I pose this question in a very practical way - not metaphysically.
As was the case in Acts 27:13, when the seamen with Paul thought
conditions were proper whereby they may achieve their purpose, they
set sail for Phoenix.
Prothesis is translated "purpose" and is defined as: a setting
forth. It is used of both God and humans. Concerning God, prothesis
involves His omniscience whereby He never fails. But with humans,
this is not always the case as demonstrated in Acts 27:13 by the
seamen not achieving their purpose.
"Purpose" does not emphasize strongly enough the meaning of prothesis.
Webster says that a synonym for "purpose" is "intention." Generally
we think of an intention as something we intend to accomplish, but
we usually feel free to change or modify our intention upon the
unfolding of events.
In the Biblical sense we may say that our sole goal, our uppermost
goal, our single-minded intention is our purpose - that set forth
whereupon every decision in life is based. For example: if a young
lady's purpose (uppermost goal) is to be a movie star, she may appear
in nude scenes. But, if her purpose (uppermost goal) is to be a
Christian and inherit a heavenly home, she will not appear in a
nude scene nor appear in any immoral movie.
Prothesis appears two other times in the New Testament concerning
a person's purpose in life. In 2 Timothy 3:10-12 Paul says: "But
you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose,
faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions,
which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra - what persecutions
I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all
who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution."
Paul's purpose and mission in life was to live according to the
will of God. Everything in Paul's life was surrounded around achieving
his goal (purpose). Later Paul says: "I have fought the good fight,
I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there
is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the
righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only
but also to all who have loved His appearing" (2 Tim. 4:7-8).
As Christians, we must be cognizant of our purpose in life - that
which we have set forth to be our sole or uppermost goal in life.
In Acts 11:23 we read that Barnabas encouraged Christians in Antioch
"that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord."
If we desire to continue with the Lord, we must make this our upper
most goal in life. Everything else must come second to our relationship
with the Lord. Jesus teaches this lesson saying: "So Likewise, whoever
of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple" (Lk.
What is your purpose in life? What have you set forth to accomplish
above all else in life? If your purpose in life is to serve God,
stop and think about the types of decisions you will make in life.
Now think about this: Do my decisions demonstrate that my purpose
in life is to serve God?