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Study: A sense of purpose adds years to your life

God has a specific destiny and path for each one of us. Photo: Dave Soldano/Flickr/Creative Commons

God has a specific destiny and path for each one of us. Photo: Dave Soldano/Flickr/Creative Commons

A study produced by researchers Patrick Hill from Canada’s Carleton University and Nicholas Turiano from the University of Rochester’s Medical Center concluded that having a purpose adds years to a person’s life.

The two researchers tracked 6,000 people over a 14-year period who had been part of the Midlife in the United States study.

Elements of the comprehensive survey delved into such areas as determining if a person felt they had a purpose. Among other things they were asked to respond to such statements as “some people wander aimlessly in life, but I am not one of them.”

Over their study period, the research team determined that 9% (569) of these people had died.

After analyzing the data, they found that across all age groups those who had a higher sense of purpose consistently lived longer.

Lead author Patrick Hill stated:

“These findings suggest that there’s something unique about finding a purpose that seems to be leading to greater longevity.”

The two added in their report published in Psychological Science that other studies have come to similar conclusions — having a sense of purpose extends a person’s lifespan.

God created people to have a purpose in life. It is when we have a sense of destiny that we function best.

The Bible says:

18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: (Proverbs 29a:18 King James)

The Hebrew word for vision, hazon, refers to a divine vision or revelation from God (1 Samuel 3:1). And because this word refers to future events it implies destiny.

It is something that God wants to impart in each one of us, because without this personal vision or sense of purpose, we will perish or wilt away.

God created humans to hold a vision. We need something bigger than ourselves to strive for.

In his letter to Timothy, Paul explains that our salvation does much more than provide everlasting life, it comes complete with a calling and divine destiny.

who has saved us and called (kalesantos) us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity. (2 Timothy 1:9 NASV)

The word “called” (Greek kalesantos) means simply to be called or summoned (2 Thessalonians 2:14). It includes the idea of being called to do a task which Paul describes as a “holy calling.”

And it is all according to God’s purpose. In other words, your salvation is part of God’s master plan for the world in which God gives each of us a vital role to fulfill.

This calling is so important, that God’s purpose for your life was actually formulated first, long before you were saved. When you became a Christian, you were then placed on this path to fulfilling your God-intended destiny.

10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10 NASV)

How much “beforehand” you ask?

Well, in the case of the prophet Jeremiah, God says he was “consecrated” and “appointed” as a prophet to the nations while still in the womb:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
And before you were born I consecrated you;
I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5 NASV)

So each of us has a divine calling. You need to believe that, discover God’s specific purpose for your life and then start fulfilling it.


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