Why did God place me on this earth? What purpose does he have in mind for me?

These are questions every person needs to ask, because they are of the greatest importance. They are especially important for young adults as they look forward in life.

I know people my age who haven’t figured this out yet. And as the old adage says, if you aim at nothing, you are bound to hit it. I have met a lot of people who have aimed at nothing with their lives.

Some would say they never want to get old; they want to be forever young. In fact, that is the theme song of their lives. They can never have too much tofu or green tea in their diets. But they are still getting old, and they will have to deal with it. Time is passing by quickly.

So instead of wanting more time, what we really need to be asking ourselves is, what are we doing with the time we already have?

Medical science has made great strides in extending our lives through life-saving drugs and operations. And though medical science can add years to our lives, they cannot add life to our years. Only God can do that. He wants us to have a life with purpose and meaning. So living long is not necessarily the objective. Rather, the objective should be to live in such a way that we bring glory to God and find his purpose and plan for our lives.

Some years ago there was a man named Jim Eliot who went to Ecuador to preach the gospel to an indigenous tribe. He was killed in his attempt to do that. But in his journal he had written, “I seek not a long life, but a full one like you, Lord Jesus.” Jim Eliot lived a relatively short life, but it was full, and it was meaningful.

God has placed us on earth for two primary reasons. The first is to know God. Revelation 4:11 says of God, “For you created all things, and they exist because you created what you pleased” (NLT). We are here to be in harmony and fellowship with the God who made us and to bring pleasure to him.

The second reason God has placed us on earth is to glorify him. And how do we glorify God? Jesus said, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit” (John 15:8 NIV). He also said, “By their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:20 NKJV).

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What is this fruit Jesus was talking about? And how do we determine whether we have this fruit in our own lives so we can properly glorify God with the time and resources he has given to each one of us?

We find the answer in Luke 6, where Jesus said, “People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (verses 44–45 NIV).

What we say has a powerful effect on others. The Bible says the tongue has the power of life and death (see Proverbs 18:21). More people have died by the power of the tongue than by any other weapon man has ever devised.

We have safety standards for practically everything in our country today. We have gun control. We have emissions control. But what we need is tongue control, because we can destroy people with words.

Yet take a man who has dedicated his tongue to God, and look at what he has done – a man like Billy Graham, who has reached countless thousands, even millions, with the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ. What we say will have an effect on others. What you say is fruit. And when we say the right things, that is bringing forth fruit for God.

Praising and thanking God is another kind of spiritual fruit. The Bible says in Hebrews, “Let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly profess his name” (13:15 NIV). You may feel gratitude and praise in your heart toward God, but you need to say it. God wants to hear it from you. Take those lips that have the potential for great destruction and instead offer them to the glory of God.

A change in our conduct and character is also a kind of spiritual fruit. According to Galatians 5, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (verse 22 NIV).

These things should be in the life of a person who is walking with God – evidence of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. But if the opposite of this is true, then something is wrong. If instead of love there is hatred, bitterness, prejudice and bigotry, if instead of joy there is gloom, if instead of peace there is turmoil and guilt, if instead of gentleness, there is harshness and impatience, if instead of faith there is worry, if instead of meekness there is pride and arrogance, if instead of self-control you find yourself a victim of your own passions, then either you don’t know God at all, or you are living outside of fellowship with Him.

Are you thinking about what you are saying with your words? Are you worshiping God with your lips? Has there been a change in your conduct and character?

Jesus has told us what our lives really should be about and what our purpose really should be. And our abundant life on earth is directly connected to our eternal life in heaven.

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