Finding Our Way to Joy and Purpose in Life

Life can seem like a long, meandering trek to find joy and our purpose in life. In Psalm 16, David teaches us how we can find these in our lives.
Play Video

A couple years back or so, my wife and I discovered just how unreliable Google and Google Maps can be.  While sitting at a Burleson, Texas, gas station parking lot in the rain, we asked Google about the weather and our location.  It thought we were in Boston and . . . well, watch the video below (or to the right on desktop/some tablets) to see for yourself.

Thankfully we knew where we were, where we were going, and how to get there.  Sometimes, though, such clarity is elusive.

Many people meander through life searching for joy and purpose.  They search for it in other people, but mankind (and mankind’s creations) are notoriously unreliable.

So, how do we find our way?

In Psalm 16, we discover that David found the way to joy and purpose.  We also discover how he found them.  The way David found joy and purpose is the same way we find them.

Here’s the passage:


I have set the Lord always before me;
    because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
    my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
    or let your holy one see corruption.

11 You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

– Psalm 16:8-11 (ESV)

Finding Our Way to Joy

In verse 9, David says that he “rejoices,” and he repeats this in verse 11.  David found his way to joy!  Suddenly, I’ve got a popular meme running through my head, but this time it reads:

David has joy, so be like David
Created using

This is David. David found joy. David now rejoices. Be like David.

But how do we be like David?  How did can we find joy? We find it the same way David did.

Verses 8-10 tell us how David found joy: he sought a relationship with God.  He desired God and put his trust in the Lord. 

If we want to find joy, we need to seek a relationship with God.  The way we have a relationship with God is through faith in Jesus (verse 10b, by the way, is a prophecy of him).

Joy comes to those who seek Jesus, who desire Jesus, who want to be with and know Jesus.

However, joy wasn’t the only thing David found; he also found purpose in life.

Finding Our Way to Purpose

In verse 11, we discover that David found his purpose in life: “You make known to me the path of life.”  Most of us long for such clarity, such vision.  How did David find his, though?

If you guessed it has to do with God, then – ding ding ding – you’re a winner!

David found joy by growing his relationship with God.

Not only did David seek God (v. 8a), he had a personal relationship with him (“he is at my right hand,” v. 8b).  This is elaborated on in verse 11 where David says that he dwells with – or abides in – God.

David spend time in God’s presence.  This, however, was more than just going to church on Sunday.  This type of dwelling/abiding was a daily activity for David.  By spending time with God, David’s purpose was revealed.

If we want to know our purpose, we need to have a growing personal relationship with God through Jesus.  That means we must abide in Christ every day.  Not sure how?  Well, I wrote on article (and made a video) on that very topic!  As we spend time with God, our purpose in life will become more and more visible which, by the way, will also increase our joy.

Bringing it Home

Aerosmith said, “life’s a journey, not a destination.”  They were half right.  Life is both a journey and a destination.

As we travel through life, many spend their whole journey seeking joy and purpose, not realizing that both are found in Christ.  Joy comes as we seek God.  Purpose is revealed as we spend time with Jesus.

Our daily lives – the journey – are best spent trying to know and be like Jesus, serving others as he did, and sharing the gospel with those we encounter along the way.  Our destination is the glorious eternity awaiting Jesus’ followers, an eternity in God’s grace and love.

Life’s a journey of seeking and growing in God.

Life’s a destination named Jesus.

Have you found joy and purpose in your life?  Share about it below.

Resources for Further Growth
About John L. Rothra
Stay Updated

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

I’m Here to Help You

I want to help you and your church know, show, and share the gospel of Jesus!

Having been involved with churches of various sizes—from small rural churches to urban megachurches—I offer my experience and education to you.

Schedule me to speak or to be a guest on your podcast or YouTube channel.