(This is an excerpt from an interview several years ago by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, author of “The Purpose Driven Life” and Pastor of Saddleback Church in California. During the interview, Rick said:)

People ask me, what is the purpose of life?

And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were not made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.

One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body—but not the end of me.

I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act–the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity.

We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn’t going to make sense.

Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you’re just coming out of one, or you’re getting ready to go into another one.

The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort.

God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.

We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that’s not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.

This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.

I used to think that life was hills and valleys–you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don’t believe that anymore.

Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it’s kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life.

No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on.

And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.

You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems.

If you focus on your problems, you’re going into self-centeredness, which is ‘my problem, my issues, my pain.’

But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.

We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her.

It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.

You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life.

We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity?

Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God’s purposes (for my life)?

When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, ‘God, if I don’t get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better.’

God didn’t put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He’s more interested in what I am than what I do.

That’s why we’re called human beings, not human doings.

Happy moments, praise God.

Difficult moments, seek God.

Quiet moments, worship God.

Painful moments, trust God.

Every moment, thank God.

13 Responses to The Purpose of Life

  1. Nerry Jimenez says:


  2. ava martin says:

    can somebody out there pray for me to learn the lessons that I’m supposed to learn? Thanks! I’ve gotten the flu 4 times now, every month since Nov. right now I am running a 103 degrees fever for the 3rd day now. It’s been breaking every night. God Bless You! love, Ava

  3. phil says:

    A sure way never to learn God’s purpose for our lives is to interfere with God’s process by experimenting with drugs. When we experiment with drugs (alcohol is a drug) we run the risk of becoming addicted, no matter who we are.
    It becomes very difficult if not impossible to discern and live out God’s plan for our lives while under the influence of substances (prescription drug abuse included).
    The Bible indicates only once or twice where Jesus may have had wine. In doing this the Bible teaches how little significance it had in his life. Overwhelmingly the Bible speaks of Jesus seeking the Father’s purpose through prayer.
    I am a recovering substance abuser, sober twenty five years. I prayed to God for healing all those years ago – God heard and answered my prayer. When we pray for addictions healing we must also fully participate in the process, including the suffering! When we approach God for healing, God promises to be with us.
    If we are having difficulty knowing God’s purpose for our lives, that’s okay, we pray just as Jesus did. I’m not sure of what to do about many things. I am only certain of what not to do in the meanwhile – consume alcohol and other drugs. Praise God

  4. Terry Strobush says:

    I liked the illustration of the two railroad tracks, I think that fits perfectly, thank you for this message, I will save this and read it often to keep me on the right track,


  5. APRIL says:


  6. Janice Rogers says:

    Thank you so much for your message. It has helped me so much this past year getting through some hard times in my life. You are right. The only thing that matters is our talking to God and praising him through good and bad.

  7. elizabeth verghese says:

    Worth reading…I forwarded d msg to all my friends.

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Sobering message! Thank you!

  9. OGO says:

    The message of “the purpose of my life” is a very unique message that doesn’t come often but thank God for the person that God inspired to write this. This encompasses what life is all about on earth – good and bad. Luke 12:13b says man’s life does not consist in an abundance of possessions. Happiness, peace, joy, comfort, wealth, promotions and other good stuffs we can think of on this earth that make us feel good are just for a moment because the real happiness, peace, joy, comfort, wealth, promotions and all good tidings that we cannot imagine are embedded in Christ which ordinary eyes cannot see except by faith. Many of us chase shadows in this world forgotten that we are just a pilgrim on earth and when our time is up, we leave beyond this earth. Where we go should be a thing of concerns to everyone because death is not a debate for anyone until Christ returns. Let everyone lives each day peacefully with his/her God as if the next day will never come.

  10. Melba Daniel says:

    I appreciate that message from Rick Warren.

  11. Malcolm says:

    Thanks. God spoke to me through you. Holy is Jesus

  12. Kathleen says:

    Thank you ! I needed this.

  13. Israel says:

    This is awesome, so inspired.

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