What Is The Meaning of Life

We live in the world and it is a powerful force in all of our lives.

What reveals the nature of human intelligence more accurately than the art, the skill, the curiosity to ask questions? It seems that we are naturally driven by the desire to know the truth about things. Asking better and better questions helps us to navigate our ways through the realities of life. They help us to come to know ourselves, the world around us and, ultimately, the meaning and purpose of our individual lives. God gave us intellect, free will, and a conscience. We do not come into the world fully programmed, but we are fully equipped with all that we need to grow and to come to know what is important, what is our proper destiny and our proper role in life.

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Some of the most important questions we ask are, What is the meaning of life? Why am I here? What is my purpose? Of course, the world offers its answers to these questions quite readily, and often very attractively, but are they the right answers for us? Do they lead us to the right ends by the right means? Christian faith also offers answers to these questions. We find them in the scriptures and the teachings of the church, in our communal worship, and in prayer. And every day brings us face to face with difficult, and ultimately important, challenges to discern which of these answers are true? Which of these answers lead us to discover our deepest meaning and purpose in this life?

The world certainly has its answers to these questions. It often identifies certain goals such as, achieving wealth and financial independence, or being a winner in the competition game, being number one, gaining power or fame. The world makes these goals seem very attractive, and they appeal instantly to the senses, to the ego, and to the feeling of being “successful” in life. Of course, these things are not bad or evil, in and of themselves, but do they really help us to fulfill our deepest human need for ultimate meaning and purpose, or do they fall short?

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On the other hand, Christian faith tells us that we are made in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:27), that he “made [us] little lower than the angels (Ps. 8:5), that we are children of God (Gal. 3:26). We know that we are fallen, that we are sinners, yet that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (Jn. 3:16). We believe that Jesus conquered sin and death, once and for all, on the cross; that his desire for us is that we will live with him forever in heaven. And we know that he has given us the means to be able to perceive and to achieve these things. He has given us the wisdom of his law in the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:2-17 and Deut. 5:6-21), in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew, chapters 5 through 7), in the Two Great Commandments (Mt. 22:34-40) and in his final commandment (Jn. 13:34).

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We live in the world and it is a powerful force in all of our lives. It presents many “role models” of its own ideals of success, meaning, and purpose. As Christians living in the world we also have a role model in Jesus. We have role models in the Apostles and the saints, as well. The world, in its blindness, sees itself in a deadly serious competition with Jesus and his way and often responds by simply ignoring, or ridiculing, or despising Jesus and his followers. But those who question and truly seek to know the answers to their questions about the meaning of their lives in prayer, in scripture, and in asking those whose lives model Jesus’ way in the here and now, ultimately find the deepest and truest answers to the real meaning and purpose of their lives. They come to know that the ultimate meaning of life is not in material things, or in success, or in power, or in fame, but in knowing, loving, and serving God, their neighbor, and creation, with all of their heart, mind, soul, and strength. We do this by living the Good News to the world by the way we live our lives.

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