sin, Rest, Suffering, and God’s Plan, and The Mystery of YOU.
Some additional information can also be found in the following YouTube video link: What is the meaning of your life?
Furthermore, some may find the booklet Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian helpful as it contains practical suggestions on how to handle the rest of your life.
Perhaps it should be added that since God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4) and that God's purpose will stand, that He is NOT losing a battle with Satan and that nearly all who ever lived will be saved. Specific information on that subject can be found in the articles Hope of Salvation: How the Church of God Differs from Protestantism and Universal Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible that Support the True Doctrine of Apocatastasis.
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