Day 1: It All Starts with God
Author Rick Warren begins by reminding readers their time on this planet is a direct result of God’s will. He created us to serve his purpose, and focusing on our hopes, dreams, and goals will never lead us to discovering our earthly purpose. The answer to knowing your life’s purpose is not within you—it is within God.
There are only two ways to go about discovering your purpose: speculation and revelation. Warren looks first at speculation, as he thinks this is what most people choose—the self-help route. They guess. They waffle. They wonder. They read lots of books that claim to provide important answers. They grasp at straws trying to find their higher purpose—to no avail. Speculation doesn’t work.
Fortunately there’s another option: revelation. We can look to God to help us understand. His teachings reveal our five purposes, providing us with an “Owner’s Manual” of sorts for living our best lives. It is only through recognizing we are here because God put us here—we exist by and for God—that we can begin to make sense of our purpose.
Need to Know: It’s not about you … it’s about God.
Day 2: You Are Not an Accident
God created us on purpose and for a purpose. He created each of us for his purpose.
He decided your how, when, where, and why before you were even born. Make no mistake, he didn’t need to create you, dear reader. He wanted to create you, because God is love. And he created you to exist in that love.
Need to Know:
You are here for a reason … you are not an accident.
Day 3: What Drives Your Life?
Everyone’s life is driven by something. Warren says the five most common drivers are:
- Guilt: Are you running from regrets and hiding your shame? The author tells us people who are driven by guilt are “manipulated by memories.” Consciously or unconsciously, people driven by their guilt are allowing the past to rule the present. But God is all about new beginnings and fresh starts. And while we are, each of us, a product of our past, we don’t have to remain so in our present.
- Resentment and anger: Do you hold onto old hurts? Do you have a hard time forgiving those you believe have wronged you? Resentment hurts you much more than it hurts anyone else. By forgiving your transgressors you are releasing yourself from the pain and anger. They can only continue to hurt you if you continue to stew.
- Fear: Do you play it safe more often than not? Do you worry about things you can’t control (which is practically everything)? Warren says that if you’re driven by fear, you’re in a self-imposed prison and it’s holding you back from realizing God’s plan for you.
- Materialism: Do you “desire to acquire”? Warren reminds us our self-worth and our net worth are not one and the same. Material goods will not bring us security. Security manifests through your relationship with God.
- Need for approval: Do you do things just because you want to be liked? Do you worry about what others think of you? Are you afraid of disappointing people? Being controlled by what others think is the surest way to miss your God-given purpose. Warren reminds us that Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters.” (Matthew 6:24 NLT)
Warren follows the five drivers with five benefits to living a purpose-driven life:
- Without purpose, life has no meaning. Adding a purpose gives us hope.
- Living a purpose-driven life simplifies things and makes the decision-making process much less stressful.
- Purpose adds focus to our lives, allowing us to concentrate our energies and efforts on things that really matter to us.
- Purpose motivates us and energizes us to be our best selves.
- A purpose-driven life prepares us for eternity by ensuring we don’t waste time creating our own earthly legacy, but instead focus on creating an eternal legacy.
Need to Know: God’s two crucial, eternal questions:
- “What did you do with my Son, Jesus Christ?”
- “What did you do with what I gave you?”
Day 4: Made to Last Forever
Warren tells us Christians will spend far longer on the other side of death—in eternity—than in the here and now. Earth is merely a “staging area” for the real show, which is your life in eternity. And while life here on earth offers us many options for living, eternity offers only two: heaven and hell. Your relationship with God, while on this planet, directly determines your eternal future.
Once we realize there’s more to life than the here and now, we begin to live differently. Our priorities shift and our values change. When we realize death is not the end, but merely a transition to eternity—with eternal consequences—every move we make resonates deeply.
Need to Know: Warren says need to think more about eternity, not less. If we have a relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, we need not fear death. It may be the end of our time on earth, but it will not be the end of us.
Day 5: Seeing Life from God’s View
What you see is what you get. Or, as Warren says, the way you view your life is what shapes your life. When you picture your life, what image comes to mind? This image is your “life metaphor” according to Warren, and he says this image represents the view you hold of the world, the way you expect the world to work.
Your life metaphor could be influenced by any number of things and can manifest in myriad ways. Maybe you think life is a Ferris wheel, sometimes up, sometimes down, and sometimes in the middle ground. If this is you, you’re likely ready to go with the flow. Maybe you think life is a battlefield, in which case you’re probably focused on bringing home the big win.
The Bible offers three metaphors which reflect God’s view of life: Life on earth is a test; Life on earth is a trust; Life on earth is a temporary assignment. On Day 5, Warren shares two of the three.
God is always testing us. He tests our character, our faith, our love, our integrity, and our loyalty. When we realize this, we understand that everything we do matters. The good news? God wants us to pass. And so the tests he gives us are never greater than the grace he’s given us to pass them.
It’s important to understand money is both a test and a trust. And how we handle our money on earth has a direct correlation to the richness of our spiritual blessings in eternity.
God has entrusted the care of his earth and everything on it, to us. We are privileged to take care of his “stuff” while we are here. And at the end of our lives, God will evaluate and reward us based on how well we took care of things he entrusted us to care for.
Need to Know: It’s important to identify your life metaphor so you can better understand what’s important to you.
Day 6: Life Is a Temporary Assignment
To make the most of our time here on earth, we must remember two things: Life is very brief and life on earth is a temporary residence—we are not meant to be here forever. In fact, to keep us from becoming too attached to earth, God allows us to feel discontent here. Not feeling euphoric on this planet? You’re not meant to! God saved the euphoria for eternity. Remember, in the eyes of God, the greatest heroes are not the ones who are ridiculously successful here on earth, but those who recognize life is a temporary assignment and live it fa...