so whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. [2 corinthians 5:9]
we talk a lot about mission. being on mission. being a missionary in our everyday lives. living out our mission. but what does it mean? what is our mission and purpose? or as paul puts it, our aim?
the westminster catechism puts it this way. “what is the chief end of man?” and then answers its own question with, “the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” perhaps more simply put, our purpose in life is to glorify God and be satisfied in his glory.
this might sound like it’s too simple. like it falls short of all the rules and regulations laid out in scripture or in the church. like it should include more charity, and love, and generosity to others. how could our aim in life be so simple? the answer is also simple, and i love this way that John piper puts it. “the chief end of God is to glorify God and enjoy himself forever.” God exists for his own utmost glory. everything he does is for his own glory, and if you think that sounds contrary to what he calls us to, you’d be right. we’re not called to self glorification because we’re not deserving of it. he exists for self glorification because he IS worthy of it! and he’s the only one who is worthy of it. (isaiah 42:8, revelation 4:11)
so why did God make man? bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom i created for my glory, whom i formed and made. (isaiah 43:6-7) since God does everything for his glory, the creation and existence of man is for his glory. so our mission is exactly the same as God’s mission. it’s our purpose here on this earth, and it will be our purpose in our eternal home in heaven in the presence of the Lord for all eternity.
piper says when bringing up this topic, people often ask, “that doesn’t sound like the loving and compassionate God i’ve been told about. he sounds cold and distant.” that’s where the second part of our purpose comes in. to “enjoy him forever.” God could give us everything we want in life but withhold his glory from us. that would be a cold and distant God. instead, he gives us, as his children, the only thing that could ever satisfy us. himself. his glory is all satisfying. so when we seek his glory, we are satisfied. and when we are satisfied in his glory, we glorify him.
so what does this beautiful cycle look like played out in our lives? well, the outpouring of our satisfaction in God’s glory leads us to love his word, his ways, his bride. it leads to the Spirit of God putting his mark on us. love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. (gal 5:22) it leads to loving those around us, generosity toward others, and it leads to the innate desire to spread God’s glory to the ends of the earth. we’ve tasted his satisfaction, now we desire to share it.
today, ask the Lord to reveal to you any aim you’re living out that doesn’t align with his. does your current daily life point to the chief end for which you were created? ask him what needs to go. ask him for more of his glory. his presence. and be satisfied in him.
~ arwen eastman