There are five essential questions everyone attempts to answer throughout their lives. Who am I? Where do I come from? Why am I here? What is the meaning of life? What is my purpose? We are going to look at the fourth, “What is the meaning of life?” We discover the answer to this question in Scripture.
First, it’s helpful to understand that pursuing the meaning of life is closely related to finding one’s purpose in life. Both are spurred on by a deep desire to experience fulfillment and satisfaction. When these two essential questions are not answered, people find themselves looking back over their life, puzzled by fractured relationships, failed dreams, and overall emptiness. This was the observation of the writer of Ecclesiastes (Ecc 1-2). Unfortunately, far too many in our culture seek meaning by pursuing experiences, things, and achievements. In the end, they find themselves with an unfilled void. Further, they are left frustrated and, perhaps, even in despair, realizing all their efforts have fallen short of solving the problem of their emptiness.
The author of Ecclesiastes looked for the meaning of life in all the wrong places. His vain pursuits included pursuing knowledge, self-indulgence, pleasure, wisdom for wisdom’s sake, and work. In the end, he concluded that everything comes from the hand of God and attempting to live apart from Him is “vanity and striving after the wind” (Ecc 2:26). Seven times within the book of Ecclesiastes, this image of “striving” or “chasing” after the wind, is offered to us. Although real, the wind cannot be clasped in one’s hands. It’s a fruitless endeavor. It’s as futile as seeking the meaning of life in all the same vain pursuits aforementioned. In fact, he describes it as “meaningless, completely meaningless” (Ecc 1:2).
God created us with an eternal soul meant for far more than we can merely experience in the here and now. In truth, God has placed eternity in our hearts (Ecc 3:11). We all know that there is more to our life than living, dying, and trying. When the Ecclesiastes writer concludes his book, inspired by God, he writes, “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecc 12:13). In other words, the meaning of life involves genuine faith in God, and walking with Him, which produces godly fruit that is the inevitable result of true faith.
For all of us, the meaning of life from now into the unforeseen future is found in a saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ. When we enter into this relationship, Christ makes us new creations (2 Cor 5:17). The redemption of those now walking with Christ was formed in the mind and heart of God, allowing us by His Spirit’s power to live for His glory by knowing Him and Making Him known. Simply put, the meaning of life is found in Christ, who said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10b). A “full’ life is meaningful and free of aimless wandering.
The meaning of life is found in glorifying God (Isa 43:7). Glorifying God is anything done by a believer, under the leading and power of the Holy Spirit, that gives the world an accurate picture of who God is in righteousness and faithfulness. It reflects the love and Character of Christ while being on mission with Him. We have been made to glorify God by knowing Him and making Him known. Any substitute for Him and living on a mission other than joining Him in His becomes a meaningless pursuit; it’s “striving after the wind.” Simply put, the meaning of life is only found in Jesus Christ. In Him and Him alone, the essential questions of life are answered. We are beloved children of God, created in His image, to reflect His glory by walking in His love, transformed into His character, and reflecting both to others in the hope they, too, will find salvation in Christ. Life in Christ is a journey of becoming more and more like Him until the work in us is done and we spend eternity with Him. This is the meaning of life. Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)!