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The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren—A Synopsis (continued).

Chapter 6—Life Is a Temporary Assignment (pages 47-52)


Just as life on earth are both a test and a trail, the Bible through various metaphors and methods makes it clear that life on this earth is a temporary assignment—that (1) it is extremely brief when compared with eternity and (2) the planet earth on which it is lived is a temporary residence. Each person is only on earth for a visit; it will not be that person’s final destination. Because of this, each person should live for eternity, which is where his real home exists. In fact, any person who comes to this understanding will find that his outlook, values and lifestyle have greatly changed.

This is not only true for the lost person, but it becomes increasingly important to the Christian. The Bible declares that the believer is only an ambassador here in this “foreign land” of earth. Unfortunately the secularism of America’s culture constantly and tenaciously attempts to derail Christian ambassadors. Additionally, because the earth is not the Christian’s home, believers experience difficulty, sorrow and rejection in the world. In a sense this is the believer’s blessing, for it keeps him from becoming too attached to life upon earth. A Christian’s longing will never be fulfilled while on earth. Why? It is specifically because earth is not his real and final home. The believer was created for something much better.

Eternal values, not temporal ones, are important to every Christian. Only values that will last into eternity should color one’s decisions while on earth. To consider material prosperity, popular (worldly) success as God’s goals for one’s life is a fatal mistake. God’s promise of “abundant life” in Scripture does not guarantee success in any worldly endeavor. In fact, it often results in the opposite. The stalwarts of faith in the Bible often had difficult and hazardous lives and met terrifying and horrible deaths. Yet these were the “heroes of faith,” because they viewed life as a temporary assignment and served Jesus Christ faithfully and without compromise.

The Christian’s reward and glory is bestowed upon him after physical death. It is therefore critical that although he will face doubts and hardship while upon earth, he is to realize that he is not home yet—at death he won’t leave home, he will go home.


“Life on earth is a temporary assignment.” (pg. 47)

“You’re just passing through, just visiting earth.” (pg. 48)

“Real believers understand that there is far more to life than just the few years we live on this planet. You identity is in eternity, and your homeland is heaven.” (pg. 48)

“God warns us to not get too attached to what’s around us because it is temporary.” (pg. 49)

“We’re not completely happy here because we’re not supposed to be! Earth is not our final home; we were created for something much better.” (pg. 50)

“Eternal values, not temporal ones, should become the deciding factors for your decisions.” (pg. 50)

“All that is not eternal is eternally useless.” (pg. 50)

“It is a fatal mistake to assume that God’s goal for your life is material prosperity or popular success, as the world defines it. The abundant life had nothing to do with material abundance, and faithfulness to God does not guarantee success in a career or even in ministry. Never focus on temporary crowns.” (pg. 50)

“It takes faith to live on earth as a foreigner.” (pg. 51)

“At death you won’t leave home—you’ll go home.” (pg. 51)


LORD, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am. (Psalm 39:4)

I am a stranger in the earth. . . . (Psalm 119:19a)

For we were born yesterday, and know nothing, because our days on earth are a shadow. (Job 8:9)

And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear. (1 Peter 1:17)

For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame--who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:18-20)

Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4)

Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:20)

\Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul. (1 Peter 2:11)

. . . For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18b)

If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. . . . Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. . . . These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 15:18, 19; 16:20, 33)

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. . . . But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:13, 16)


Life on planet earth for everyone is only for a brief spell. Each person is created for eternity in either one place or the other. The Christian should be acutely aware of his temporary assignment on earth. If he is, his values, decisions and lifestyle will reflect his outlook of his eternal home with God. Christians are not promised luxury and ease upon earth; if they live for Christ, this will often not be the case. But for the believer to live in light of his true homeland (heaven) is to be assured of heavenly rewards in his true and eternal home.