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Why Do We Say, ‘Life Is a Journey Not a Destination’?

No one else will live the same life as you because there is no one like you. Therefore, we say “life is a journey, not a destination” because it reminds us that life is an ongoing journey of learning and growing.

Why Do We Say, ‘Life Is a Journey Not a Destination’?

A common saying spoken is “life is a journey, not a destination.” This is a very popular phrase that is used across the world. If a person hears this saying often or it becomes overused, it can lose its effect.

The phrase “life is a journey, not a destination” is meant to be impactful and encouraging, but why do we say this phrase?

The Journey of Life

The poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, is credited with the phrase “life is a journey, not a destination.” These words are true because life is a journey, not a destination. Life is an ongoing journey. A destination is a place you arrive at or an endpoint.

Life has no arrival or final destination. Life is an ongoing journey and adventure. Throughout our lives, we are going to be constantly traveling, maturing in our faith, and growing older.

When we are living our daily lives, it is important that we step back from the hectic rush of life and truly enjoy the journey. Our journeys in our lives help us grow into the people we become.

In our Christian walks, we need to be striving to include Jesus in every aspect of our journeys of life. The Bible tells us we are only pilgrims on this earth. C. S. Lewis often spoke about how we as humans are only pilgrims passing through on our way to be with the Lord.

Philippians 3:20 says, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Our lives are our journeys, yet our final destination is heaven.

During our earthly lives, we will never land at our final destination. As long as we have breath in our lungs, God still has a purpose for our lives.

God is constantly telling individuals throughout the Bible to “go” (Matthew 28:18-20; Genesis 12:1). Throughout our lives, God wants us to keep going and to share the gospel with others as well as to disciple them and help them grow in their faith.

The Christian faith is truly a journey, and it is a hard one. Many individuals believe after one becomes a Christian that their life will automatically be made all better.

While life does get better after becoming a Christian because you know Christ, it does not automatically fix all of your problems.

In other words, the Christian life is a hard journey filled with many ups and downs. John Bunyan’s novel The Pilgrim’s Progress does a fantastic job of illustrating the journey of life for a Christian.

The journey of life becomes extremely difficult at times, but God walks with us through every step (Psalm 23). In our own pilgrimages, we need to lean on God and trust Him.

He truly does know what is best and we can fully trust Him. We have nothing to be afraid of because God loves us, and He will direct every step of our life if we allow Him (Proverbs 3:5-6).

The Final Destination

The final destination of our lives lies in our own hands. Our eternal fate lies before us. It is up to us whether we decide to accept Jesus or not.

Throughout our lives, it does not matter how many “good deeds” we do if we do not know Christ. Our goodwill never outweighs our bad. Paul tells us “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

As human beings, we need to carefully examine ourselves and see if we have placed faith in Christ. We can have amazing lives by our own standards, but if we don’t know Christ and we never lived for Him, our lives would not be pleasing to the Lord.

The world tries to tell us that our final destination is our job, finding the right spouse, or buying a huge house, but that’s not true.

This way of thinking causes individuals to have an incorrect view of life as they will always be striving for their “final destination” rather than living the journey of their life for Christ.

It is a dangerous business to live our lives for ourselves and neglect Jesus’ influence in our lives. As Christians, it is important to know that our final destination is with Christ in heaven, but the journey of life is just as important.

The journey of our lives is beautiful and if we live our lives for Jesus, we will have the most joy in the Lord and we will make a difference for His Kingdom.

Why Do We Say It?

We say “life is a journey, not a destination” because life is the journey and through life, we learn and grow into the people we become. This phrase can also be used to tell loved ones when they are going through a difficult time in their lives.

We need to remember that our lives are a journey and there will be highs and lows. There will be sunny days full of happiness and there will be days of rainstorms and pain.

The beautiful thing about life’s journey is that it is ongoing, and we are constantly learning and growing with every breath we take — through the smiles and the tears.

As we grow older, we can reflect on the past and see just how far we have come in our journey, and look ahead to our continued journey of life. The journey of life continues until we are in the presence of the Lord.

God has created each of us uniquely with a unique purpose for our lives. Throughout our lives’ journey, He is going to have us complete His purpose for our lives. Even when our journey gets hard, we don’t need to give up.

Instead, we need to keep traveling through our pilgrimage (2 Corinthians 5:1-10). In your own personal life journey, stay focused on Christ and keep your eyes fixed on Him. The Bible tells us,

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Jesus knows life gets arduous, which is why He wants us to come to Him (Matthew 11:28-30). Turn to God today, trust Him, and rely on Him in your daily pilgrimage.

Life is a beautiful journey, and we need to take in every second of it. Our time with our loved ones is precious and every second matters.

It is easy to take life for granted until it slips out of our reach, or we are faced with a terminal illness. In your own life, serve God through the journey and He will lead you exactly where He needs you to be and what He wants you to do. Your life is beautiful and unique.

No one else will live the same life as you because there is no one like you. Therefore, we say “life is a journey, not a destination” because it reminds us that life is an ongoing journey of learning and growing. Life is not a final destination because, without the journey, there would not be a life.

For further reading:

What Is the Meaning of Life?

The Non-Linear Christian Life

Is it Biblical ‘Where God Guides, He Provides’?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Ben Taylor


Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.