My current series about changing the optics for manhood and masculinity continues with more work toward creating a roadmap that develops better men. In my last post, A Man’s Identity: Knowing Who You Are and Whose You Are, I stated the first step to better manhood is knowing the differences between being a “male” and a “man.” Maturity as a man means you learn to use your masculine attributes and experiences for good. In this post, I explain how men can find their purpose, but that men of God realize they have a higher purpose, which is to glorify God in all they do.
Why Do We Need to Find Purpose?
Just as I began the last post, let’s start with the “why” as in why a man needs to find his purpose.
During my research on this topic, the word “responsibility” came up repeatedly. This further validates my belief that proper manhood comes when men accept their responsibility which shows maturity. (Read more about how mature men reject passivity, accept responsibility, and lead courageously in my post, Understanding Biblical Manhood).
At our core, men yearn to be of value in their efforts. Deep down, we want to make a real difference and attain a level of excellence in our life. It’s through a pursuit of excellence in our responsibilities that we often find relevance that reveals our purpose.
Overcoming Passivity with Responsibility
Have you ever known a guy (or been one yourself) who wakes up groggy, blindly showers and dresses for work, sits in morning traffic, and trudges to a job that makes him question the purpose of life?
This guy wonders what exactly he is doing most days. He struggles to find meaning. Each day, he feels like he is dying inside and longs to build something of his own. Devoid of a community of friends, isolated in a job that lacks a sense of accomplishment or responsibility, this guy remains silent and works for nothing more than a paycheck. His life is like a boring merry-go-round rather than the adventure of riding a roller-coaster.
Some people feel the Industrial Revolution changed the way men work and took away our sense of purpose. As technology has changed, physically-active jobs moved towards being desk-centered and meaningless with less motivation to improve. Some feel that society has taken away the opportunities and incentives for accomplishment previously afforded in history. Others believe our culture causes confusion and reluctance in many men. Many readers of the Bible attribute passivity to the sins of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
Regardless of the reason, immature men act passively. They allow circumstances to steer their life. They feel stuck and have no purpose. But avoiding responsibility is dangerous and unhealthy.
Responsibility Leads to Purpose
When a male lets circumstances dictate his life, he is being immature. He’s not becoming a responsible man and may never find his purpose.
As I wrote in Learning to “Take Care of Your Sh*t”, the first thing men must accept is their responsibility for taking care of themselves emotionally, physically, financially, and spiritually. Once he understands this, the rest of his life will flow more naturally. He becomes more mature and is consistent in all areas of his life, in his career, his family, and his possessions. Mature men do not let the world dictate what they do or believe. They accept their responsibility and begin to discover their purpose as a man.
Mature men take a proactive path to life by managing themselves well.
How to Find Your Purpose
Understanding and accepting your responsibilities also come through self-reflection, which is part of the process of maturity in a man. Here are some steps that might help you discover your purpose:
- Get to know yourself: Take time to think about your values, strengths, weaknesses, and passions. This part of discovering your identity as a man will give you a good foundation for understanding what you want out of life and what motivates you. Read the aforementioned post about knowing your identity.
- Consider your life experiences: Think about the experiences that have made an impact on your life, both positive and negative. What have you learned from these experiences and how have they shaped who you are today? Read my previous posts, Addressing Your “Wounds” and Planning Your Manhood to begin to understand your past and how it affected you as a man today. Reflecting on your life experiences helps you determine your purpose so you leave a legacy for others who follow behind you.
- Set goals: Identify short-term and long-term goals. Make sure they align with your values and what you want to achieve in life.
- Seek guidance: Talk to friends, family members, or a mentor or GodBuddy who you trust and respect. Ask for their input and advice on what they think your purpose might be.
- Reflect on your actions: Take a look at how you spend your time and what you do for others. Read my post about Reordering Priorities to help you understand if you are living a life that is true to your values and purpose.
- Try new things: Take risks. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and try new things. This can help you discover new passions and talents that can lead you to your purpose.
Understanding your purpose provides direction, motivation, and fulfillment that can lead to a more satisfying and productive life.
Secular Purpose or Biblical Purpose?
A secular version of finding purpose is to maximize happiness and fulfillment at all costs. It often involves pursuing pleasure, money, and material possessions for personal gain over helping others.
The biblical view is understanding God’s purpose for our life. The Westminster Shorter Catechism, a guiding document for many Christian denominations, states that the chief aim (purpose) of man is to “glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” This means we are to live in obedience to God’s will by loving and serving others. It’s doing what God created us to do and believing in God’s saving grace through Jesus Christ who died on the cross to redeem us from our sins.
The Bible also says a lot about purpose. God’s Word says He has given each of us the responsibility to be fruitful and to have dominion while we are here on earth (Genesis 1:28–29). It tells us God knew us before we were born (Psalm 139:13–16) and has unique plans and purposes for each of us (Jeremiah 29:11). It says God will work through us (Philippians 2:13) and he will make straight our path in life when we acknowledge Him (Proverbs 3:6).
When a man knows his purpose in life is to “glorify God and enjoy Him forever” he learns to follow Jesus, the ultimate role model for manhood.
Men feel most alive, most useful, and most significant when they know their purpose. They also feel most alive and inspired when they grow together and serve their purpose together with other men.
- Why is discovering purpose so important to a man’s life?
- Has there ever been a time when you clearly knew your purpose? What age were you and where were you in your faith journey?
- Describe your current purpose and whether it is different at this stage of life than at an earlier stage.
Next Steps: Place your comments below and forward this post to someone else. Get together with a close friend and discuss the topic. Watch for my next post in two weeks.