In the LDS Church, your purpose might have been defined by your calling or by your family. Or maybe it was defined by the church’s larger purposes of redeeming the dead or preaching the gospel to the whole world. But if your purpose was defined by the LDS Church, what do you live for after leaving Mormonism?
Every Christian’s overarching purpose.
You may find a level of purpose in the circumstances of your life, such as your job or family. But every follower of Jesus has one purpose in common, a purpose that applies to every one of us without exception: to make disciples (followers) of him.
Matthew 28:18-20 I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
Jesus is telling us to make disciples wherever we go, everywhere, starting where you live. Baptize them. This is not about joining a church. Baptism is a way of saying that you now belong to Christ and identify with him. And then teach them how to live a new life. This is our purpose. Jesus invites us to be involved with him on his mission. Our mission is to help people become followers of Jesus, then to help them grow in their relationship with Jesus so that they can help others become followers of Jesus as well. It’s like a circle.
[Related: Why Make Disciples?]
Going “full circle” as a Christian.
To understand what it means to make disciples, we can simply the Christian life into three phases.
- We start by trusting Jesus. That’s the beginning of the Christian life, when you entrust your life and your eternity to him.
- We live to honor God. Once you’ve trusted Christ, then you progressively learn how to live a life that brings honor to him.
- We grow by helping other people pursue God. We become mature by investing in other people and helping them along this same pathway.
Yet many Christians convince themselves that they can’t really mentor someone else in faith because they don’t know enough yet. They don’t fell like they’re mature enough yet. But the Bible teaches that we actually grow mature when we start to invest in others. As you come around the circle, your purpose is to help other people come around the circle as well. You can help someone else trust in Jesus. You can help others learn to honor God. Eventually you can help someone else make an investment in other people in that same way. That’s how Jesus’ Church grows in the world: as each one helps someone else pursue God, who will then help someone else pursue God. And on it goes. That’s what it means to go “full circle”.
[Related: Understanding a Full Circle Pursuit of God]
[Related: How to Start a Pursuit of God]
[Related: How to Live as a Christian]
It’s not about you.
Sometimes we feel like we just need someone to help us. Yes, that’s true. But that doesn’t mean you can’t help someone else as well. We can get selfish and focused on our own needs. We need to move out of that phase. That’s what growing up in faith involves.
Often former Mormons feel like they have already served their fingers to do the bone in the LDS Church. They have paid their dues and are ready for a break. But we now have a whole different motivation. We have the privilege of being involved in what Jesus is doing in the world. We have the privilege of helping other people find out that Jesus is enough in their life.
Ultimately it’s not just about getting your own life together. You can figure out your own emotional issues and sort out you own world view. You can figure out who you can trust and make good ethical decisions for yourself. The question is: what are you going to do with all that? Are you going to give any of that away? That’s the ultimate goal. This is where God wants you to go. You may not know how long it will take to get there, but you have this new idea that God has a vision in mind for you. You realize that God created you for a purpose and has something he wants to do through you.
In the LDS world, we were taught that our purpose in this life is to prove ourselves worthy. But in fact, your purpose on this earth is to prove God worthy, It’s not about you. By how you live and what you say, the world can see that the Creator is good and awesome. Your purpose is to let the world know how worthy God is. That’s why Jesus said to makes disciples.
[Related: How to Fulfill Your Purpose on Earth]
[Related: How to Grow in Your Faith]