Book Summary

The Purpose Driven Life – Rick Warren

The Purpose of the Book The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren.

“This is more than a book; it is a guide to a 40-day spiritual journey that will enable you to discover the answer to life’s most important question: What on earth am I here for? By the end of this journey you will know God’s purpose for your life and will understand the big picture — how all the pieces of your life fit together. Having this perspective will reduce your stress, simplify your decisions, increase your satisfaction, and, most important, prepare you for eternity.

Hope is as essential to your life as air and water. You need hope to cope. Dr. Bernie Siegel found he could predict which of his cancer patients would go into remission by asking, ‘Do you want to live to be one hundred?’ Those with a deep sense of life purpose answered yes and were the ones most likely to survive. Hope comes from having a purpose.

Life without a Purpose Driven Life

“The man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder — a waif, a nothing, a no man.” — Thomas Carlyle

“Nothing matters more than knowing God ‘s purposes for your life, and nothing can compensate for not knowing them — not success, wealth, fame, or pleasure. Without a purpose, life is motion without meaning, activity without direction, and events without reason. Without a purpose, life is trivial, petty, and pointless.

“The greatest tragedy is not death, but life without purpose.

“When Cain sinned, his guilt disconnected him from God’s presence, and God said, ‘You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.’ That describes most people today — wandering through life without a purpose.

Without a clear purpose, you will keep changing directions, jobs, relationships, churches, or other externals — hoping each change will settle the confusion or fill the emptiness in your heart. You think, maybe this time it will be different, but it doesn’t solve your real problem — a lack of focus and purpose.”

Without a clear purpose you have no foundation on which you base decisions, allocate your time, and use your resources. You will tend to make choices based on circumstances, pressures, and your mood at that moment. People who don’t know their purpose try to do too much — and that causes stress, fatigue, and conflict.”

“Knowing your purpose gives meaning to your life. We were made to have meaning. This is why people try dubious methods, like astrology or psychics, to discover it. When life has meaning, you can bear almost anything; without it, nothing is bearable.”

“Without God, life has no purpose, and without purpose, life has no meaning. Without meaning, life has no significance or hope.”

Challenging Cultural Norms

“The search for the purpose of life has puzzled people for thousands of years. That’s because we typically begin at the wrong starting point — ourselves.
We ask self-centered questions like: What do I want to be? What should I do with my life? What are my goals,
my ambitions, my dreams for my future? But focusing on ourselves will never reveal our life’s purpose.”

“For thousands of years, brilliant philosophers have discussed and speculated about the meaning of life. Philosophy is an important subject and has its uses, but when it comes to determining the purpose of life, even the wisest philosophers are just guessing.”

“Contrary to what many popular books, movies, and seminars tell you, you won’t discover your life’s meaning by looking within yourself. You have probably tried that already. You didn’t create yourself, so there is no way you can tell yourself what you were created for!“

“I have read many books that suggest ways to discover the purpose of my life. All of them could be classified as ‘self-help’ books because they approach the subject from a self-centered viewpoint. Self-help books, even Christian ones, usually offer the same predictable steps to finding your life’s purpose: Consider your dreams. Clarify your values. Set some goals. Figure out what you are good at. Aim high. Go for it! Be disciplined. Believe you can achieve your goals. Involve others. Never give up.”

“You need more than self-help advice. The Bible says, ‘Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.’”

“This is not a self-help book. It is not about finding the right career, achieving your dreams, or planning your life. It is not about how to cram more activities into an overloaded schedule. Actually, it will teach you how to do less in life — by focusing on what matters most. It is about becoming what God created you to be.”

“God is not just the starting point of your life; he is the source of it. To discover your purpose in life you must turn to God’s Word, not the world’s wisdom. You must build your life on eternal truths, not pop psychology, success-motivation, or inspirational stories.”

“You must make a counter-culture decision to focus on becoming more like Jesus. Otherwise, other forces like peers, parents, coworkers, and culture will try to mold you into their image.”

Down, & Simple Living

“A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump; a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree.” — Proverbs 11:28 (MSG)

“Busyness is a great enemy of relationships. We become preoccupied with making a living, doing our work, paying bills, and accomplishing goals as if these tasks are the point of life. They are not. The point of life is learning to love — God and people. Life minus love equals zero.“

“God views our lives from and for eternity, so he is never in a hurry.”

“Today we’re obsessed with speed, but God is more interested in strength and stability than swiftness. We want the quick fix, the shortcut, the on-the-spot solution. We want a sermon, a seminar, or an experience that will instantly resolve all problems, remove all temptation, and release us from all growing pains. But real maturity is never the result of a single experience, no matter how powerful or moving. Growth is gradual.“

“Be patient with God and with yourself. One of life’s frustrations is that God’s timetable is rarely the same as ours. We are often in a hurry when God isn’t. You may feel frustrated with the seemingly slow progress you’re making in life. Remember that God is never in a hurry, but he is always on time. He will use your entire lifetime to prepare you for your role in eternity.”

“Knowing your purpose simplifies your life. It defines what you do and what you don’t do. Your purpose becomes the standard you use to evaluate which activities are essential and which aren’t.”

“Purpose-driven living leads to a simpler lifestyle and a saner schedule.”

“Your value is not determined by your valuables, and God says the most valuable things in life are not things!”

“Money has the greatest potential to replace God in your life. More people are sidetracked from serving by materialism than by anything else.”

“The Bible is very clear: God uses money to test your faithfulness as a servant. That is why Jesus talked more about money than he did about either heaven or hell.”

Suffering

“Pain is God’s megaphone.” — C. S. Lewis

“Your most profound and intimate experiences of worship will likely be in your darkest days — when your heart is broken, when you feel abandoned, when you’re out of options, when the pain is great — and you turn to God alone. It is during suffering that we learn to pray our most authentic, heartfelt, honest-to-God prayers. When we’re in pain, we don’t have the energy for superficial prayers.”

“In order to keep us from becoming too attached to earth, God allows us to feel a significant amount of discontent and dissatisfaction in life — longings that will never be fulfilled on this side of eternity. We’re not completely happy here because we’re not supposed to be! Earth is not our final home; we were created for something much better.”

“Pain is the fuel of passion — it energizes us with an intensity to change that we don’t normally possess.”

“God has a purpose behind every problem. He uses circumstances to develop our character.”

“You will never know that God is all you need until God is all you’ve got.”

“The secret of endurance is to remember that your pain is temporary but your reward will be eternal.”

“We’re only human! If it takes a crisis to get you to admit this, God won’t hesitate to allow it, because he loves you.”

“God often attaches a major weakness to a major strength to keep our egos in check. A limitation can act as a governor to keep us from going too fast and running ahead of God.”

Character Development

“God’s ultimate goal for your life on earth is not comfort, but character development. He wants you to grow up spiritually and become like Christ. Becoming like Christ does not mean losing your personality or becoming a mindless clone. God created your uniqueness, so he certainly doesn’t want to destroy it. Christlikeness is all about transforming your character, not your personality.“

“God is far more interested in what you are than in what you do. We are human beings, not human doings. God is much more concerned about your character than your career, because you will take your character into eternity, but not your career.”

“Never forget that life is not about you! You exist for God’s purposes, not vice versa. Why would God provide heaven on earth when he’s planned the real thing for you in eternity? God gives us our time on earth to build and strengthen our character for heaven.“

“We must ‘put on’ the character of Christ by developing new, godly habits. Your character is essentially the sum of your habits; it is how you habitually act.“

“Nothing shapes your life more than the commitments you choose to make. Your commitments can develop you or they can destroy you, but either way, they will define you. Tell me what you are committed to, and I’ll tell you what you will be in twenty years. We become whatever we are committed to.“

“Every problem is a character-building opportunity, and the more difficult it is, the greater the potential for building spiritual muscle and moral fiber.”

“What happens outwardly in your life is not as important as what happens inside you. Your circumstances are temporary, but your character will last forever.”

“This next sentence is one of the most important spiritual truths you will ever learn: God develops the fruit of the Spirit in your life by allowing you to experience circumstances in which you’re tempted to express the exact opposite quality! Character development always involves a choice, and temptation provides that opportunity.“

Spiritual Growth

We must change the way we think. ‘Let the Spirit change your way of thinking.’ The Bible says we are ‘transformed’ by the renewing of our minds.
The Greek word for transformed, metamorphosis

“Spiritual growth is not automatic. It takes an intentional commitment. You must want to grow, decide to grow, make an effort to grow, and persist in growing. Discipleship — the process of becoming like Christ — always begins with a decision.”

“Thinking of others is the heart of Christlikeness and the best evidence of spiritual growth. This kind of thinking is unnatural, counter-cultural, rare, and difficult.”

“Living the rest of your life for the glory of God will require a change in your priorities, your schedule, your relationships, and everything else. It will sometimes mean choosing a difficult path instead of an easy one. Even Jesus struggled with this.”

Living on purpose is the only way to really live. Everything else is just existing.”

The Master Plan

“There’s a Grand Designer behind everything. Your life is not a result of random chance, fate, or luck. There is a master plan.”

“Because every day of your life was written on God’s calendar before you were born, everything that happens to you has spiritual significance. Everything!”

“Nothing in your life is arbitrary. It’s all for a purpose.”

“Before God created you, he decided what role he wanted you to play on earth. He planned exactly how he wanted you to serve him, and then he shaped you for those tasks.”

“God formed every creature on this planet with a special area of expertise.”

“You are not an assembly-line product, mass produced without thought. You are a custom-designed, one-of-a-kind, original masterpiece.“

Eternity

“Knowing your purpose prepares you for eternity. Many people spend their lives trying to create a lasting legacy on earth. They want to be remembered when they’re gone. Yet, what ultimately matters most will not be what others say about your life but what God says.“

“Living to create an earthly legacy is a shortsighted goal. A wiser use of time is to build an eternal legacy. You weren’t put on earth to be remembered. You were put here to prepare for eternity.“

“Life on earth is just the dress rehearsal before the real production. You will spend far more time on the other side of death — in eternity — than you will here.“

“At most, you will live a hundred years on earth, but you will spend forever in eternity.”

“When you fully comprehend that there is more to life than just here and now, and you realize that life is just preparation for eternity, you will begin to live differently. You will start living in light of eternity, and that will color how you handle every relationship, task, and circumstance. Suddenly many activities, goals, and even problems that seemed so important will appear trivial, petty, and unworthy of your attention. The closer you live to God, the smaller everything else appears.“

“Every act of our lives strikes some chord that will vibrate in eternity.”

“The most damaging aspect of contemporary living is short-term thinking. To make the most of your life, you must keep the vision of eternity continually in your mind and the value of it in your heart. There’s far more to life than just here and now!”

“You may feel it’s morbid to think about death, but actually it’s unhealthy to live in denial of death and not consider what is inevitable. Only a fool would go through life unprepared for what we all know will eventually happen. You need to think more about eternity, not less.“

Life is a Test

“Character is both developed and revealed by tests, and all of life is a test. You are always being tested.”

“When you understand that life is a test, you realize that nothing is insignificant in your life. Even the smallest incident has significance for your character development. Every day is an important day, and every second is a growth opportunity to deepen your character, to demonstrate love, or to depend on God.”

Life is a Trust

“Our time on earth and our energy, intelligence, opportunities, relationships, and resources are all gifts from God that he has entrusted to our care and management. We are stewards of whatever God gives us. This concept of stewardship begins with the recognition that God is the owner of everything and everyone on earth.”

“We never really own anything during our brief stay on earth. God just loans the earth to us while we’re here. It was God’s property before you arrived, and God will loan it to someone else after you die. You just get to enjoy it for a while.”

Life is a Temporary Assignment

“To make the best use of your life, you must never forget two truths: First, compared with eternity, life is extremely brief. Second, earth is only a temporary residence. You won’t be here long, so don’t get too attached.”

“In God’s eyes, the greatest heroes of faith are not those who achieve prosperity, success, and power in this life, but those who treat this life as a temporary assignment and serve faithfully, expecting their promised reward in eternity.”

“So much of what we waste our energy on will not matter even a year from now, much less for eternity. Don’t trade your life for temporary things.“

Character Development

“God’s ultimate goal for your life on earth is not comfort, but character development. He wants you to grow up spiritually and become like Christ. Becoming like Christ does not mean losing your personality or becoming a mindless clone. God created your uniqueness, so he certainly doesn’t want to destroy it. Christlikeness is all about transforming your character, not your personality.“

Relationships

“In our final moments we all realize that relationships are what life is all about. Wisdom is learning that truth sooner rather than later. Don’t wait until you’re on your deathbed to figure out that nothing matters more.”

“There is nothing — absolutely nothing — more important than developing a friendship with God.

“The key to friendship with God, he said, is not changing what you do, but changing your attitude toward what you do.”

“Life is meant to be shared. God intends for us to experience life together.”

“Four of the Ten Commandments deal with our relationship to God while the other six deal with our relationships with people. But all ten are about relationships!“

“Community is built not on convenience (‘we’ll get together when I feel like it’) but on the conviction that I need it for spiritual health. If you want to cultivate real fellowship, it will mean meeting together even when you don’t feel like it, because you believe it is important.”

“Because life is all about learning how to love, God wants us to value relationships and make the effort to maintain them.

Time

“The importance of things can be measured by how much time we are willing to invest in them. The more time you give to something, the more you reveal its importance and value to you. If you want to know a person’s priorities, just look at how they use their time.“

Relationships take time and effort, and the best way to spell love is ‘T-I-M-E.’”

“You have to spend time with people — a lot of time — to build deep relationships.”

“Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time.”

“The best use of life is love. The best expression of love is time. The best time to love is now.”

Start Taking Action

“It is not enough to keep learning more and more. We must act on what we know and practice what we claim to believe. Impression without expression causes depression. Study without service leads to spiritual stagnation.”

“Today the average life span is 25,550 days. That’s how long you will live if you are typical. Don’t you think it would be a wise use of time to set aside 40 of those days to figure out what God wants you to do with the rest of them?”

“Begin by assessing your gifts and abilities. Take a long, honest look at what you are good at and what you’re not good at. Paul advised, ‘Try to have a sane estimate of your capabilities.’ Make a list. Ask other people for their candid opinion. Tell them you’re searching for the truth, not fishing for a compliment. Spiritual gifts and natural abilities are always confirmed by others.”

“The best way to discover your gifts and abilities is to experiment with different areas of service.”

“Just start serving, experimenting with different ministries, and then you’ll discover your gifts. Until you’re actually involved in serving, you’re not going to know what you’re good at.”

“Practicing the presence of God is a skill, a habit you can develop. Just as musicians practice scales every day in order to play beautiful music with ease, you must force yourself to think about God at different times in your day. You must train your mind to remember God.“

“The more time you spend reviewing what God has said, the more you will understand the ‘secrets’ of this life that most people miss.”

“Write down the insights and life lessons God teaches you about him, about yourself, about life, relationships, and everything else. Record these so you can review and remember them and pass them on to the next generation.”

“Forgotten experiences are worthless; that’s a good reason to keep a spiritual journal.”

“Your life is a journey, and a journey deserves a journal.

“Extracting the lessons from your experiences takes time. I recommend that you take an entire weekend for a life review retreat, where you pause to see how God has worked in the various defining moments of your life and consider how he wants to use those lessons to help others.

Create Your Purpose Statement

“Now that you know God’s purposes for your life, you will be blessed if you do them! This probably means you will have to stop doing some other things. There are many ‘good’ things you can do with your life, but God’s purposes are the five essentials you must do. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get distracted and forget what is most important. It’s easy to drift away from what matters most and slowly get off course. To prevent this, you should develop a purpose statement for your life and then review it regularly.

Your Responsibility Now

“Now that you understand the purpose of life, it is your responsibility to carry the message to others. God is calling you to be his messenger.