From the very beginning of time, people have asked the same question: what is the meaning of life?
Various people and cultures have expressed different opinions on this subject. However, to live a meaningful life, it’s important to understand what life means to us.
According to Christian belief, God created everything on Earth. Because God created everything, this belief posits that life isn't a coincidence. God knows each person individually, and He loves all His creations unconditionally.
And because God loves us all, He’s given every one of us an individual purpose. Only by following our purpose can we find some semblance of life’s true meaning.
In this article, we’ll talk about finding the meaning of life according to the Bible.
What's life's true meaning, and how can we find purpose, fulfillment, and satisfaction?
The word "life" has so many meanings. What do you consider to be a good life, and what are your criteria? Does it matter what our loved ones or we have contributed?
These important questions often go unconsidered by many people. However, there are plenty of times when older adults achieve what they set out to accomplish in life and look back with regret at their exasperated relationships and feel emptiness.
According to a textbook definition, "life" consists of the capacity to grow, reproduce, function, and change continuously before death, which distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter. Although, we'd commonly attribute life to the existence of a human being or animal.
Searching for life's meaning generally begins from a place of pain and loneliness. As it turns out, a textbook definition like the one above opposes what we’re often looking for. It's because we don't aim to find the organic meaning of life. We’re seeking to know what life consists of and what it means to us.
Psychologically, it’s theorized that searching for the meaning of life is built into our very existence.
Viktor Emil Frankl was an Austrian psychiatrist, neurologist, philosopher, author, and Holocaust survivor. Known as the founder of logotherapy and a great asset to the mental health profession, he described the pursuit of life’s meaning as the central force driving human motivation.
His dissertation, The Unconscious God, examines the relationship between psychology and religion. In this, Frankl advocates using the Socratic dialog (self-discovery discourse) with clients to get in touch with their spiritual unconscious.
To Frankl, the psychological and religious exploration of the meaning of life went together.
People lose sight of what life is all about in our humanistic culture. We often assume that life satisfaction comes from life experiences. Due to this view, people search for their sense of purpose in several different ways.
These pursuits include business success, wealth, good relationships, intimacy, entertainment, and kindness. While people have attained wealth, relationships, and pleasure, there often remains a deep void inside, an emptiness that seems unfulfilled no matter what they accomplish.
What we’re searching for is our identity and purpose. To find meaning in your life, you must connect with your specific purpose. We all feel this intrinsic, burning desire to know what we're made to do. However, before we can participate, we must first fully understand the purpose of our personal existence.
Genesis gives us an insight into the meaning of life by explaining that God created human beings in His image.
Therefore, we're closer to God than we are to anything else.
Moreover, before the fall of humanity and the curse of sin, the following were true:
It’s important to know these facts to answer the big questions in life. Our short lifespan was meant to be fulfilled through God. Because of the fall into sin and resulting curse on the earth, our fellowship with the Heavenly Father was adversely affected.
Throughout the book of Ecclesiastes, the author sought the meaning of life in many aimless pursuits. He describes the sensation of emptiness he felt through materialism: “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2).
In Ecclesiastes, King Solomon boasts wealth beyond all measure, wisdom beyond any man of his day, hundreds of women, palaces, gardens, the best food, and every form of entertainment imaginable. He said that whatever his heart sought, he pursued, summing up life as though what we see with our eyes are the only things that matter.
The purpose of our creation was far greater than anything we can experience here and now. Life changes who we are as spiritual beings, and it’s far more than social media and materialism.
Solomon said of God, “He has also set eternity in the hearts of men” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). In our hearts, we're aware that the here-and-now isn't all there is.
In Jeremiah 29:11, God says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Jesus gives us an idea of the direction our lives should take in Matthew 7:7–8, guiding us to “keep on asking, keep on seeking, and keep on knocking, for everyone who seeks will find.”
Jesus’s life acts as our example, and in Matthew 20:28, he revealed his purpose. He said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” He also directs us in Matthew 10:8 to “Give freely as we have been given.” In other words, we must have gratitude in order to give.
According to Jesus, the purpose of life is to love and be loved while serving our fellow human beings. Christianity's true mission is service. We're told in the Bible to live with eternal values, such as faith, hope, and love, which are only found in Christ. We must share the love we've received from God by bearing each other's burdens.
Life isn't about sacrifice, nor is it about religious practice or fame. The meaningfulness of life is founded on service, with love for others at the core of it.
In acknowledging the love we've been given, we're left with the capacity to love others. Throughout his teaching, his demeanor toward children and the poor, and of course, by giving his life as a ransom, Jesus was a perfect model of true service.
Some people think their purpose is tied to a job or a calling, but this isn’t the case. Our true purpose in life is to live the way Jesus lived. Our purpose is to help others and love everyone we come across.
Man’s search for meaning will never cease.
But our relationship with God will deepen as we follow His example, serving others to create a better life. You must find yourself and your purpose, not just for your own life and well-being, but for everyone else’s as well.
As we serve others, we become more connected to our fellow man and grow as a community. For here lies the meaning of life, making it worth living.