Wisdom’s Direction for the Questioning, Hurting Heart.

Life is a gift from God to be lived on purpose with joy. Our joy must be connected to living according to God’s Word (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

James Addison said, “the grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, someone to love, and something to hope for.” At the 1993 ESPY awards, Jimmy Valvano said, “there are three things we all should do every day. ... If you laugh, you think and you cry, that's a full day.”

It’s not possible to live life on purpose without living with eternal purpose. Pursuing fulfillment in one's occupation alone will bring only unsustainable happiness. Wealth has been gifted by God and can be enjoyed, but temporal things leave us feeling empty by themselves. Warren Wiersbe wrote, “if you devote your life only to the pursuit of happiness, you will be miserable; however, if you devote your life to doing God’s will, you will find happiness as well for the long run.”

In Ecclesiastes 6:10-12, Solomon addresses a heart that is burdened in several specific ways.

  • The discouraged heart with a tendency to give up (Ecclesiastes 6:10)
  • The counseled heart that still hurts (Ecclesiastes 6:11)
  • The educated heart that still wonders (Ecclesiastes 6:12)
  • The anxious heart that is tempted to worry (Ecclesiastes 6:12)

When detached from our eternal purpose, the heart easily becomes discouraged, confused, and anxious. When when life doesn’t make sense and we feel stuck, even as God’s children, sometimes the best thing we can do is gather to pray together. The purpose for our lives is not just our job, family, church friends, or even growing in God’s Word. We must always consider who needs the Gospel around us! Life is filled with divine opportunity to enjoy when we pray for it. Our agenda should be subordinate to God’s agenda.

The Discouraged Heart Wants to Give Up.

The first mindset Solomon describes is one of reluctant acquiescence to God's sovereignty. It says, "God controls things; I will never understand; so be it." It is a pessimistic, sarcastic response. No matter how hard these people try, they don’t seem to be accomplishing anything; people are not listening to them; and life seems full of monotony (see Ecclesiastes 1).

How do we make our agendas subordinate to God’s? Pursuing fulfillment in our vocation is not the ultimate fix. It is possible even in the local church to serve & worship the Lord together and not have eternal purpose because an aspect of God's will is left out. When Solomon walked away from God, doing God’s will wasn’t pleasant.

On the other hand, doing His Father’s will was Jesus’ daily food (John 4:32-34, 17:1-5). Jesus lived for eternal purpose and left the same task to us at His ascension (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8). There was a redemptive reason why Jesus put his feet on earth. Discouragement is normal, but Christians living with eternal purpose don’t stay there. Living to do God's will is glorious and joyful even when it is an agony.

The Counseled Heart Still Hurts.

You can read all the information available on counseling and get some decent help, but it won't be ultimately satisfying. Solomon was the wisest man who lived; he had all the data and wisdom of his era, but when he walked away from God, life's circumstances tormented him. Why do we struggle with the same things over and over again? The most spiritually healthy people are those who share Christ with others regularly.

James 2:21-25 says the one who faithfully hears and does God's Word will be blessed. This includes doing all of God's revealed will including Matthew 28:19-20. Yet Jim Stump and The Barna Group report that 95% of church people, including pastors, have never won a friend to Christ outside of a church setting.

What’s next for the believer whose issue of struggle has been healed by the Word of God? Now that their problem is solved, are they automatically living life on purpose? Is that health, maturity, and spiritual success? Counsel is good; but this remedy is not the answer to ultimate success in life. Solutions are not enough on their own without opening doors of opportunity for eternal purpose. Good counsel is good, but is of no ultimate use unless one's life is tied to eternal purpose and activity.

Jesus is the wonderful counselor (Isaiah 9:6). Therapy is okay, but there is always more to hear and learn. This pursuit can be futile. Jesus is not afraid to close the doors of good Bible-believing churches who know all the right information and are doing all the right things but have lost their eternal purpose.

When you arrive in Heaven, it's possible the Lord could ask, "who did you bring with you?" Don’t deny His name before others in your life (Luke 9:26). Even if your witness is not numerically successful, pursue eternal purpose. Are you out of touch with souls who you can influence for eternity? Pray that the Lord will use you where you are.

The Anxious Heart Still Worries.

The believer who lives without eternal purpose finds it hard to cast their cares on Christ and not to be anxious (1 Peter 5:5-7, Philippians 4:6-7, Matthew 6:25-34). People who practice eternal purpose can move out of those anxious moments.

In Jesus, we have all 3 essentials mentioned by James Addison: something to do, someone to love, and something to hope for.

Application Points

  • Do you live for redemptive reasons in imitation of your Savior?
  • Discouragement at times is normal, but we can’t stay there. Often what causes us to feel a lack of purpose is not obeying God's full will. Do something with someone else to pursue eternal purpose. Pray that God would help you understand your eternal purpose for today.
  • When helping someone through a hurt (or counseling your own heart), follow these steps: Pray; review the person's testimony; study God's Word for the issue at hand; ask about their witness lately.
  • Do you feel stuck in hurt, confusion, or discouragement? Let people pull you out of being stuck in a revolving door. Who can you befriend for Christ's sake?
  • You don't need the gift of evangelism to tell people about Christ. Jesus called all occupations of men to follow him, and spiritual gifts had not even been given to the church yet. But all of them were called to be "fishers of men."
  • Rejoice in obeying God’s Word.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Mark 10:45, Philippians 2:7 – Jesus lived for eternal purpose.
  • Matthew 6:33, Revelation 2:1-4 – Focus on what is primary.
  • 2 Corinthians 4:7-11, Philippians 1:12-18, 29-30 – Afflictions resulted in a door for Gospel.
  • John 4:5-42 – Jesus encountered a woman in the natural rhythm of life, as He was doing the will of His Father, and offered her what would truly satisfy.