There’s a question we ask at two crucial moments in our lives. First, the question comes about when we’re curious to know what God has planned for our futures. Secondly, we ask the question when faced with such extreme lamenting, we wonder if we should continue living.
Consider this, college students debate their majors just before entering into a career field. Adults wonder about where they should live and whether to start a family. Others among us struggle with suicidal ideations, questioning the merits of life compared to all the pitfalls.
What all these people have in common is searching for a life with purpose.
“After this, Job began to speak and cursed the day he was born. He said: May the day I was born perish, and the night that said, ‘A boy is conceived.’ If only that day had turned to darkness! May God above not care about it, or light shine on it.” (Job 3:1-4)
There was purpose in Job’s life, purpose even in his suffering. At the time, however, he couldn’t see the full picture. Many of us have been there before too. We tore at our clothes, punched the wall, wailed, and considered giving up on life. Some of us were thriving in good seasons, but wondered what was coming next, if anything. We wondered if this was all there was to life. Then we asked the question:
Why am I alive?
In other words, what is my purpose? Did God put me here on this earth, in this city, at this job, in this family, for a reason? Is there a reason for my existence?
The short answer is yes, there is intentionality behind our existence. Answering the why is a bit more complicated. No matter our path to asking the question, finding an answer is vital to living life with purpose. And if we’re Christian, answering the question helps us live life in tandem with God’s will.
God’s Design for Your Life
How do we know God has given each of us a unique purpose? There are clues to this conclusion at different points in the Bible. Here are a few:
“For it was you who created my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise you because I have been remarkably and wondrously made.” (Psalm 139:13-14)
God designed us with purpose from the moment we were just cells inside of our mother’s womb. He knit us together, considering our physicality, mentality, and personality. Our parents’ genes offered their own effect, but the Lord had the final say.
Now that we know God designed our bodies, what about our talents and vocations?
“Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God.” (1 Peter 4:10)
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
God intentionally blessed us with certain gifts such as writing, cooking, organizing, communicating, and more. How we use these gifts is dependent on us, but the gifts are granted from above. This is further evidence of God’s intricate and unique handling of our lives.
These gifts are not always readily obvious, but through experiences, we can make many discoveries.
From designing our insides to giving us talents, all of this serves as evidence of God affecting our lives. These examples reflect just upon us as individuals, though. What about our relationships with other people and the external circumstances we face, the good and bad things that happen to us?
“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Most of the situations we encounter in life happen outside of our control. For example, we control how many job applications we send out, but cannot control whether or not we are hired. We can invest ourselves in a dating relationship but don’t decide whether or not the relationship ultimately works. Or consider that we are born into families, and don’t choose our family’s structure or wellbeing.
Despite where we lack control, God uses all things for good on behalf of His children. All things. He has a deep influence on our lives, including the situations we deal with on a daily basis. With such oversight, God is the most qualified to answer our starting question.
So again, we ask the question, why am I alive?
Why Am I Alive?
With the aforementioned verses in mind, we can answer this question with three different ideas:
One reason we are alive is to serve. God’s design for our life does not involve living for ourselves. We are called to use our gifts in service to Him and other people. And we serve no matter where our occupation or place is in society. Rich people can serve, as can the poor. The CEO of a business can serve, as can a janitor.
Whatever we use our gifts to do, godly service means acting in a way that brings the Lord honor.
We have the option of using gifts for personal gain. Strong communicators can swindle people out of money. Attractive people could make a living selling their bodies. Yet, these acts of service are selfish and don’t ultimately benefit God or anyone involved.
As Christians, our lives should point back to God. Worshiping Him means intentionally honoring God through word and deed. Much like the intentionality He used in designing our lives, we are intentional about how we worship.
That’s why we call Christian music “worship” music. The music and lyrics are intentionally designed to point others and ourselves back to God in a reverential way.
According to Jesus, the greatest commandment is to love God with all of our being, and the second is to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:34-40). God has set us upon the earth with a mission to serve, worship, and love. The word “love” means to will the good of the other person, not just affirming them, but also offering challenges when needed. That’s what Jesus does for us. He affirms our strengths and blesses us, but He is also willing to condemn sin.
We reveal love in what we say and what we do, and much like the first two reasons for being alive, we can decide to love or not. A life lived with love will be apparent to others and to God.
Much like Job, sometimes we know why we’re alive, but sometimes we struggle to remember. Often what clouds our judgment is present-day suffering. Some of us are losing children to wayward trends, failing in our marriages, falling into addiction, struggling to find work, and other things.
All of this can make us doubt and wonder, why are we alive? We may speak like Job and curse the day we were born. But no matter how far we fall, we can get back up. We can ask the question again and again and find the answer once more.
Then when we can turn to Scripture to remind ourselves of truth. Those relevant verses will point us back to God and the intricate, intimate role He plays in our lives. He’s been a teacher, father, comforter, guide, and more. And He has firmly answered our question. The next question is, do we believe Him?
Aaron Brown is a freelance writer, hip-hop dance teacher, and visual artist, living in Virginia. He currently contributes work to iBelieve, Crosswalk, and supports various clients through the platform Upwork. He’s an outside-the-box thinker with a penchant for challenging the status quo. Check out his short story “Serenity.”
Scripture tells us that God formed prophets in the womb, and knew them before they were born, and it tells us that the followers of Christ have purpose, but does not specifically state that God formed everyone with a purpose. My view of God is that He was the Ultimate Engineer, and created everything so well that it all unfolded without Him having to get directly involved. The Bible says that God sees every sparrow that falls, but does not say He is responsible for that fall. I was born because my parents exercised the free will given by God, got married, and raised children. Free will is both God’s greatest gift to us, and our greatest curse. Use it wisely, and you will likely be doing God’s work, but use it poorly, and you and/or others will suffer the consequences.
Was it really free will when God engineered the human hormone system, designed each gender with a specific part that desires the other gender? I submit that it was not free will when your daddy dipped his wick in your mommy. It was inevitable! By the way, God does say he has a plan for us, and I am pretty sure that plan includes when we go back to him. He is Lord over the Spirit of Death, and God alone tells that spirit when it can take you.
Honestly, I have never asked this question “Why am I alive?” The way I figure it, I am alive because he breathed life into me and wants me alive. I will die when my plan is complete. My purpose will only be known at the moment of my death when I can look back on the totality of my life and the roles that I played. God is responsible for everything in between. My job is to hear Him and do what He wishes. End of story.