The 5 Benefits of Living a Purpose Driven Life

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Are you living a purpose-driven life? What difference would it make if you did?

When you live a purpose-driven life, you benefit in five ways. It gives you meaning, simplifies your life, focuses your energy, motivates you, and prepares you for eternity.

Keep reading to learn more about the advantages of living a purpose-driven life.

Living a Purpose Driven Life

These negative and frustrating motivators fade away when you replace them with the one motivator of fulfilling God’s purposes. There are five benefits to living a purpose-driven life.

1. God’s Purpose Creates Hope

Hope is faith and confidence in the direction your life is going. It lends you the power you need to overcome any difficulties that life throws at you. On the other hand, if your life doesn’t have hope, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and feel that tough moments are insurmountable.

  • Dr. Bernie Siegel studied the effect of hope in his cancer patients. He would ask them if they wanted to live to be 100 years old—those with a strong sense of meaning in their lives usually gave a definitive yes. He discovered that these patients were more likely to go into remission than the less hopeful patients were. 

Living a purpose-driven life—making the fulfillment of God’s purpose your central motivation—instills a sense of direction and hope. It requires you to make changes, separate from the status quo, and take on challenges. As you face your fears and push through these challenges, you’ll strengthen your ability to overcome tough moments and increase your confidence in your life’s direction.

2. God’s Purpose Simplifies

If you aren’t living a purpose-driven life, your decision-making is usually dictated by your circumstances or mood. This makes you tired and stressed—you’re constantly changing direction, trying to keep up with others, or attempting to balance what you want to do and what others want you to do. 

  • For example, if you’re driven by approval, you might make decisions that are most agreeable to whomever you happen to be with to reduce the anxiety of conflict. You’ll inevitably have to keep changing your decisions every time you interact with someone who disagrees with you.

On the other hand, living a purpose-driven life—dedicating yourself to fulfilling God’s purpose—grants you peace because it’s the only thing you have to do. This creates a clear benchmark by which to measure what is and isn’t worth your energy. Each time you find that you’re unable to find the time or energy to work on God’s purposes, you know you’re becoming over-involved in wasteful, meaningless activities. 

  • When this happens, take stock of everything that takes up space in your life. For each activity, ask yourself: “Does this help me with fulfilling God’s purposes or pull me away?” 

3. God’s Purpose Focuses 

Many people live lives of constant movement, not only trying to do everything but also be good at everything. Trying to master everything in a jam-packed life will cause you to feel frazzled and confused. 

  •  Like many others, you might try changing external factors such as your job, relationship, or city in a futile effort to feel “right.” 

The problem doesn’t lie in these external factors—it lies in your focus. When your focus is divided across too many pursuits, you won’t feel that you have a true impact in any one of them. As a result, your life’s activity just feels like busy work that’s not particularly interesting, productive, or important. When you clarify the truly important pursuits in your life, your energy becomes focused and precise. Instead of spreading thin, ineffective energy across many activities, you put all your energy toward the activity you were created to do. When you live a purpose-driven life, your actions become deliberate and effective, making your work productive and impactful. 

4. God’s Purpose Motivates

When you lack purpose, it’s hard to feel passionate about any aspect of your life or your work—it all seems meaningless. Without a reason for all your effort, you quickly become tired, depressed, and hopeless. 

On the other hand, having a clear purpose—knowing precisely what you’re working for and what your goal is—is energizing. It adds reason and meaning to your work, making it feel like a joyful and productive activity.  

5. God’s Purpose Prepares

Many people are driven by the impression they want to leave on the world, both before and after they die. However, it doesn’t matter what people in this life think of you—your accomplishments and others’ memories of you will fade over time. 

Only your eternal life and the impression you make on God matter. This life is a preparation for eternity, where God will judge your character by asking two questions:  

  1. “Did you allow Jesus into your life?” That is, did you accept and live by the teachings of Jesus? Did you love him and put your faith in him? 
  2. “How did you use the gifts I gave you?” That is, did you use your gifts—your talents, opportunities, relationships, and so on—for selfish purposes, or did you use them for God’s purpose?

If you live a purpose-driven life—focusing your life on the fulfillment of God’s purpose—you’ll pass his judgment and spend eternity with him.

The 5 Benefits of Living a Purpose Driven Life

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Here's what you'll find in our full The Purpose Driven Life summary:

  • The meaning of life from a Christian perspective
  • The five purposes that you were created by God to fulfill
  • How to find the unique service you were made for

Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She has always appreciated nonfiction, especially about history, politics, and ideas. A switch to audio books has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. As a former intelligence analyst and a teacher of critical thinking skills, Elizabeth enjoys analyzing arguments on all sides of an issue. Her nonfiction preferences include theology, science, and philosophy. She studies the intersection of these three in pursuit of the highest truths. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a creative nonfiction book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

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