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The Purpose Driven Life

A Review of “The Purpose Driven Life” – by Rick Warren

The book claims to be a guide to a forty-day spiritual journey that will enable you to discover the answer to life’s most important question: What on earth am I here for? It also claims you will know God’s purpose for your life at the end the forty days.

The book is divided into six sections of seven days. The last section only five for those who can count. At the end of each day there is a reflective section: a point to ponder, a verse to remember and a question to consider.

What on earth am I here for?

The benefits of purpose-driven living are: knowing your purpose gives meaning to your life, simplifies your life, focuses your life, motivates your life, and prepares you for eternity. The Bible gives three metaphors on God’s view of life: life on earth is a test, is a trust and is a temporary assignment.

At the end of the first week a question is asked. “How can I bring glory to God? The answers given are: We bring glory to God by worshipping him, by loving other believers, by becoming like Christ, by serving others with our gifts, and by telling others about him.

The final question is “What will you live for?” He then invites us to live for God.

Purpose 1: You were planned for God’s pleasure.

In the second week Rick goes on to say that we were planned by God to bring pleasure to God by worshiping him. Worship is not for our benefit. Worship is not just through coming to a worship service on a Sunday, but it is also what we do in the rest of our life outside of the service. We should try and make God smile by trusting him completely, obeying him wholeheartedly, praising and thanking him continually, and using our abilities. God wants us to be his best friend through constant conversation. God is pleased with us when our worship is accurate, authentic, thoughtful and practical. We need to tell God how we feel, to trust him and remember what he has already done for us.

Purpose 2: You were formed for God’s family.

The third week deals with being a member of Christ’s body, the church. Rick accepts that sometimes it is easier to do things alone and not get involved with other Christians. In God’s family, the church, we need and have the opportunity to learn how to love. Rick says that we need a church family because it identifies us a genuine believer, it moves us out of self-centred isolation, it helps develop spiritual muscle and it will help us from backsliding.

Purpose 3: You were created to become like Christ.
It is the Holy Spirit’s job to produce a Christ like character in us. This is a long slow process. God uses his Word, people, and circumstances to mould us. Rick says that by reading God’s Word and acting on it we grow as Christians. We also grow as we bear our troubles in a Christ like way and overcome temptation. We must cooperate with the work of the Holy Spirit.

Purpose 4: You were shaped for serving God.

Each individual has their own unique SHAPE, which is made up of Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality and Experience. Whenever God gives us an assignment, he always equips us with what we need to accomplish it. Rick explains each aspect of a person’s SHAPE and how we should use it to determine how we serve. He then goes on to develop the following statements: God deserves your best; we serve God by serving others; service starts in your mind; and God loves to use weak people.

Purpose 5: You were made for mission.

Rick says that when Jesus said, “Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptise them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to do everything I have told you,” he meant every one of his followers. Rick says that part of our mission is to share our life message, which includes our testimony, our life lessons, our godly passions, and the Good News. He says we can become world-class Christians by shifting from self-centred thinking to other-centred thinking; from local thinking to global thinking; from “here and now” thinking to eternal thinking; and from thinking of excuses to thinking of creative ways to fulfil our commission. He also gives advice on getting the right balance between the five purposes and how to produce a life purpose statement.

I found the book very challenging. Andrew Watchorn

P.S. The free resources mentioned in the book can be found at http://www.purposedrivenlife.com/ and include a personal “health assessment” and a daily devotional.


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