This week we’ll look at Part 2 of Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life. Even though this is a Christian-oriented book, the wisdom Warren treats us to is for everyone desiring to live a life filled with purpose and meaning.
Part 2 – You Were Planned For God’s Pleasure
Chapter 8. “Planned for God’s Pleasure: God did not need to create you, but he chose to create you for his own enjoyment. Bringing enjoyment to God, living for his pleasure, is the first purpose of your life.
Bringing pleasure to God is called “worship.” Anything you do that brings pleasure to God is an act of worship. If we fail to worship God, we always find a substitute, even if it ends up being ourselves. Every activity can be transformed into an act of worship when you do it for the praise, glory, and pleasure of God.”
Chapter 9. “What Makes God Smile?: The smile of God is the goal of your life. Since pleasing God is the first purpose of your life, your most important task is to discover how to do that. There are five acts of worship that make God smile.
- God smiles when we love him supremely. He longs for you to know him and spend time with him. This is why learning to love God and be loved by him should be the greatest objective of your life.
- God smiles when we trust him completely. Trusting God completely means having faith that he knows what is best for your life.
- God smiles when we obey him wholeheartedly. God doesn’t owe you an explanation or reason for everything he asks you to do. Understanding can wait, but obedience can’t. In fact, you will never understand some commands until you obey them first. Obedience unlocks understanding.
- God smiles when we praise and thank him. He smiles when we express our adoration and gratitude to him.
- God smiles when we use our abilities. You don’t bring glory or pleasure to God by hiding your abilities or by trying to be someone else. Anytime you reject any part of yourself, you are rejecting God’s wisdom and sovereignty in creating you. What God looks at is the attitude of your heart: Is pleasing him your deepest desire?”
Chapter 10. “The Heart of Worship: The heart of worship is surrender. You know you’re surrendered to God when you rely on God to work things out instead of trying to manipulate others, force your agenda, and control the situation. Instead of trying harder, you trust more. You also know you’re surrendered when you don’t react to criticism and rush to defend yourself.”
Chapter 11. “Becoming Best Friends with God: God wants to be your best friend. You will never grow a close relationship with God by just attending church once a week or even having a daily quiet time. Friendship with God is built by sharing all your life experiences with him.
Everything you do can be “spending time with God” if he is invited to be a part of it and you stay aware of his presence. Prayer lets you speak to God; meditation lets God speak to you. Both are essential to becoming a friend of God.”
Chapter 12. “Developing Your Friendship with God: You are as close to God as you choose to be. Like any friendship, you must work at developing your friendship with God. It won’t happen by accident. It takes desire, time, and energy.” To achieve friendship with God:
- “I must choose to be honest with God. The first building block of a deeper friendship with God is honesty—about your faults and your feelings.
- I must choose to obey God in faith. Every time you trust God’s wisdom and do whatever he says, even when you don’t understand it, you deepen your friendship with God.
- I must choose to value what God values. This is what friends do—they care about what is important to the other person. The more you become God’s friend, the more you will care about the things he cares about, grieve over the things he grieves over, and rejoice over the things that brings pleasure to him.
- I must desire friendship with God more than anything else. The truth is—you are as close to God as you choose to be. Intimate friendship with God is a choice, not an accident. You must intentionally seek it.”
Chapter 13. “Worship That Pleases God: God doesn’t want a part of your life. He asks for all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your mind, and all of your strength. The kind of worship that pleases God has four characteristics:
- God is pleased when our worship is accurate. But we cannot just create our own comfortable or politically correct image of God and worship it. That is idolatry. Worship must be based on the truth of Scripture, not our opinions about God.
- God is pleased when our worship is authentic. Worship must be genuine and heartfelt. It is not a matter of saying the right words; you must mean what you say. Heartless praise is not praise at all! It is worthless, an insult to God.
- God is pleased when our worship is thoughtful. I worship is mindless, it is meaningless. You must engage your mind.
- God is pleased when our worship is practical. One thing worship costs us is our self-centeredness. You cannot exalt God and yourself at the same time. You don’t worship to be seen by others or to please yourself. You deliberately shift the focus off yourself.”
Chapter 14. “When God Seems Distant: God is real, no matter how you feel. The deepest level of worship is praising God in spite of pain, thanking God during trial, trusting him when tempted, surrendering while suffering, and loving him when he seems distant. When God seems distant, you may feel that he is angry with you or is disciplining you for some sin. In fact, sin does disconnect us from intimate fellowship with God.
During times of spiritual dryness you must patiently rely on the promises of God, not your emotions, and realize that he is taking you to a deeper level of maturity. So don’t be troubled by trouble. Circumstances cannot change the character of God. When you feel abandoned by God yet continue to trust him in spite of your feelings, you worship him in the deepest way.”
I can’t emphasize enough how this overview has spoken to me again, and how this book will help you develop a “purpose-driven life”!
You can download a free copy of “Part 2 – You Were Planned for God’s Pleasure” outlined above at my website Wisdom-Matters by clicking on the “Free Resources” tab.
Next week we’ll look at Part 3 of the 6-Part series on Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life because…Wisdom Matters!
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