The Purpose Driven Life Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: The Purpose Driven Life is Christian pastor Rick Warren’s answer to the burning question that we all have about why we’re here and explains God’s five purposes for your life and how you can realize and live each of them by going on a 40-day spiritual journey.

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Have you ever looked up at the stars, or around at the beauty of our planet, and wondered why you’re here? Do you ever  think to yourself “what’s the purpose of life?” 

Is there even a reason for everything? 

Although we have jokes about the answer to this question, it’s a valid one. I’ve thought about it before and I’m almost certain it’s crossed your mind too. So what’s the answer?

According to Pastor Rick Warren, the solution to this age-old question is that we’re put here to serve God and take care of one another as part of His family. So what does that mean? 

Well, Warren has compiled five purposes based on his study and ministry. These include that you were:

  1. Planned for God’s Pleasure
  2. Formed for God’s Family
  3. Created to Become Like Christ
  4. Shaped for Serving God
  5. Made for a Mission

These purposes of life are the topic of his book The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? You’ll discover what it means to be Christian, why your purpose comes from a belief in God, and how to live it for a life of fulfillment and joy.

Let’s see how much we can discover in just 3 lessons:

  1. You can discover the purpose of your life by letting God in.
  2. Building up others faith is just one way to live intentionally, but watch out for envy.
  3. To live a good life like Jesus did, follow The Holy Spirit and maintain your personal determination.

Ready to discover the true meaning of life? Let’s go!

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Lesson 1: If you let God into your life then you will find your purpose.

We know that Warren teaches that God has five purposes for your life. But the overall reason for your existence, according to Christianity, is that God created you to serve Him. So what does that mean?

To understand this, you first need to know that God didn’t have to create you. He chose to make you out of joy. Your life wasn’t an accident, but an intentional action by God. Which also means that each aspect of your life has a purpose. 

That’s right, all of your experiences, talents, relationships, and everything else that you are, exists for a reason. And according to the author, God combined all this uniqueness inside of you to serve him in specific ways that nobody else can.

So whenever you’re feeling like your life doesn’t matter, simply remember this to feel better! This is just what Russian author Andrei Bitov did when struggling with despair at the meaningless of life.

Bitov couldn’t possibly see any purpose for his existence, but then something amazing happened. He was on the metro when the phrase “without God, life makes no sense” popped into his head.

All of a sudden everything became clear. Walking out of the metro station and into the daylight, he felt inspired by these words. Bitov chose to then dedicate his life to God.

Lesson 2: Live intentionally by building up other’s faith, but be careful to avoid envy, which tears apart unity.

Christian missionaries have been spreading the word of Christ for centuries now. It’s not easy, but God wants you to share your beliefs too. It’s so important that the author considers it another of God’s purposes for your life. 

That doesn’t mean you have to go halfway across the world, though. You can spread your faith right where you are in many different ways. Start by accepting the truth that you are a representative of Christ.

And remember that God wants peace in the world, and needs your help to make it happen!

As 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 teaches:

“God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God.”

Watch out for envy, though, as it can thwart God’s purposes for your life. Envy is focusing on what you don’t have that others around you do. It brings unhappiness and destroys the fulfillment that can come from serving others.

Consider King Solomon’s teachings in Ecclesiastes 4:4. He declares “I observed all the work and ambition motivated by envy. What a waste!” Whether you’re religious or not, eliminating envy is something you should strive for if you want purpose. 

Lesson 3: Combine your determination with a willingness to follow The Holy Spirit if you want to live a good life like Jesus did.

I think all people, regardless of what they think of Jesus Christ’s status as the Son of God is, would agree that He lived an exceptional life. Nobody would regret trying to become more like Him.

Serving others and helping them improve their lives was the norm for Jesus. He was selfless, kind, and caring. And He defied authority in an effort to better the lives of all around Him. Truly, His life is worth emulating, no matter what you believe.

Becoming like Jesus is the last purpose the author teaches for your life, and possibly one of the most important. Although the phrase “what would Jesus do?” might be cliched to the point of exhaustion, it’s still a good motto to follow. But how do we do it?

Start by recognizing those little moments where you intuitively know what the right thing is. This is The Holy Spirit guiding you to become more like Jesus. Maybe it’s paying for somebody’s meal, or saying a kind word to a neighbor. 

You also have to become proactively engaged in becoming a better person. Your habits and goals determine your personality, so if you focus on acquiring good habits and quitting bad ones, you’ll become a little more like Jesus every day.

The Purpose Driven Life Review

I think everybody could use a higher purpose these days and would love to know what their own reason for existing is. But I don’t know that everyone is going to like The Purpose Driven Life. I could comment on my own faith here but I’ll just say that I’m a believer and even though I think of things a little differently than the author, I think that society could really use some Christian ideals right now.

Who would I recommend The Purpose Driven Life summary to?

The 35-year-old non-believer that wonders what Christians really believe, the 65-year-old man of faith that wants to learn how to be more purposeful in their practice of it, and anyone who wonders why they are here.

Last Updated on September 21, 2022

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Luke Rowley

With over 450 summaries that he contributed to Four Minute Books, first as a part-time writer, then as our full-time Managing Editor until late 2021, Luke is our second-most prolific writer. He's also a professional, licensed engineer, working in the solar industry. Next to his day job, he also runs Goal Engineering, a website dedicated to achieving your goals with a unique, 4-4-4 system. Luke is also a husband, father, 75 Hard finisher, and lover of the outdoors. He lives in Utah with his wife and 3 kids.