Trash the Self-Help Books: Your Life Is Not About You

You won't discover your life's meaning by looking within you. You were made for God, not vice versa.

In his bestselling book "The Purpose-Driven Life," megachurch pastor and author Rick Warren enumerates five reasons why people are on this earth. We're here: 1) For God's pleasure; 2) For God's family; 3) To become like Christ; To serve God; 5) For a mission. It's when we realize these purposes for our existence that we'll start living, says Warren.

Reprinted with permission of Zondervan.


It's not about you.



The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It's far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.



The search for the purpose of life has puzzled people for thousands of years. That's because we typically begin at the wrong starting point--ourselves. We ask self-centered questions like What do I want to be? What should I do with my life? What are my goals, my ambitions, my dreams for my future? But focusing on ourselves will never reveal our life's purpose. The Bible says, "It is God who directs the lives of his creatures; everyone’s life is in his power."

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Contrary to what many popular books, movies, and seminars tell you, you won't discover your life's meaning by looking within yourself. You've probably tried that already. You didn't create yourself, so there is no way you can tell yourself what you were created for! If I handed you an invention you had never seen before, you wouldn't know its purpose, and the invention itself wouldn't be able to tell you either. Only the creator or the owner's manual could reveal its purpose.

I once got lost in the mountains. When I stopped to ask for directions to the campsite, I was told, "You can't get there from here. You must start from the other side of the mountain!" In the same way, you cannot arrive at your life's purpose by starting with a focus on yourself. You must begin with God, your Creator. You exist only because God wills that you exist. You were made by God and for God--and until you understand that, life will never make sense. It is only in God that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny. Every other path leads to a dead end.

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Rick Warren
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