A remarkable 57 percent of Americans indicate that they search for purpose in their lives on a monthly basis. Additionally, a concerning 42 percent of Generation Z individuals have received a diagnosis related to a mental health concern.
The Gen Z demographic confronts heightened levels of anxiety and depression attributed to academic pressures, social media comparisons, and economic uncertainties. This generation grapples with the pursuit of their genuine identity, but how do they embark on this journey of self-discovery? Who is available to provide them with guidance? These factors collectively contribute to a substantial amount of pressure weighing on them.
McKinsey says that Gen Z is a “purpose-driven generation.” So I embarked on a quest to uncover how one might find purpose, stumbling upon an article that urged readers to “Turn your pain into purpose.”
However, this piece failed to provide a concrete definition of purpose. Lack of purpose can affect all aspects of your life, and contributes to the rise in mental health concerns. But where to find it?
Regardless of age or generation, statistics indicate that the pursuit of purpose is a universal human endeavor. It is all too easy to brush it aside and adopt a “You Only Live Once (YOLO)” attitude or take life day by day. Whether you are a Gen Z or Boomer, this is the biggest venture in life.
The quest for purpose isn’t a contemporary conundrum. Even in 85 AD, people grappled with the same existential question, “What is my purpose?”
Fortunately, we are provided our clear purpose in the teachings of Jesus, who articulates our purpose in two distinct yet interconnected parts within Matthew 22:37-39: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind… You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Love your God with All Your Heart, All Your Soul, and All Your Mind
To love God with our heart, soul, and mind is to commit ourselves entirely to his will. This commitment demands that every facet of our existence aligns with his divine purpose. In this devotion, we acknowledge his sovereignty over our lives, allowing our thoughts, actions, and intentions to be guided by our profound love for him. This intimate relationship with our Creator acknowledges his boundless love for us and prompts us to respond with unwavering dedication. Our lives become an unending service to him, a relentless effort to make his name known. What a clear purpose!
Love Your Neighbor as Yourself
The second commandment, to love our neighbor as ourselves, is an extension of the first. It reflects the interconnectedness of humanity and highlights the importance of compassion, empathy, and selflessness. Jesus teaches us that a byproduct of our love for God is reflected by how we treat and care for our fellow brothers and sisters – both Christians and non-Christians. While we are saved not by works but solely by grace, our relationships with others should be marked by kindness, compassion, forgiveness, and genuine concern as we strive to meet their needs.
A Clear Mission
In these two commandments, Jesus spells out the essence of our faith. Love – love for God and love for others – serves as our mission. Our purpose should be so clear and focused that it invigorates us each morning, filling us with renewed energy, excitement, and readiness to engage with the world in the name of Jesus.
Our mission must be so transparent that we inspire others to live a missional and purposeful life. However, it’s crucial to acknowledge the realities of doubt, loneliness, confusion, weakness, and sin that we all face.
Even as the CEO of a non-profit organization, FOREFRONT Charity, I’ve experienced moments of doubt despite my conviction and the Lord’s faithfulness over eight years. The mission can sometimes become obscured.
In such times, I return to my “reference point,” where God’s sacrifice on the Cross reminds me of His love, even for a sinner like me.
Scripture also provides solace, and I’d like to share my life verse with you: 1 Corinthians 15:58. For me, doing God’s work in meeting the needs and sharing His love with those in rural India energizes me.
Because of my clear purpose and mission, I am able to overcome hurdles and obstacles in his strength and making decisions is so clear because I abide by what will please God the most.
In these two commandments, Jesus encapsulates the entire essence of our faith. It’s about love – love for God and love for others. When we truly love God, it transforms our relationship with him and ripples out to impact our relationships with those around us.
As leaders, it is our responsibility to guide the next generation along the narrow path.
As leaders, it is our responsibility to guide the next generation along the narrow path. We should assist them in discerning and filtering out the myriad distractions that the world presents.
Our primary emphasis should be on nurturing their understanding of their identity as children of God and anchoring them in the missional truth found in the two greatest commandments. By doing so, we equip them to confidently approach any task or calling that God calls them to be and do.
As we venture forward, let us remember that the greatest commandment is not a burdensome duty, but a joyful invitation to experience the depths of divine love and share Christ’s love with others. Let our lives be a testament to the transformative power of love, as we seek to fulfill the heart of Jesus’ message in Matthew 22:37-39.
May we love God wholeheartedly and love our neighbors as ourselves, becoming beacons of love in a world that so desperately needs it.