The Meaning of Life: Why Are We Here? — The Christian Answer
In our investigation of the meaning of life, we come to the question: Why are we here? What is our purpose? Is there any purpose at all?
Many say we exist for ourselves, that beyond the boundary of me, there is simply—nothing. And God, if He exists, is irrelevant. So our purpose? Perhaps there isn’t any. Perhaps the universe has no meaning at all. So any meaning to your life is only what you make of it. Good luck on the journey, dear traveler, because it’s all up to you. If you stumble and make a mess of it, well, I guess in the end life really had no purpose, did it?
Without purpose we are lost. We stumble through life without direction, jumping from this idea to that. We follow trails that lead nowhere. We strive, struggle, and stumble, and at the last bend of the journey, we look back and wonder—how in the world did we end up here? Why did we even bother? Was there a better way?
The Christian worldview rejects all that. Christianity says our lives do have a central purpose and meaning. For those who believe that Jesus was the Son that God sent to earth, there is hope. There is joy. There is even love.
So what is our purpose? Why are we here? Do we look to ourselves for the answer? Or to the One who made the universe. I submit we need look no farther than the words that Jesus, who is God, gave to a man who was an expert in the Hebrew law. Matthew 22:36 tells us the man, a Pharisee, was trying to trap him and he asked, “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
Here’s how Jesus answered in verses 37-40 (NLT):
37 Jesus replied, “ ‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
Here is where we find meaning, folks. It’s not by scaling the ladder of career; by gathering more and more friends, virtual or otherwise; or by raising a family, important though that is. It’s not by pampering and indulging and glorifying ourselves. It’s not through creativity and the arts—writing, painting, sculpting, making music, singing—though some of us can’t live without those things. And it’s certainly not through following the philosophy and ideology of men. No, it’s by glorifying God, doing His will, and getting to know the Son He sent us. And it’s by treating others with respect, compassion, kindness, mercy, honesty, truthfulness, and yes, even love. If we do all that, we will please God. And he will smile on us and fill our souls with love. That, dear traveler, is how we find meaning.
The next few posts will unpack just exactly how we are to do this.