Purposefulness Promotes Health, Longevity
A purpose-driven life has side benefits of psychological health and drive, and might even prolong your life.
Live Science published results of a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association that confirmed longevity benefits for people who describe their life as purposeful.
The findings held even after the researchers took into account certain factors that could affect people’s sense of life purpose or their risk of death, such as whether the participants had depression.
“There seems to be no downside to improving one’s life purpose, and there may be benefits,” said lead author Aliya Alimujiang, a doctoral student at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. “Previous research has suggested that volunteering and meditation may improve psychological well-being.“
The findings from a long-term study that began in 1992 and carried forward to a questionnaire in 2006, involving 7,000 people. Mortality rates of participants were studied over subsequent years. Those with low life-purpose scores were more than twice as likely to die, researchers found. The reason, they believe, is that purposeful living lowers stress hormones that lead to inflammation. “Inflammation, in turn, has been previously linked with an increase in risk of early death, according to the study.”
It’s nice to know that purposeful living has benefits, but it depends on the purpose. If a Muslim’s purpose is to blow up as many infidels as he or she can, that will not promote longevity!
When thinking about your life’s purpose, don’t listen to shallow graduation speeches, or hollow platitudes like “The meaning of life is to live a life of meaning.” No; turn to the Manufacturer! He knows our purpose, and He revealed it to us in His word. Micah 6:8 says, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
The Apostle Paul spoke of his purpose as a “calling.” Paul’s calling as a preacher of the gospel to the Gentiles involved much danger and opposition. Near the end of his life, he wrote to his student Timothy,
6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher,12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. (II Timothy 1:6-12).
Man’s purpose is to glorify our Creator and love Him forever. Each of us individually has a purpose within that purpose – a calling tailored individually to each of us. There is no greater mission in life than to find the will of God for your life, and to fulfill it. Whether or not that leads to health and long life, a life that fulfills our divine mission is a life well lived
Further Reading: 2 Peter, ch. 1.