The Third Law is Purpose.
Without purpose, we are no different than animals: instinctively roaming about, completely at the whim of the Dark World.
Purpose is something we can change. Purpose is something we can decide for ourselves. We are not bound to mere survival, as are the beasts of the Earth. We have possibilities. Without Purpose, there is no point to accomplishing anything.
What is your life's purpose? Do you even know?
Don't be surprised if you can't explicitly answer this. I couldn't either, for a very long time.
At some point you're probably going to stop and think, "What am I doing with my life?" which is code for "I don't know what my life's purpose is." And if you're a Christian, the answer isn't necessarily simplified. As a young believer in the faith, my thoughts went something like this:
"What is my purpose? To do whatever God wants me to do. My purpose is to… to what? Provide for my family? Glorify God? Those are all pat answers. I want to know what my singular, most powerful purpose really is."
But what does that mean, exactly? What does it mean to "fulfill God's purpose in your life?" Can you give specifics? Can you quantify "Love thy neighbor as yourself?" Do these look the same for every person? Of course they don't. Over the years, God has given people purpose in many ways, for many different reasons. And He's even changed people's purposes over time. So again, what does that mean for you and me?
For me, I had to sit down and really think about what was most important in my life.
You need to figure out what's most important in your life, and focus on it with laser-like accuracy. You need to cultivate it, refine it, and distill it to its very essence. You absolutely will not achieve or fulfill your purpose unless you can do this. The chances of you accidentally stumbling upon the pinnacle of your life's purpose are infinitesimally minuscule.
If you can't define your life's purpose to work towards it and capture it, then you don't have a purpose.
Things you can do to focus on purpose:
- If you could only accomplish one great thing with the time you have been given, what would it be?
- What things do you do every day that distract you from this purpose? Are they important?
- Meditate on your own mortality. Do you have unlimited time? You need to use it wisely.
- Think about what legacy you will leave behind when you die. Is it worth working for?
- Why aren't you working towards this legacy already? What's holding you back?
These questions hit me hard. In a rush of guilt and regret, I realized I've been making compromises my entire adult life, for several reasons. These compromises always seemed like they were important at the time, but as I look back I realized they stopped me from achieving my purpose, all the same. Were they necessarily bad? Well, not all all of them, no. But purpose cannot be substituted for "okay-ness" without losing it completely.
I had to admit that I hadn't defined my purpose enough to where I could pursue it with everything I had. Here I am, past 40, and I still couldn't have specifically told you what I was here on Earth for. I had no purpose, other than survival for myself and my family.
“The purpose of a man's heart is like deep waters, but a man of understanding draws it out.”
- Proverbs 20:5
And of course, Paul even tells us that God desires us to achieve our (God-given) purpose:
"We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
- Romans 8:28
After weeks of thinking on it, I narrowed it down to this:
My purpose is worship.
When I break it down into practical segments, what does this look like? I had to define it, specify it. These are now goals I can now focus on:
- Being close to God, and bringing others there through music and teaching.
- Be a successful worshipper- like Paul Baloche, Phil Keaggy, or Steven Curtis Chapman- and be able to pursue worship freely with abandon, without worrying about income.
- To use music to fight evil, bring people to the truth, and spread God as far as I can in a dark world.
- Be able to spend enough time per week to worship, and have enough money to get the equipment I need.
- Spend my extra time generating residual income and developing relationships.
- Have enough time to get away and refresh myself for worship.
This is what I'm here for. This is the purpose I've been given, that all my training up to this point has prepared me for. And I've wasted decades trying to wait until I'm "ready." You know where that got me? Nowhere.
But it starts today. This is my purpose, and I can't deny it. Every part of my soul resonates with this statement, and every time I utter the words, my body trembles in anticipation. I've been in preparation for this my entire life: I just hadn't admitted it. I was too afraid to acknowledge it, and therefore couldn't grasp it with everything I had.
My purpose is worship.
Everything else in my life is secondary to this. I will maintain my other responsibilities, but my purpose- my reason for living- will not change until God says so. Your purpose will probably not look like mine, and that's fine. But whatever it is, you need to find it and hold on with both hands! Grasp it in your fist and don't let it go.
If you can't back up your purpose with specific examples, then you haven't thought it through enough. If you're young, or just now figuring out The Nine Laws, then don't expect to immediately discover some incredibly huge but latent revelation. You can make your purpose small at first, but it still needs to be defined for you to be able to work towards it. Start small, but be specific.
Having a Purpose is not the same as having goals. I have lots of goals. But they are not necessarily the same as my purpose. Some of them are, but some of them aren't. For example: I have a goal to ride another 200K Brevet on my bike. That has very little to do with my purpose, but it's a goal I set, nevertheless. Don't confuse the two. Purpose always comes first.