Purpose – How do we know?

Purpose – How do we know? August 15, 2022

The pure heart is led by God into the many areas that help ourselves, our families and others. We aren’t in this world to have everything our way and gorge ourselves on every selfish desire. The purer desires bring life satisfaction while also benefiting others. Often helping others brings even more life satisfaction.

Shenandoah National Park Helping Hand on Old Rag Image by Katy Cain on Flickr
Shenandoah National Park
Helping Hand on Old Rag
Image by Katy Cain on Flickr

“… for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” – Philippians 2:13 (NASB)

Our core values are what compel us to do things. Okay if someone says they will take away our pay or do us harm, that’s extrinsic motivation, and not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about what makes people “tick.” What drives them. And how can they live a more satisfying life?

Core values are key. Keeping them uncluttered from the illusions of life that sound satisfying but are traps is a never ending task. The desires of the heart (psyche: mind, soul) are easily confounded.

Confound these desires!

Jesus said, “… for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Probably once a day my thoughts turn to why I don’t put my effort into making more money. Money seems to be key to everything. And as a practical matter it’s important. Security is a core value and reaching our dreams is a core value.

The Apostle Paul said to Timothy, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” – 1 Timothy 6:10 (NASB)

Money is probably the most alluring deception of our time. It’s essential, but it can turn into a merciless taskmaster and preoccupy our lives.

It isn’t just money that’s an illusion. Fame, keeping up with the Joneses, sex (attention from others), are some of the things that keep people always wanting more and never satisfied. Getting these things doesn’t lead to life satisfaction, it leads to addiction and endless preoccupation. These are the idols (idolatry) of our time.

Noble thoughts and reality

I would like to win the lottery. Not the mega millions that would keep me endlessly busy, but enough to satisfy needs so I don’t have those thoughts once a day. I have enough. I’m satisfied with what I do have, but sometimes want to pay for a course I would like to take or take a trip without stretching the budget out of shape.

In the movie It’s A Wonderful life, George Bailey is discouraged that life hasn’t turned out the way he dreamed, and faced with jail over misplaced money. His guardian angel says, “We don’t use money in Heaven.” Bailey replies, “Comes in pretty handy down here, bub.” When Bailey realizes how much of his life he would be without if he hadn’t been born, and what others would be without, he goes home and celebrates, “Isn’t it wonderful, I’m going to jail!” He hugs his wife and runs upstairs to see his daughter. The brother he saved from drowning is there. In so many ways we positively impact the lives of others.

Everything costs money in this life. If we don’t have it, we do without. If you lose your job and don’t pay for housing, they set your furniture out on the curb and lock you out, children and all. Money is mean – well the way we value money in the US is mean.

While Jesus says that we are better than the birds of the air who find food and shelter, we prefer to make that impossible unless you go to work and get money to pay for those things. It’s a fact of life just like debtor slaves were in Jesus’ time.

Often our purpose in life is difficult to achieve because of obstacles like money. In those situations we find other ways to accomplish them.

Clarity from illusions

How do we clarify our thoughts so that they are free from the illusions of life that snag us? Don’t chase after them.

The Apostle Paul said, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Let your mind dwell on whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute. This will keep us in a good and pure frame of mind so that we are in tune to our core desires that God helps form within us.

My heroes

Farmers who toil in all kinds of weather, working long hours, often bone wearying, to put food on our tables, with little thanks. They are at the top of my list.

Carpenters who build or remodel houses, giving us shelter and pleasing surroundings.

Medical personnel who alleviate symptoms and give us longer lives, while often working double 12-hour shifts and exposing themselves to endless diseases.

Sanitation and household workers who take care of our endless garbage and sewage so that we are freer from disease and don’t have to do them, and who keep our buildings and streets clean.

Service personnel who provide skilled services to our homes and vehicles so that we can keep on keeping on.

Musicians, actors, artists, and writers who bring us awesome music and entertainment.

Women who nurture children and keep 80% of the world working.

Teachers who help us understand life and be on top of it.

Ministers who help people have a wider perspective and often see wisdom, helping comfort and guide to better things.

Writers-communicators who can both entertain and inform.

Journalists who try very hard to get to the heart of events and inform us about what is going on despite the dull roar of those opposed.

People who do economic development in rural areas and pockets of poverty, where it’s badly needed.

Social service workers who help people understand their situations better to live with them.

Those who mentor others or help them learn things that help their lives and careers.

Military, delivery drivers, loggers, police, and firemen who risk their lives and endure harsh conditions so we can be safe and have comfortable lives.

The many people who help others.

Etc. (I know I left out a lot of people.)

We can all be heroes and often are. The small things usually help more than the big things. None of us are above these things no matter how much money or talent or skill we have – these things are life. Without our heroes the world wouldn’t work.

(My list of heroes was first published by me on Facebook.)


“In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:6 (NASB)

We often don’t realize the importance of our place in the world. We don’t get glory or high pay or even thanks. We get taken for granted. But God gives us the desire to do things and makes a path for us into work that is good. All work is good. Everything makes a contribution to life and others.

I don’t measure what I do by number of followers or money or similar measures of success. I just know that I might have helped one person. That’s valuable enough. That’s the one God gave me to help.

We each have to walk our own path. No one can walk it for us. We have to find that path by knowing our hearts and minds, that is our core values that compel us to do things. We have to keep our mind uncluttered from the trappings constantly shoved in our face and would ensnare us into things that are just slightly removed from useless and are even destructive.

Series links

Meaning and Purpose series – What is meaning?

Being Valued

How Core Values Are Formed

Feeling undeserving except of punishment

Becoming – Reinventing Yourself

Purpose – How do we know?


Our answer is God. God’s answer is us.

–              Dorian

About Dorian Scott Cole
Additional information about the author is on the About tab. You can read more about the author here.

Browse Our Archives