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With forty chapters devoted to forty days, Rick Warren’s bestselling The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? guides readers toward discovering their life’s purpose through a Christ-centered approach.
Being successful and living out your purpose don’t always go hand in hand. Rick Warren’s wildly popular and life-changing book offers a transformational learning experience to help us become what God created us to be and live the lives we were meant to live.
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Summary and Analysis of The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? Expanded Edition
Based on the Book by Rick Warren
By Worth Books
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 2017 Open Road Integrated Media, Inc.
All rights reserved.
SummaryWhat on Earth Am I Here For?
Day 1: It All Starts with God
Author Rick Warren begins by reminding readers their time on this planet is a direct result of God's will. He created us to serve his purpose, and focusing on our hopes, dreams, and goals will never lead us to discovering our earthly purpose. The answer to knowing your life's purpose is not within you — it is within God.
There are only two ways to go about discovering your purpose: speculation and revelation. Warren looks first at speculation, as he thinks this is what most people choose — the self-help route. They guess. They waffle. They wonder. They read lots of books that claim to provide important answers. They grasp at straws trying to find their higher purpose — to no avail. Speculation doesn't work.
Fortunately there's another option: revelation. We can look to God to help us understand. His teachings reveal our five purposes, providing us with an "Owner's Manual" of sorts for living our best lives. It is only through recognizing we are here because God put us here — we exist by and for God — that we can begin to make sense of our purpose.
Need to Know: It's not about you ... it's about God.
Day 2: You Are Not an Accident
God created us on purpose and for a purpose. He created each of us for his purpose.
He decided your how, when, where, and why before you were even born. Make no mistake, he didn't need to create you, dear reader. He wanted to create you, because God is love. And he created you to exist in that love.
Need to Know:You are here for a reason ... you are not an accident.
Day 3: What Drives Your Life?
Everyone's life is driven by something. Warren says the five most common drivers are:
1. Guilt: Are you running from regrets and hiding your shame? The author tells us people who are driven by guilt are "manipulated by memories." Consciously or unconsciously, people driven by their guilt are allowing the past to rule the present. But God is all about new beginnings and fresh starts. And while we are, each of us, a product of our past, we don't have to remain so in our present.
2. Resentment and anger: Do you hold onto old hurts? Do you have a hard time forgiving those you believe have wronged you? Resentment hurts you much more than it hurts anyone else. By forgiving your transgressors you are releasing yourself from the pain and anger. They can only continue to hurt you if you continue to stew.
3. Fear: Do you play it safe more often than not? Do you worry about things you can't control (which is practically everything)? Warren says that if you're driven by fear, you're in a self-imposed prison and it's holding you back from realizing God's plan for you.
4. Materialism: Do you "desire to acquire"? Warren reminds us our self-worth and our net worth are not one and the same. Material goods will not bring us security. Security manifests through your relationship with God.
5. Need for approval: Do you do things just because you want to be liked? Do you worry about what others think of you? Are you afraid of disappointing people? Being controlled by what others think is the surest way to miss your God-given purpose. Warren reminds us that Jesus said, "No one can serve two masters." (Matthew 6:24 NLT)
Warren follows the five drivers with five benefits to living a purpose-driven life:
1. Without purpose, life has no meaning. Adding a purpose gives us hope.
2. Living a purpose-driven life simplifies things and makes the decision-making process much less stressful.
3. Purpose adds focus to our lives, allowing us to concentrate our energies and efforts on things that really matter to us.
4. Purpose motivates us and energizes us to be our best selves.
5. A purpose-driven life prepares us for eternity by ensuring we don't waste time creating our own earthly legacy, but instead focus on creating an eternal legacy.
Need to Know: God's two crucial, eternal questions:
"What did you do with my Son, Jesus Christ?"
"What did you do with what I gave you?"
Day 4: Made to Last Forever
Warren tells us Christians will spend far longer on the other side of death — in eternity — than in the here and now. Earth is merely a "staging area" for the real show, which is your life in eternity. And while life here on earth offers us many options for living, eternity offers only two: heaven and hell. Your relationship with God, while on this planet, directly determines your eternal future.
Once we realize there's more to life than the here and now, we begin to live differently. Our priorities shift and our values change. When we realize death is not the end, but merely a transition to eternity — with eternal consequences — every move we make resonates deeply.
Need to Know: Warren says need to think more about eternity, not less. If we have a relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, we need not fear death. It may be the end of our time on earth, but it will not be the end of us.
Day 5: Seeing Life from God's View
What you see is what you get. Or, as Warren says, the way you view your life is what shapes your life. When you picture your life, what image comes to mind? This image is your "life metaphor" according to Warren, and he says this image represents the view you hold of the world, the way you expect the world to work.
Your life metaphor could be influenced by any number of things and can manifest in myriad ways. Maybe you think life is a Ferris wheel, sometimes up, sometimes down, and sometimes in the middle ground. If this is you, you're likely ready to go with the flow. Maybe you think life is a battlefield, in which case you're probably focused on bringing home the big win.
The Bible offers three metaphors which reflect God's view of life: Life on earth is a test; Life on earth is a trust; Life on earth is a temporary assignment. On Day 5, Warren shares two of the three.
God is always testing us. He tests our character, our faith, our love, our integrity, and our loyalty. When we realize this, we understand that everything we do matters. The good news? God wants us to pass. And so the tests he gives us are never greater than the grace he's given us to pass them.
It's important to understand money is both a test and a trust. And how we handle our money on earth has a direct correlation to the richness of our spiritual blessings in eternity.
God has entrusted the care of his earth and everything on it, to us. We are privileged to take care of his "stuff" while we are here. And at the end of our lives, God will evaluate and reward us based on how well we took care of things he entrusted us to care for.
Need to Know: It's important to identify your life metaphor so you can better understand what's important to you.
Day 6: Life Is a Temporary Assignment
To make the most of our time here on earth, we must remember two things: Life is very brief and life on earth is a temporary residence — we are not meant to be here forever. In fact, to keep us from becoming too attached to earth, God allows us to feel discontent here. Not feeling euphoric on this planet? You're not meant to! God saved the euphoria for eternity. Remember, in the eyes of God, the greatest heroes are not the ones who are ridiculously successful here on earth, but those who recognize life is a temporary assignment and live it faithfully.
Need to Know: Eternal values, not earthly ones, should be the basis for our decision-making.
Day 7: The Reason for Everything
The ultimate goal of the universe is to illustrate the glory of God. And the glory of God is everywhere you look. Yet there are two of God's creations which consistently fail to bring him glory: fallen angels and us. Sin is us failing to give God glory — and none of us have given God the glory he deserves.
So, how do we do that? Warren says we can bring glory to God in five ways — through God's five purposes of life. The remainder of the book will be spent exploring the five purposes outlined here:
1. We bring glory to God when we worship him.
2. We bring glory to God when we love others.
3. We bring glory to god when we become Christlike.
4. We bring glory to God when we share our gifts with others in service.
5. We bring glory to God when we introduce others to him.
God wants you to live for his glory. He wants you to fulfill your purpose. First you must believe: Believe he loves you and you're here for a purpose. Then you must receive: Receive Jesus Christ into your life as your Lord and Savior.
Need to Know: You can bring glory to God through worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and evangelism.
Purpose #1: You Were Planned for God's Pleasure
Day 8: Planned for God's Pleasure
Bringing enjoyment to God — known as worship — is your first purpose in life. Worship looks like different things to different people, largely dependent on your religious upbringing. One thing is certain: Worship is a lifestyle, not simply lighting some candles and singing some hymns.
According to Warren, worship is not for your benefit, it is for the benefit of God. If you've ever gone to a church service and left feeling like you didn't get anything out of it — you weren't meant to — and you likely worshiped for the wrong reason. Of course there are enjoyable bits of fellowship and evangelism, but the purpose of worship is to bring glory to God.
Need to Know: Warren reminds us worship is continual. Worship is not meant for Sunday service alone. Worship is not just a part of your life ... worship isyour life.
Day 9: What Makes God Smile?
If our first purpose on earth is to delight God through worship, what does that look like? What makes God smile? Using the story of Noah as an example, Warren tells us there are five acts of worship that make God smile.
1. God smiles when we love him more than anything or anyone else. Learning to love God, and to be loved by him, needs to be the most important objective in your life.
2. God smiles when we trust him completely and fully believe he knows what's best. Noah trusted God even when it didn't make sense.
3. God smiles when we obey him with our whole heart. Noah did exactly as God instructed him, no questions asked. God appreciates your full obedience. Warren notes, "Understanding can wait, obedience can't."
4. God smiles when we appreciate him and praise him. Who doesn't love to be thanked? And there's reciprocity here, too. When we appreciate and thank God, it brings him joy, and also increases ourjoy.
5. The last act of worship which makes God smile is when we use the gifts he's given us; when we use our abilities. Every human activity, save sin, can be carried out for God's pleasure. Even sleeping! But don't think for a moment that God expects you to be perfect in the execution of these abilities. He understands we're each a work in progress and considers your heart's attitude.
When you live life in worship, your focus changes from, "'How much pleasure am I getting out of my life?' to 'How much pleasure is God getting out of my life?'"
Need to Know: Trust God and obey him fully. Partial obedience is disobedience.
Day 10: The Heart of Worship
Offering yourself to God is the heart of worship. Warren uses the term "surrender" in place of "offering," while acknowledging that it's a tricky word that carries negative connotations for some. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what you call it, just do it: Surrender yourself to God.
Easier said than done! Warren cites three barriers to surrender: fear, pride, and confusion.
Trust is integral to surrender, but it's difficult to surrender when you don't know if you can trust someone. The more you understand how much God loves you, the easier it will be to surrender. Remember, he sacrificed his Son for you ... that's a lot of love, right there.
Pride is another deterrent to surrender. We don't want to admit we're not really in charge — that we don't have control. And so we struggle. We're struggling with God for control. Who is going to win that battle? Hint: Not you. Not now. Not ever.
And finally, confusion. Confusion with regard to the very definition of the word "surrender." Warren says this is the paradox: Victory comes through surrender. You see, surrendering to God doesn't weaken you, it strengthens you. Eventually, everybody surrenders. Either you surrender to God and are strengthened, or you surrender to money, lust, greed, and other forsaken idols, and lose sight of what's most important.
Need to Know: In the words of E. Stanley Jones, "If you don't surrender to Christ, you surrender to chaos."
Day 11: Becoming Best Friends with God
God wants to be your BFF — best friend forever. Knowing and loving him is your greatest privilege and being known and loved is his greatest pleasure. But what does that look like? It's easy enough to see things as master-servant or even parent-child, but what would a friendship with God look like? How do you become best friends with God? Warren looks at two "secrets of friendship" with God today, and four more on Day 12.
1. Constant conversation is key to developing your friendship with God. Of course a daily devotional is important, but Warren is referring to an ongoing conversation with God, throughout your day, involving him in everything you think and everything you do.
2. Continual meditation is the second way to establish your friendship with God. It's unlikely you are able to spend the entire day studying the Bible, but you can certainly think about it, remembering relevant verses and musing more deeply about them. Warren notes that when you think about a problem over and over, it's called worry, but when you think about God's word over and over — that's called meditation.
Need to Know: One way to have a conversation with God is through "breath prayers," which are brief sentences, simple phrases, or scripture, which can be repeated in a single breath. Examples given by Warren include: "'I receive your grace,'" "'I want to know you,'" "'You are my God.'"
Day 12: Developing Your Friendship with God
In continuing to look at best practices for developing a friendship with God, Warren reviews four more secrets to a friendship with God.
1. Choose to be honest with God. God appreciates authenticity even when it means you express feelings of anger and resentment toward him. He understands, and uses all that you give him for good. There's even a book in the Bible — the book of Psalms, full of ranting, raving, doubts, and fear — fully dedicated to candid honesty.
2. Choose obedience. When we choose to obey God — even when we don't understand why — we are strengthening our friendship with him. Obedience is born not out of fear, but out of trust.
3. Align your values with God. What's important to him should be important to you. That's how friends support one another. And Warren reminds us what's most important to God is the redemption of his people. To be friends with God, you need to care about the people he cares about.
4. Choose him as your friend. More than anything, you must want to have a friendship with God. A friendship built on love, not duty. It's your choice. You can have as much, or as little, of this friendship with God as you wish.
Need to Know: God does not expect perfection, but he does expect complete honesty.
Day 13: Worship that Pleases God
God is not interested in a part-time commitment. He wantsall of you, allthe time. Warren says God's favorite kind of worship has four traits:
1. It's accurate. Don't create your own image of God — worship him as he is revealed to you in the Bible. Your worship must be based on the truth of scripture.
2. It's authentic. Worship is not about using the right words, in the right way, at the right time. Worship is about being honest, and real, and sharing your most heartfelt thoughts with God. Be yourself.
3. It's thoughtful. Pay attention to your words. Be specific in your worship. Warren encourages readers to explore scripture in different translations to bring expanded sensibilities to their worship.
4. It's practical. Show up in person. If your body isn't there, neither are you! Get out of bed to worship when you're tired; show up to help someone out even when you'd rather not, but said you would. Sacrifice for the sake of practical worship.
Need to Know: Warren says, "If worship is mindless, it's meaningless."
Day 14: When God Seems Distant
It's easy to worship God when things are going swimmingly. But what happens when life takes a turn for the worse, and God seems nowhere to be found? How do you worship during times of scarcity and strife?
Warren says God tests us with periods of separation to "mature our friendship," to test our faith. Will you continue to love God when you have no evidence of his presence in your life? And what will you do when life completely falls apart and God seems nowhere to be found?
Excerpted from Summary and Analysis of The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? Expanded Edition by Worth Books. Copyright © 2017 Open Road Integrated Media, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
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