What are your goals for the new year? Maybe to best answer that question, you should first ask this one: "Why did God put me on this earth in the first place?" Another way to put it would be, "What is the primary purpose of my existence on earth?"

The Bible tells the story of Belshazzar, a wicked Babylonian king who fell far short of fulfilling his life's purpose. In fact, he went out of his way to blaspheme and openly mock the true God of Israel. When God sent him a handwritten message on the palace wall, the prophet Daniel was brought in to interpret. He made this assessment: "You have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven...and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified" (Daniel 5:23).

Today, many of us do the very thing that Belshazzar did: we fail to fulfill our purpose for being on this earth, and that is to glorify God.

The primary reason we are on this earth, first and foremost, is to know God, to have a relationship with God, and to come into fellowship with God. Second, and as the outgrowth of the first, we are here to glorify God. But how, specifically, do we do that? The answer is found in John 15:8: "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit...?"

The concept of bearing fruit is used often in Scripture. It essentially speaks of the results of a relationship with Jesus Christ. In the Parable of the Sower, the seed sown on good ground brought forth fruit (Mark 4:20). Jesus said, "You will know them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:16). And Colossians 1:10 instructs us to "walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God."

There you have it in a nutshell. You were created to love God, to know God, and to glorify God through the bearing of fruit. Everything else in life is secondary, including your career, your success, and even your ministry. To fail to realize this is to fall short of the primary reason that God created us on in the first place.

We are not here to chase after personal happiness. According to the teaching of Scripture, I am here to seek to be holy, to be like Christ, and to honor Him. But the beautiful by-product of seeking holiness is happiness.

Have you found that to be true? Think of all those years before you were a Christian when you tried to be happy. You thought that if you met the right guy or girl you would be happy — or that a certain experience or accomplishment would make you happy. But there was always that big hole in your life. Then when you came to faith in Christ, you began to get your priorities in order and put God first. Instead of seeking happiness, you focused on holiness, and one day you woke up and realized you were a happy person. It was not a result of chasing after happiness, but because you had your priorities in order. The pursuit of God will result in spiritual fruit in our lives.

On the other hand, we need to consider this statement Jesus made about failing to bear fruit: "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit" (John 15:2).

Jesus was not talking about a tree. He was talking about a vine. A vine basically has no other value than that of bearing fruit. You can't build a house with wood that comes from a vine. You can't make furniture out of it either. If you try to use it as fuel in a fire, it flames up for a moment, and then it is gone. A vine was solely created to bear fruit. In the same way, we are put here on this earth to bring forth fruit.

I want to ask you today, are you an empty vine just bringing forth fruit to yourself? Remember, life is not merely a matter of years. It is also what you do with those years. And Jesus, the True Vine, is where it all begins.