purpose driven life summary

Book Summary: Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

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The Purpose Driven Life

Published: 2002 by Zondervan

Spiritual Growth

Table Of Contents
  1. Resonating Quotes
  2. What on Earth Am I Here For?
  3. Purpose #1: You Were Planned for God’s Pleasure
  4. Purpose 2: You Were Formed for God’s Family
  5. Purpose 3: You Were Created to Become Like Christ
  6. Purpose 4: You Were Shaped for Serving God
  7. Purpose 5: You Were Made for a Mission
  8. Actionable Insights after Reading
  9. About Rick Warren

Purpose Driven Life is one of the best-selling nonfiction books in publishing history, with over 50 million copies sold, and translated into 70+ languages.

This book honestly needs no introduction. I’ve read it years ago and would recommend it to everyone.

Rick Warren has made several resources available on the Purpose Driven Life Website, including a free video series of each day at this link.


Resonating Quotes

“Without God, life has no purpose, and without purpose, life has no meaning. Without meaning, life has no significance or hope.”

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. Humility is thinking more of others.”

“You weren’t put on earth to be remembered. You were put here to prepare for eternity.”

“You cannot fulfill God’s purposes for your life while focusing on your own plans.”

“Why is this happening to me? Why am I having such a difficult time? One answer is that life is supposed to be difficult! It’s what enables us to grow. Remember, earth is not heaven!”

“God intentionally allows you to go through painful experiences to equip you for ministry to others.”

What on Earth Am I Here For?

Day 1: It All Starts With God

Point to Ponder: It’s not about me. Colossians 1:16b

God is the source of my life. I can discover my identity and purpose through a relationship with Christ.

I was made by God and for God—and until I understand that, life will never make sense.

In spite of all the advertising around me, how can I remind myself that life is really about living for God, not myself?

Day 2: You Are Not An Accident

I am not an accident. My parents may not have planned me, but God did.
Everything about me has been custom designed by God. I was conceived in the mind of God.

Day 3: What Drives Your Life?

Everyone’s life is driven by something. Many people are driven by guilt, by resentment and anger, by fear, by materialism, by need of approval. There are other forces that cand rive your life but all will lead to the same dead end.

A purpose-driven life: a life guided, controlled and directed by God’s purpose

5 Benefits of having a purpose driven life:

  1. Gives meaning to life
  2. simplifies life
  3. focuses your life
  4. motivates your life
  5. prepares you for eternity

Day 4: Made to Last Forever

This life is not all there is. There is more than just here and now. This life is just a dress rehearsal for true life in eternity.

God has given us glimpses of eternity in his Word. He is preparing an eternal home for us.

Day 5: Seeing Life From God’s View

The way you see your life shapes your life.

3 Biblical views of life:

  1. Test – it tests people’s character. faith, obedience, love, integrity, and loyalty
  2. Trust – we are God’s stewards
  3. Temporary assignment

Day 6: Life is a Temporary Assignment

2 truths: Life is brief. World is not my home.

We experience difficulties and sorrow as followers of Jesus. Promises seems unfulfilled, prayers seem unanswered, circumstances seems unfair —it’s not the end if story.

Day 7: The Reason for Everything

Bringing glory to God is the reason for everything.
What is God’s glory? It is who God is.

Where is God’s glory? Everything created by God reflects his glory in some way. He has revealed his glory to people indifferent settings.

How can we bring glory to God?

  1. Worshipping Him
  2. Loving other believers
  3. Become like Christ
  4. Serving others
  5. Telling others about Jesus Christ

Purpose #1: You Were Planned for God’s Pleasure

Day 8: Planned for God’s Pleasure

Bringing pleasure to God is called “worship”. Worship is far more than music, it is a lifestyle.

Day 9: What Makes God Smile

Every human activity (except sin) can be done for God’s pleasure.

5 acts of worship that make God smile:

  1. when we love Him supremely
  2. when we trust Him completely
  3. when we obey Him wholeheartedly
  4. when we praise and thank Him continually
  5. when we use our abilities

God gazes you with love because you were his idea. He loves you as if you were the only person in earth.

God watches every detail of your life.

Day 10: The Heart of Worship

The heart of worship is surrender. 95% is not enough.

Can I trust God? The more you realize how much God loves you, the easier surrender becomes.
Fear, pride, and confusion are the three things that keep us from submitting ourselves to God.

Day 11: Becoming God’s Best Friend

  1. Through constant conversation – you’ll never grow a close relationship with God by just attending church once a week or even having daily quiet time. Friendship with God is sharing all your life experiences with Him.
  2. Through continual meditation – when you think about God’s Word over and over in your mind, that’s meditation

Day 12: Developing Your Friendship With God

until we mature enough to understand that God uses everything for good in our lives, we harbor resentment toward god over our appearance, background, unanswered prayers, past hurts, and other things we would change if we were God.

You are as close to God as you chose to be.

I must choose to obey God in faith. Obedience not our of fear or duty, or compulsion, but because we love him and trust him that he knows what’s best for us

Day 13: Worship that Pleases God

God wants all of you.

  1. God is pleased when our worship is accurate
  2. When our worship is authentic
  3. When our worship is thoughtful
  4. When our worship is practical

We can worship God imperfectly but not insincerely.
Some slow songs can lead us away from worshipping God because they focus our attention on ourselves and our feelings rather than God.
forms of praise in the Bible:
confessing, singing, shouting, dancing, kneeling, raising hands, standing in honor, testifying, playing musical instruments, making a joyful noise.

The best style of worship is the one most authentically represents your love for God

Day 14: When God Seems Distant

God is real, no matter how I feel.
Hebrews 13:15
It’s easy to worship Him when everything’s going great. But circumstances are not always pleasant.

How to praise God even when you don’t understand what’s happening and God is silent?

  1. Tell God exactly how you feel
  2. Focus on who God is—his unchanging nature
  3. Trust God to keep his promises
  4. Remember what God has already done for you

Purpose 2: You Were Formed for God’s Family

Day 15: Formed for God’s Family

Every human being was created by God, but not everyone is a child of God. The only way to get into God’s family is beung born again into it.

Day 16: What Matters Most

Life is all about love.

God wants you to be in regular, close fellowship with other believers so you can develop the skill of loving.

Relationships must be your priority. Why?

  • Life without love is worthless
  • Love will last forever
  • We will be evaluated on our love

The best expression of love is time.

Day 17: A Place to Belong

I am called to belong, not just believe.
Romans 12:5
A church family identifies me as a believer, it moves me out of self-isolation, helps me develop spiritual muscle, will help me keep from backsliding.

Day 18: Experiencing Life Together


Day 19: Cultivating Community

Community requires commitment.

Cultivating a community takes honesty, humility, courtesy, confidentiality, and frequency.
Thoughtless words leave lasting wounds.

Day 20: Restoring Broken Fellowship

How to restore relationship?

  1. Talk to God before talking to the person
  2. Always take the initiative
  3. Sympathize with their feelings
  4. Confess your part of the conflict
  5. Attack the problem not the person
  6. Cooperate as much as possible
  7. Emphasize reconciliation not resolution

Day 21: Protecting Your Church

How to achieve unity?

  1. Focus on what we have in common, not our differences.
  2. Be realistic in your expectations
  3. Chose to encourage rather than criticize
  4. Refuse to listen to gossip
  5. Practice God’s method for conflict resolution
  6. Support your pastor and leaders

Purpose 3: You Were Created to Become Like Christ

Day 22: Created to Become Like Christ

God’s ultimate goal for your life is not comfort, but character development. We are human beings, not human doings.

Never forget that life is not about you! You exist for God’s purposes, not vice versa.

Day 23: How We Grow

God wants you to grow up. His goal is for you to mature and develop Jesus’ character.

Sadly, millions of Christians grow older but never grow up.

Knowledge is not the only measure of maturity.
It takes an intentional commitment.

Day 24: Transformed by Truth

Acts 20:32

Abiding in God’s Word

  • I must accept its authority
  • I must assimilate its truth
  • I must apply its principles

What has God already told me in His word that I haven’t started doing yet?

Day 25: Transformed by Trouble

God has a purpose behind every problem.
Life is a series of problems. It forces us to look on God and depend on him instead of ourselves.
When in pain we don’t have time for superficial prayers.

Respond to problems the way Jesus would:

  1. Remember God’s plan is good.
  2. Rejoice and give thanks.
  3. Refuse to give up. Be patient and persistent.

Day 26: Growing Through Temptation

Everytime you choose to do good instead of sin, you are growing in the character of Christ.

God develops the fruit of the Spirit in your life by allowing you to experience circumstances in which you’re tempted to express the exact opposite quality!

How temptation works:

  1. Satan identifies desires inside of you
  2. Doubt
  3. Deception
  4. Disobedience

How to overcome temptation:

  1. refuse to be intimidated
  2. recognize your pattern of temptation and be prepared for it
  3. request God’s help

Day 27: Defeating Temptation

God is faithful.
There is always a way out.

  1. Refocus your attention on something else
  2. Reveal your struggle to a godly friend or support group
  3. Resist the devil
  4. Realize your vulnerability

Day 28: It Takes Time

There are no shortcuts to maturity.
Why does it take so long?

  1. We are slow learners
  2. We have a lot to unlearn
  3. We are often afraid to humbly face the truth about ourselves
  4. Growth is often painful and scary
  5. Habits take time to develop

Cooperate with God in the process

  1. Believe God is working in your life even when you don’t feel it.
  2. Keep a notebook or journal of lessons learned.
  3. Be patient with God and with yourself.
  4. Don’t get discouraged.

Delay is not a denial from God.

PBPGINFWMY “Please Be Patient, God Is Not Finished With Me Yet”

Purpose 4: You Were Shaped for Serving God

Day 29: Accepting Your Assignment

  • You were created to serve God.
  • You were saved to serve God.
  • You are called to serve God.
  • You are commanded to serve God.

Service is not optional.

Day 30: Shaped for Serving God

Each of us was uniquely designed, or “shaped”, to do certain things.

Custom combination of capabilities:

S=Spiritual Gifs

Unwrapping Your Spiritual Gifts

An unopened gift is worthless. Spiritual gifts are God-empowered abilities for serving him. It is given only to believers.

Listening to Your Heart

heart=desires, hopes, interests, ambition, dreams, affections

Your heart represents all the motivations—what you love to do and what you care about the most.

Characteristics of doing what God intended you to do:

  1. Motivation
  2. Effectiveness

Day 31: Understanding Your Shape

Only you can be you. God designed each of us so there would be no duplication in the world.

Applying Your Abilities

  • All of our abilities come from God.
  • Every ability can be used for God’s glory.
  • What I’m able to do, God wants me to do.

Using Your Personality

There is no “right” or “wrong” temperament for ministry. We need all kinds of personalities to balance the church and give it flavor.

Employing Your Experiences

Look at past experiences to examine:

  1. Family
  2. Education
  3. Vocational
  4. Spiritual
  5. Ministry
  6. Painful (this one God uses most)

Day 32: Using What God Gave You

God deserves your best. He doesn’t want you to covet abilities you don’t have. Instead, he wants you to focus on talents he has given you to use.

Focus on finishing your race. Never compare yourself or your ministry with others.

Discover your shape:

  • Begin by assessing your gifts and abilities
  • Consider your heart and your personality
  • Examine your experiences and extract the lessons you have learned

Day 33: How Real Servants Act

service > status

God determines greatness by how many people you serve, not how many people serve you.

God shaped you for service, not self-centeredness.

Anyone can be a servant. All it requires is character.

Day 34: Thinking Like a Servant

Attitude > achievement
Real servants serve God with a mindset of 5 attitudes:

  1. They think more about others than themselves.
  2. Servants think like stewards, not owners.
  3. Servants think about their work, not what others are doing.
  4. Servants base their identity on Christ.
  5. Servants think of ministry as an opportunity, not an obligation.

Day 35: God’s Power in My Weakness

Follow the model of Paul:

  1. Admit your weaknesses.
  2. Be content with your weaknesses.
  3. Honestly share your weaknesses.
  4. Glory in your weaknesses.

Purpose 5: You Were Made for a Mission

Day 36: Made for a Mission

Your ministry is your service to believers. Your mission is your service to unbelievers.

The importance of your mission:

  1. Your mission is a continuation of Jesus’ mission on earth.
  2. Your mission is a wonderful privilege.
  3. Telling others how they can have eternal life is the greatest thing you can do for them.
  4. Your mission has eternal significance.
  5. Your mission gives my life meaning.
  6. God’s timetable for history’s conclusion is connected to the completion of our mission.

To fulfill your mission will require that you abandon your agenda and accept God’s agenda for your life.

Day 37: Sharing Your Life Message

  1. My testimony
  2. My life lessons
  3. My godly passions
  4. The good news of the Gospel

List your life lessons. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What has God taught me from failure?
  2. What has God taught me from a lack of money?
  3. What has God taught me from pain, sorrow, or depression?
  4. What has God taught me through waiting?
  5. What has God taught me through illness?
  6. What has God taught me from disappointment?
  7. What have I learned from my family, my church, my relationships, and my critics?

Day 38: Becoming a World-Class Christian

The great commission is our mission.

World-class vs. wordly

How to think like a world-class Christian:

  1. Shift from self-centered thinking to others-centered thinking.
  2. Shift from local thinking to global thinking.
  3. Shift from here and now thinking of eternal thinking.
  4. Shift from thinking of excuses to thinking of creative ways to fulfill your commission.

Day 39: Balancing Your Life

God’s 5 purposes for your life:

  1. “Love God with all your heart”
  2. “Love your neighbor as yourself”
  3. “Go and make disciples”
  4. “baptize them into”
  5. “teach them to so all things”

Develop these habits:

  1. Talk it through with a spiritual partner or small group.
  2. Give yourself a regular spiritual checkup.
  3. Write down your progress in a journal. We remember what we record.
  4. Pass on what you have learned to others.

Day 40: Living on Purpose

Living with purpose is the only way to live. Everything else is just existing.

Most people struggle with 3 areas:

  1. Identity – who am I?
  2. Importance- do I matter?
  3. Impact – what is my place in life?

The answers are found in God’s 5 purposes for you.

What is a life purpose statement:

  • summarizes God’s purposes for your life
  • points the direction of your life
  • defines “success” for you
  • clarifies your roles
  • expressed your shape

Life’s 5 greatest questions:

  1. What will be the center of my life? The question of worship.
  2. What will be the character of my life? The question of discipleship.
  3. What will be the contribution of my life? The question of service.
  4. What will be the communication of my life? The question of my mission to unbelievers.
  5. What will be the community of my life? The question of fellowship.

Day 41: The Envy Trap

You cannot fulfill God’s purpose for your life if you envy the lives of others.

Four harmful effects of allowing envy in my life:

  1. Envy denies my uniqueness.
  2. Envy divides my attention.
  3. Envy misuses my time and energy.
  4. Envy leads me to other sins.

Steps to eradicating envy:

  1. Stop comparing yourself to others.
  2. Celebrate God’s goodness to others.
  3. Be grateful for who you are and what you have.
  4. Trust God when life feels unfair.

When life feels unfair, remind yourself of these things:

  1. Everything I have is an undeserved gift from God.
  2. I don’t know what God knows, so I can’t see what God sees, so I should trust Him.
  3. Life on earth is unfair because of sin.
  4. God sent Jesus to save us from judgment day when He will balance the books and right all wrongs.
  5. It wasn’t fair for Jesus to die in my place for my sins but He did anyway.

Envy rots the bones.

Day 42: The People-Pleaser Trap

Whose approval are you living for?

The 5 harmful effects of people-pleasing:

  1. People-pleasing will cause me to miss God’s will for my life.
  2. People-pleasing will prevent my faith from growing.
  3. People-pleasing leads me to other sins.
  4. People-pleasing causes hypocrisy.
  5. People-pleasing silences my life message.

How to break free from people-pleasing trap:

  1. Remember that even God cannot please everyone!
  2. Remember that I do not need anyone’s approval to be happy.
  3. Remember that what seems so important now is only temporary.
  4. Remember that I only have to please one person, God.
  5. Remember that I will give an account of all my actions to God.
  6. Remember that God has shaped me to be me and not somebody else.

mental shift=repentance

If someone does not approve of you, the problem is them and not you.

Rick asks readers to email him [email protected] to let him know you read the book or sign in at www.PastorRick.com.

Actionable Insights after Reading

  • This book helped me realized my true purpose in life: to honor God.
  • Realized that God wants to befriend me. I felt closer to Him in private worship so I’ll continue doing that.
  • There are so many barriers that keep me from loving and caring for other believers, but this book affirmed my decision to stay in a church community whatever happens.
  • I was created to become like Christ. There seems to be a little progress in spiritual growth but I know I have to be patient.
  • My “shape” is for serving others. All the painful experiences I’ve gone through, God can use to help others who are going through the same kind of situation.

About Rick Warren

Rick Warren is often called “America’s most influential spiritual leader.” He and his wife, Kay, founded Saddleback Church in Orange County, California, which is now one of the largest and best-known churches in the world. He also wrote the #1 all-time bestselling hardcover book, The Purpose Driven Life.

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