The John MacArthur Guide to Finding Your Purpose in Life

How to take a basic, boring life and turn it into an active and thrilling one that pleases God and sparks a revival. 

In 1973,  wrote a tiny book called . In this book he lays out the six biblical principles to finding God’s will for your life.

The book is only 61 pages long. Small, but powerful.

I read it in forty-five minutes. I then gave it away. Bought another copy, read it, and gave that book away. I’ve bought my third copy.

The book is that good. Here’s a summary of the six principles.

The First Crucial Step to Finding God’s Will

If your life is at a dead stop with no future, it might help you to know that your first problem is probably sin. Unrepentant sin, to be exact.

Listen, God owes you nothing if you neglect this first, biblical step: salvation. Until you surrender yourself to Christ and the cross, God’s not obligated to show you his plan for your life.

Get right with God now and move on to the next step of finding His will.

Short Theology Lesson on the Spirit-filled Life

Your next step to finding God’s will for your life is to be spirit filled.

What does it mean to be spirit-filled? It means to live a Christ-conscious life.

What does that mean? Think about Peter. When Peter was near Christ he possessed ,  and . Away from Christ, he slumped into self-pity and denial.

But after Christ ascended and the spirit fell on Peter, we catch him in the book of Acts –despite persecution.

What happened? Spirit filled is akin to standing next to Jesus.

So…how do you get there? Easy. Know your Bible. MacArthur recommends reading  everyday for 30 days. Then move onto chapters 1-5 in the book of John for the next 30. Chapters 6-10 the following 30 days. And so on through the New Testament.

There are no shortcuts. Just serious, planned neglect of everything else except God and your Bible.

Abstain from the Unclean

One of the great things about Christianity is that it lifts you out of the gutter. In the span of ten years I went from a single drug addict living in a friend’s basement to a writer living with a wife and two children in a quaint home.

[Read the full story.]

God’s calling–God’s will–is that we be sanctified, holy, pure. That means subdue your body. Avoid sex before marriage. Stop the abuse of drugs and alcohol. Abstain from pornography. Treat others fairly.

You are God’s holy instrument. Keep it clean.

Submission Silences the Critics

What is it that God wills you to do next? Submit.

Submit to the President, boss, teacher, cop, mother. When you are the model Christian citizen, you silence the critics:

For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. 

However, God does give you permission to rebel on two conditions: You may rebel against authority when you are asked to do something against God or forbidden to do something God commands.

The Truth Behind Christian Suffering

We all want to be great. But in the will of God, greatness often follows behind suffering.

. And by definition, true Christian suffering means persecution for doing what is right–not punishment for doing wrong.

To be in God’s will means to stand in the face of the world and lay down the hard truth of the Gospel. Don’t fear to offend. Throw caution out the window. Insults and threats may fly, but God will give you unimaginable excitement. And you’ll please him.

The Final, Surprising Principle

So, once you are saved, spirit-filled, sanctified, submissive and suffering, what do you do next?

Whatever you want.

Yep, . You may have a heart for child soldiers in Uganda or prostitutes in India or your next door neighbors. It doesn’t matter what it is. Just get moving. And keep moving. God has the best ministries for his busiest saints.


So, whether a gonzo style street speaker is your style or a subdued academic writer–have the courage and good sense to be safely in God’s will. If you don’t follow these six principles you’ll never find your true, God-given purpose in life.

And if you don’t have purpose or meaning in life, what’s the point? Let me know what you think.

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