What is the meaning of life? That's the real question, isn't it? What is the point of living on this messed up planet? Do we have a purpose for getting up each morning? Is it possible to find real satisfaction and fulfillment in life? Are we significant at all?
Never fear. If you've stopped to even think about these questions, you're a step ahead of most people. ☺ Do you realize how many adults look back on their lives and wonder why everything has fallen apart? Their relationships are shallow and meaningless. Their families are shells of happiness on the outside but filled with hurt on the inside. They go to their jobs like they're a prison sentence, serving only as a means to an end. But what end? Money may buy lots of stuff, but stuff can only make a person happy for so long. When most people get to the top of their game, having checked off all their goals, they find out there's nothing left and ask themselves, "What am I supposed to do now?"
Here's the first thing: Our culture is all about getting MORE. More money. More stuff. More friends. More love. More success. More instantaneous, blindingly beautiful happiness. More, more, more. Why? Because we are totally buying into the idea that MORE [fill in the blank] = MORE Meaning. We believe that if we could only do enough, be enough, achieve enough, then we will be worth something as a human being. And we so much want to be worth something, don't we? But what more do we need? How much is going to be enough?
If we really look around at the stuff surrounding us in our rooms, at school—everywhere—we know deep down that there is no meaning in those things. In the Bible, there's a book written by King Solomon, a man who had everything. He was the richest person in the world; he was gifted with incredible intelligence; he had palaces and gardens that made other kings drool with envy; he had all the tastiest food and the most potent wine; he had hundreds of women who loved and adored him. Would you agree that he pretty much had everything a man could ever want? Yet in Ecclesiastes 1:2, this poor king says, "Meaningless! Meaningless! ...Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless."
So why did Solomon feel so empty? He had everything his heart could possibly desire! What more did he need? How much would be enough?
Here's the second thing: We live in the moment, whether that moment is miserable or magnificent. It's hard for us to see past our current agonies or triumphs and into an eternal reality. But God created us for a purpose that goes far beyond anything we can even imagine here on earth. He created us for something more.
In our heart of hearts, since we are God's kids and have inherited His traits, we also know there's something more out there (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Even though we don't know what it is, it is the thing we long for. The sensation we're trying to experience. The part of us that is missing, leaving us with a cold, hollow hole we desperately try to stuff with something—anything—that will make the frigid emptiness go away. The problem is that we can't seem to figure out what we need more of, but we know that once we have it, we will be fulfilled and finally see that we have worth.
The empty hole in every human heart began to rip into existence long ago. God created mankind in His image (Genesis 1:26), which means that we started out more like God than any other lifeform on the planet. Because of that, the following became true of mankind:
God intended for us to be fulfilled by these things. This was our purpose: to be with each other, to do good, to love God, and to be responsible for Creation. But when sin came into the picture, we got confused (Genesis 3). Why should I be around people? What was I supposed to be working toward? Where is that bigger Someone again? Is He even there? I have better things to do than take care of this place. I'm outta here...
We'd forgotten what we were made for.
In Revelation, the last book of the Bible, God pulls away the curtain to reveal the answer to that question. One day, the universe will be totally obliterated, along with the curse of sin, and He will create a new world where those who have chosen to be with God will live forever in His presence (Revelation 21:7).
We won't know anything more about sin, sorrow, sickness, death, or pain (Revelation 21:4). Our relationship with God will go back to the way it was at the beginning; the hole in our hearts will be gone (Revelation 20:11-15).
But you don't have to wait until after death in order to find fulfillment and purpose in life. God is awesome enough that He has given us a way to not only make eternal bliss a reality (Luke 23:43), but we can also find meaning and satisfaction during our lives on earth—Heaven on earth, you could say. To quote a cheesy cliché that is still true: it's the best of both worlds!
Remember how we said that we had forgotten what we were made for? The real trick to filling that hole in your heart is in remembering the reason we were made in the first place. Where to start? We suggest beginning with getting back in touch with that Someone bigger than us.
You see, God loves you so much that He sent His Son Jesus, another supernatural being by the way, to earth to take the form of a human—just like us. That way, Jesus would have a chance to live on this planet like every other person would, the only exception being that He knew how to make all the right choices and never sinned.
Once Jesus was human, He was qualified to give His life as a sacrificial replacement for YOU. For me. We have all sinned against God and deserve a sentence of eternal punishment (Romans 3:23). But Jesus took care of that for you. He paid for your freedom with His life. Accepting that gift is taking the first step toward reconnecting with that Someone bigger that we have been looking for all our lives (Acts 4:12; John 1:12; 14:6).
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." —2 Corinthians 5:17
Once you have accepted the gift of salvation through Jesus, you become a shiny new creation. As you learn to live your life for God, spend time with Him by talking to Him and reading His Word, you'll find yourself changing from the inside out. That's the Holy Spirit at work in you, giving you direction, hope, and purpose.
Okay, maybe you're thinking, "That's sounds nice and spiritual and stuff, but I still have to get up in the morning, brush my teeth, and do my homework. Living my life for God doesn't exactly sound like it'll make my life better on a day-to-day basis." Well, here's what Jesus said about living your life for Him:
Dear [your name],
Come to me if you are tired and overstressed, and I will give you rest. Take my hand and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find comfort for your soul. I have come to give you a life worth living so that you will be fulfilled.
But if you come with me, you must deny your own plans; allow me to lead you in the right direction instead. If you try to save your life on your own, you will lose it. But if you lose your life for me, you will find a wonderful new life that you can never lose. Find your joy in following Me, and I will give you the desires of your heart.
[See Matthew 11:28-30; John 10:10b; Matthew 16:24-25; Psalm 37:4]
Jesus is telling us that we have a choice in whether or not we follow Him. If we keep struggling through the dark to find our own way, we will only find emptiness and nothingness. But if we choose to walk with God and let Him lead us down the right path, we will find a life that has meaning, purpose, and that fills us with true joy, contentment, and satisfaction.
The One who made you loves you so much that, more than anything, He wants to give you the most fulfilling life possible. That doesn't mean that life is going to be all puppies and roses and rainbows, but it does mean that you will know there's a good reason to get up every morning and to face every challenge like overcoming it is a certainty.
If you are willing to surrender your life to Jesus and follow His purpose for your life, then you can discover a life worth living. You can look in the mirror every day and know that an amazing adventure awaits this person—one that has a good and meaningful end.
God created us for a greater purpose that's far beyond anything we can even imagine. Since we are God's kids and have inherited His traits, we know there's something more out there (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Even though we don't know what it is, we long for it. We feel empty, but we often try to stuff the void with anything that will make the frigid emptiness go away—except God. But we were created to love God and love others. Once you have accepted the gift of salvation through Jesus, you become a shiny new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) who can now choose to walk with God and let Him lead us down the right path. This is the only way we will find a life that has meaning, purpose, and that fills us with true joy, contentment, and satisfaction.
Cat is the web producer and editor of 412teens.org. She loves audiobooks, feeding the people she cares about, and using Christmas lights to illuminate a room. When Catiana is not writing, cooking, or drawing, she enjoys spending time with her two teenage kids, five socially-awkward cats, and her amazing friend-amily.