Purpose is a word used to label our reason for existence. Everything has a purpose — or a reason for existence. The computer I’m typing on at this moment has the purpose of providing me a tool by which I can communicate with you. Most things have many purposes. My hands, for instance, have the purposes of grasping objects, helping me to count, bringing food to my mouth, sensing elements of my world with touch, or manipulating my environment. And while my hands have many purposes, those purposes are unified by a single general reason for the existence of my hands. That single reason is to serve me for my best benefit. That’s why my hands exist. When they feed me, they are doing it so that I can survive and thrive. When they sense the world with their touch, they are doing it so that I can explore and expand my horizons and my understanding. When they assist me in counting, they do so to help me keep track of things. But if I use my hands in ways that are not aligned with that single purpose of serving me for my best benefit, then my hands become a hindrance to me. If I use my hands to feed myself poisonous drugs, then my hands are not aligned with their purpose. If I use my hands solely to feed myself, then my hands are not aligned with my purpose, and I will suffer from that misalignment.
In a larger sense, our whole lives have purpose. If our lives get out of line with that purpose then we suffer, the people around us suffer, and our purpose is not met. I can remember coming across a couple of fellow hikers on the Appalachian Trail a number of years back. Just a few short miles into my hike, I noticed an iron skillet, and a loaded laundry bag, and canned dog food strewn every hundred meters down the trail. Then, as I was descending into a gap between two mountains I came across the folks who had been leaving their stuff behind. A young couple and their dog. They were exhausted. Their dog, with long thick hair ill suited for the Georgia climate, and panting heavily, sprawled himself out before them, clearly as exhausted as they were — if not more so. Spread around were pieces of gear that betrayed their poor alignment – a heavy pole tent, large thick foam pads, more canned food, and kitchen pots. Their hike was out of alignment with their purpose of making it to the first suitable campsite. They’d never make it to their destination carrying all of that stuff, and they’d have to return to start.
You have a purpose. It is a purpose ordained by God. That general purpose is to serve him by serving others. Is your life aligned with that purpose? If it is not, consider getting rid of all the baggage that gets in the way of that purpose (Hebrews 12:1).