By: Rick Warren
This book answers the question, “What on earth am I here for?” as well as “What is Christianity about?” For those of you who are wondering just that, please go to your local library, local bookstore, or go online and get this book. Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. This book has been labeled the “blueprint for Christian Living in the 21st century”, which I can attest to.
So you asked, “What on earth am I here for?” Well, Mr. Warren gives five reasons why he believes, based on scripture, we exist today.
1. You were planned for God’s pleasure
2. You were formed for God’s family
3. You were created to become like Christ
4. You were shaped for serving God
5. You were made for a mission
Planned for God’s Pleasure
This part of the journey towards your purpose for life begins with understanding that your purpose is not about you, it’s about God and the pleasure He has in your existence. God needs our praise and worship and that is one of the reasons why you were created. This part of the book explains the big difference between praise and worship and various ways to do both. Remember when God made Adam in Genesis. He made him and was pleased. When you were born, He was also pleased. You were not a mistake. God used your parents to create you for a specific purpose, and one of them is to bring Him pleasure through praise and worship.
Formed for God’s family
God allows you to exist because He wants you to be a part of His family which is the church. Regardless of your genetics or family history, He wants to make a fresh start with you and make you part of His family which is eternal. “God has reserved a priceless inheritance for his children. It is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.” He wants very much to have a relationship with you, and see you build healthy relationships with other Christians. It is important that we join a church and become active members, and not mindless spectators. The church needs you to be the example of true Christianity. No church is perfect. If you find one please don’t invite me. I would not fit in, because I am not perfect!
Created to Become like Christ
This is where things become tricky. Becoming like Christ means to do things Jesus would do with the help of God. People tend to let culture, family upbringing, or what friends or co-workers may say or think affect how they handle situations. God understands that our default is to do the opposite of what Christ would do in most situations. However, practice does make perfect. Practice becoming like Christ when challenged to do the opposite and lash out or be rude or mean. You will please the Lord in more ways than you can imagine. This part of the book discusses temptation and how to handle it in a Christ-like way. That information really helped change my life because most of our lives are spent by God testing us and building our character through temptations. I love that this book describes temptation as the opportunity to make a good or bad choice, and grow ourselves spiritually.
Shaped for Serving God
We serve God by providing a service to others. God gave you a talent or skill that you should be using to help others as part of your ministry to the world. Your ministry should be something you are passionate about. Think of something that you do in your spare time that you love to do. For me, its reading, writing, and sharing things I learn from it. These are talents that come natural for me, and can be perfected with practice and learning. You may be passionate about human rights, singing, or dancing. These talents can be perfected and used to serve God. God shapes our talents and experiences in all sorts of ways. God may allow you to go through bad things in life, but He will be there with you the whole while to bring you out so that you can use those experiences to shape your talents and discover passion. Example: A woman who experiences abuse is being shaped to develop a passion for stopping domestic violence. This passion to stop domestic violence is how God uses us as His voice to tell the world the error of their ways.
Made for a Mission
Your mission in life should be to spread the word of God to all non-believers around you. My favorite part of this book is when Pastor Warren describes ministering the word of God as a witness. He says that Christians are to be a witness for Jesus Christ. A witness in court is someone who describes what they saw or experienced. A witness is not an attorney, trying to prove someone wrong or make a point. This is where Christians turn so many people off from ever wanting to experience a bond with Christ. Our mission is to walk by example and let our actions speak our faith to others. Be ready for people to ask you where you get your happiness from so that you can then witness what Jesus Christ did for you with love and respect.
One thing that I learned about myself after reading this book is that I am selfish! I thought this book would tell me how to find a career, or tell me what to look for in a husband. Instead, it taught me how to be a better Christian which is the center of success in all aspects of life. Christianity really isn’t a religion, it’s a lifestyle that was introduced to the world by Jesus to simplify our lives.
After reading this book, I now understand how to center my life around Christ and make my life purposeful and meaningful. I am an active member at Berean Christian Church here in Atlanta, GA where I can develop my character and explore any hidden talents. Although I have my flaws, I try hard to be the best example of Christ that I can. I now have a true passion for Christ and plan to use my writing and interpersonal communication skills as my ministry. Having previously dealt with a multitude of issues such as insecurity, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and even suicide, my passion is to help those who are suffering overcome these issues just as I have. Life is beautiful and I cherish every day that I get to wake up and learn scripture, practice what I’ve learned from scripture, and help others learn what I know upon their request.
You can read each chapter in 20 minutes, and if you read a chapter a day you will finish the book in 40 days. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a Christian or would like to know the truth about Christianity. I asked my niece to read it because I had heard how good this book was at helping people find themselves, but I had never read it myself. I felt like a hypocrite, so I read the book too. Who ever would have thought I would learn something by taking my own advice! The Lord works in mysterious ways. This book helped me change my lifestyle forever and I hope it will inspire you as well.