Hi. I’m Rick Warren. I’m the author of “The Purpose-Driven Life,” and the pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California.
People often ask me, why did you write “The Purpose-Driven Life?” And I think it’s because there are three fundamental questions in life. There’s the question of existence. Why am I alive? There is the question of intention. Does my life have a purpose? And there’s the question of significance. Does my life matter?
If you don’t come to the answer to these three questions in life, then life becomes petty, pointless, trivial, motion without meaning, events without substance. And purpose is what brings it all together. People ask me, did you know it was going to be a bestseller? No. But I knew it was going to be used by God.
Because many times, as I was typing, I would be typing away, tears would be flowing down my face. And I would be thinking, I’m not this good. What I’m writing right now, I’m just not this good. I need this. And I often would be typing things that I thought, I’m writing this for me. And so I knew it was anointed.
As soon as “Purpose-Driven Life” came out, I began to get letters, literally, from all around the world. One of the things that does, it makes you very sympathetic because you hear people’s problems and you listen to their stories. And what I discovered were the two biggest barriers to fulfilling God’s purpose for your life.
Now I didn’t write any about this in the book. I was just writing what are God’s purposes for our lives. But I learned, in the last 10 years, that there were two primary barriers that keep people from fulfilling their God-given role, their God-given calling, their God-given purpose in life. And they are envy and people pleasing.
Let me explain this. Envy says, I must be like you in order to be happy. People pleasing says, I must be liked by you in order to be happy. Both of these will cause you to miss what God wants to do in your life. But what happens is, we live in a culture that is based on envy.
Every advertisement says, be like me, act like me, talk like me, drink like me, buy the things I have, have my car. And when we start saying, well, I’ve got to be like that person in order to be happy, we miss what God wants to do in our lives. When we say, I’ve got to be like that person, we miss uniqueness that we’re made to be.
The other thing that causes missed uniqueness is not I must be like you, but I must be liked by you, which is the desire for approval. And I’ve met so many people who said, I know what I’m supposed to be doing with my life, but I’m afraid of disapproval of my husband, or my parents, or my boyfriend, or my peers, or whatever. If you live for the approval of others, you will die by their criticism.
One of the important things in life, one of the most important things to my personal life, is my prayer life, which is my connection to God. Every morning when I get up, before I even get out of bed, I talk to God. I start my day with prayer. I end my day with prayer. And, of course, I pray throughout the day.
I have a specific time of prayer. But I also live in a constant conversation with God. And when I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed, and before my feet even touch the ground, I say the same thing every morning. I say, Lord, thank you for a good night’s rest.
If I don’t get anything else done today, I want to love you a little bit more and know you a little bit better. Because that’s the first purpose of life. Because at the end of the day, if I love God more, and I know him a little bit better, that day was a success. Doesn’t matter how many failures, how many problems, how many difficulties, how many things went wrong, I fulfilled the first purpose of my life– getting to know God.
On the other hand, if I don’t know God a little bit better, and I don’t love him a little bit more at the end of the day, I just wasted that day. Because God did not put you on Earth to write things off your to-do list. You’re far more important than that.
Now the Bible says God is love. Doesn’t say God has love. It says God is love. It is the essence of his character. It is his nature. It is who God is. The only reason there’s love in the universe is because God is love. If our creator wasn’t loving, there would be no love in the universe. You would have no love in your life because all love comes from God.