A professor at a world-renowned American university regularly inquired at the beginning of his course, “If you could ask God one question, what would it be?” Students routinely answered that they’d ask for money or material things. But on one occasion a student responded, “I’d ask God, What’s the purpose of my life?” This was right after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S.
In the wake of cataclysmic events such as 9/11, horrific campus violence, huge earthquakes, killer hurricanes, devastating tsunamis, and unprecedented economic collapse, questions about life that lie deep down in us make their way to the surface.
Eventually the trauma subsides, and life, as it must, goes on. We’re occupied with the usual college pursuits of studies, sports, a busy social life, and a plethora of campus activities. But in moments of quiet reflection, if we’re honest with ourselves, the big question haunts us—What is the meaning of my life?
Students are attending college in an era of unprecedented social liberation, technological innovation, and instant access to information. The Internet and social media seem to make the world a smaller, more connected place. And yet true global peace eludes mankind as hostilities increase on nearly every continent. Continued economic upheaval, war, injustices, environmental dangers, and societal violence plague the modern world and make us wonder what it’s all about.
The student who wanted to ask God about the purpose of his life isn’t alone in his perplexity. Where is the answer? America’s institutions of higher learning are known for advocating atheism, moral relativism, and a mind-boggling array of world philosophies. This atmosphere encourages students to search into everything but the Bible, which is routinely scorned as being outdated or fictional. Those who read it and believe its words are thought to be superstitious, ignorant, or intellectually weak.
Yet it is the Bible that answers the ultimate question of life. It unlocks the mysteries of God, the universe, and our existence. The Bible shows us that God created us in a particular way—as vessels to contain Him and to express Him. Just as a glove is made in the shape of a hand with the sole purpose of containing the hand, we were made in the image of God with the sole purpose of containing and expressing Him. No wonder engaging in humanitarian work, adopting noble causes, or immersing ourselves in entertainment fails to fill the deep void in us. We weren’t created for these things. Instead of being fulfilled, we feel aimless, meaningless, and futile. Until God becomes our content, we are empty and purposeless.
For God to be our content, He became a man, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was God Himself who lived a perfect, sinless life on this earth. He gave up His life for us by being crucified to redeem us and to wash us of all our sins. Not only so, He was raised from the dead, and in resurrection He became the life-giving Spirit. As the life-giving Spirit, He is everywhere and available to everyone, like the air. He will enter anyone who believes in Him. When He comes into us, He fills us with Himself as the unique content that we as vessels were created for. He and we are a perfect match. Our inner emptiness is filled. We become people whose lives are meaningful and purposeful, containing God and expressing God. This is the meaning of human life.
Finding the meaning of our life begins with receiving the Lord Jesus. He is with you as you read this, desiring to come into you. You can receive Him by opening to Him in prayer right now:
“Lord Jesus, thank You for making me as a vessel to contain You. Thank You for dying for me. Lord, forgive me of all my sins. I believe in You and I receive You. Lord Jesus, come into me. Thank You for filling me with Yourself. Amen.”
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