You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.
– John 15:16, NIV
I remember when I was about nine or ten years old I used to think a lot about what life could mean – why we exist. I enjoyed reading the Bible but it seemed so unrealistic, and the things that happened in the Bible did not seem to happen in ‘real life’ – so I decided that the Bible was not true. I still enjoyed reading it, but thought of it like a favourite fictional book rather than Truth. I concluded that since the Bible could not be true, Christianity and all its claims were also false. This was solidified in my mind when on a number of occasions I asked questions in church after the services and was patronised, told to be quiet and do some colouring. I resented having to go to church, and decided that there was no truth in Christianity.
I briefly considered exploring other religions, at the grand old age of ten, but decided that since there were so many options and no way to know which is true, it would not be worth bothering. I spent a great deal of time thinking about this – about how life seems to have little meaning – and I was determined to find some purpose to life, but I came to no conclusions.
Then when I was eleven, a friend died of cancer. She was two years older than I was, and she was a committed Christian. Before she died she kept telling people not to be sad for her because she was excited to go and be with Jesus. Perhaps out of respect for her, and out of curiosity, I kept on reading the Bible and began reading it very regularly, even though I still doubted its truth. I liked the stories, and the imagery, and the strange poetry within it.
A year or so later I ended up going on a church youth weekend away to a small hotel in Whitby, and a few friends were going. My primary reason for going was to spend time on the beach and to stay in a hotel – but I was fairly interested in what the youth leader would have to say. On the Saturday night there was a small youth service in the lounge of the place where we were staying, and the youth leader gave a talk on the cross and how Jesus is the only one who can give our lives meaning and purpose. This was exactly what I needed to hear, and at the end I found myself enthusiastically responding to the altar call. I knelt at the large wooden cross at the front of the room and said to God in my head that if it was true that He would give me purpose and give my life meaning, then I would live entirely for Him.
Nobody prayed with me or spoke to me about it, but when I returned to my room I found that someone had left a New Testament on my bed. I remember opening it at random to the book of Acts and reading some of the stories that were so familiar to me, but this time getting very excited as if reading them with new eyes: I was suddenly aware that since I now follow the God who did all these amazing things in the Bible, those things would start to happen in my life too. I began to realise that night that if God is the purpose for my life, and I am His, then every moment of every day of my life must be lived for Him, knowing that He is with me and has a plan for me and wants to use me. My life is not my own – I belong to Him.
Why are we here? What is our purpose? May we surrender our hearts and our lives into God’s hands, and allow Him to shape us and be our purpose, giving our lives meaning. May we surrender to Him, and choose to live our lives on purpose.
Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and a witness of what you have seen and will see of me.
– Acts 26:16, NIV
Lord God, the Source of my life
Thank You for giving my life meaning.
Thank You that You have a plan and a purpose for me, and that You want to use me.
Please teach me to seek You, and to live with Your plans and purposes in mind.
Help me to recognise that You are the One who gives my life meaning.
Help me to live to please You, not myself.
Help me to seek You and serve You and love You with all my heart.