But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

What do you live for each day? A pay raise? Retirement? Then perhaps you’ve discovered the reality that getting ahead in this world typically ends in disappointment. People with a misguided sense of direction often wonder why they feel unfulfilled.

Maybe you’ve already achieved a goal of saving for the future or moving up the corporate ladder. You give to charity and volunteer at church, but somehow still feel a sense of insignificance or aimlessness. If so, there is a truth you need to hear: God gives us life for a very specific reason—namely, to serve Him. Nobody finds inner peace without reconciling this fact. Our society teaches us that pleasure, prosperity, position and popularity will make us happy. But living in the service of self always leaves an emptiness no earthly reward can fill.

Besides, philosophy won’t stand the test of time. Few of us are going to live even 100 years. So, whatever we’ll become in this life, we are in the process of becoming that right now. Consider David: He was anointed king long before actually assuming the role (1 Sam. 16:12). He spent many years serving the purpose of God in insignificant places while developing into a great man. As his story shows, discovering God’s purpose for your life is the surest path to success.

Our Father’s purpose for us comes from His heart of love—which is perfect. None of us can know the things He has in store for us, but we can trust His plan. Surrender to Him and say, “Not my will, Lord, but Yours be done.”

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Allen Tilley is senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Carthage.

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