Why Do You Exist?

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth…

Ephesians 1:11-13

Why do you exist? Of course, there's a historical and biological answer to that question. You exist because you were conceived by your birth parents. You exist because your mother gave birth to you and nothing has ended your life yet.

What I've just written is true, but that's not the answer I'm looking for. When I ask, "Why do you exist?" I'm thinking of a more existential sort of question, such as: What is the purpose of your life?

This is a big question, of course, not the sort of question that can be fully answered in a few words. But, it is worth noting that Ephesians 1:12 answers the "Why do you exist?" question clearly and succinctly in only eight words (in both English and Greek): "might be for the praise of his glory." There it is. You exist for the praise of God's glory. That's why you're here on earth. (Note: Verse 12 speaks specifically of the earliest Christians, but verses 13 and 14 make it clear that the truth of verse 12 applies to all believers. In fact, "to the praise of his glory" appears again at the end of verse 14, now applied to all Christians.)

Some translations choose the verb "to live" over the verb "to be." The NRSV, for example, says that God's purpose for us is that we "might live for the praise of his glory" (1:12). This isn't a bad rendering of the original Greek. But, in fact, the verb used in verse 12 is the "be" verb (einai). This verse is showing us, not just how we should live, but also our very purpose for existing.

I will have more to say about what it means to be for the praise of God's glory. For now, however, I'd like to encourage you to consider this truth. Reflect on it. Pray about it. See what God wants to say to you through his Word today.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Before you read today's reflection, how would you have answered the question: Why do you exist? When you think about your life, your thoughts and feelings, your dreams and actions, why do you exist, really? What are you living for? Why do you exist today?

PRAYER: Gracious God, as I think about why I exist, I'm aware of many purposes and motivations in my life. I exist to love and to be loved. I exist to work hard and make a difference in the world. I exist to help my children become mature, flourishing adults. I exist to bear witness to you in the world. I exist to know you and live in relationship with you. In a way, all of these are true.

Yet, today I am challenged to think more deeply about how I actually think about my reason for living. What is really motivating me each day? What should be defining my existence? Help me, Lord, to be open to whatever you want to say to me. Amen.