This idea, that should always ask "what is it for", is a fairly popular ACIM teaching. And it's useful to remember this. But I struggled to relate to this wording as if, the answer was obscure and unknown. We might find it easier if we ask, "what is my purpose in using this?" ie, WHY am I using this, what is the GOAL I am trying to achieve, what am I using his FOR? What purpose have I given to it? Why did I choose this on purpose?
And this is also tied into recognizing that EVERYTHING has a purpose. Whether it be God creating you for the purpose of joy and extension of the Kingdom, or you choosing to suffer for the purpose of escaping from sin. Sickness similarly always has a purpose, a reason why you are sick, a decision you made as to how you would USE sickness to ACHIEVE something. What is it for? Why did you choose it? How does it serve you? What are you getting out of it? What is its FUNCTION? Everything has a function even in dreams. Even fear, guilt, sin, sickness and death.
Once we can identify what was the true initial inspirational purpose for something, we can see WHY we chose it and made it happen, what we WANTED to achieve. Why we are using it this way. THEN, there is now a opportunity to make another choice, to GIVE the thing as NEW purpose, the Holy Spirit's purpose, to USE IT differently as a way to recognize that you made a choice and want to choose again, or that you would rather USE this thing to reflect truth and healing and acknowledgement of reality, rather than use it to deceive yourself further.
This re-purposing of the world, of all events, all feelings, all perceptions, all experiences, allows you to use what YOU made for purposes of attack, for purposes of forgiveness. When you decide, I will no longer make this ON PUPROSE for THAT PURPOSE that I originally made it for, admitting that you were doing this for some kind of personal gain, you can now decide not to continue with this purpose, which now gives the thing the purpose of release and freedom. You can now "use it" differently, see it differently, and let go of the ego purpose you were using it for before.
"The test of EVERYTHING on earth is simply this: "What is it FOR?" The answer makes it what it IS for you. It has NO meaning of itself, yet you can GIVE reality to it, according to the purpose which YOU serve. Here, YOU are but means, along with it. God is a Means as well as End. In Heaven, means and end are one, and One with Him. This is the state of true creation, found, not within time, but in eternity. To no-one here is this describable. Nor is there any way to learn what this condition means. Not 'til you go PAST learning to the Given; not 'til you make again a holy home for YOUR creations is it understood."
"Who can resolve the senseless conflicts which a dream presents? What could the resolution mean in truth? What purpose could it serve? What is it for?"
"In any situation in which YOU are uncertain, the FIRST thing to consider, very simply, is, "What do I want to come of this? What is it FOR?" The clarification of the goal belongs at the BEGINNING, for it is this that will DETERMINE the outcome. In the ego's procedure, this is reversed. The SITUATION becomes the determiner of the outcome, WHICH CAN BE ANYTHING. The reason for this disorganized approach is evident. The ego does not know what it WANTS to come of it. It IS aware of what it does NOT want, but only that. It has no POSITIVE goal at all.
Without a clear-cut, positive goal, set at the outset, the situation just seems to happen, and makes no sense until it has ALREADY HAPPENED. Then you look BACK at it, and try to piece together what it MUST have meant. AND YOU WILL BE WRONG. Not only is your judgment IN THE PAST, but you have no idea what SHOULD have happened. No goal was set, with which to bring the means IN LINE. And now, the only judgment LEFT to make is whether or not the ego LIKES it; is it acceptable, or does it call for vengeance? The absence of a criterion for outcome, SET IN ADVANCE, makes understanding doubtful, and evaluation impossible.
The value of deciding, in advance, what you WANT to happen, is simply that you will perceive the situation as a means to MAKE it happen. You will therefore make every effort to OVERLOOK what interferes with the accomplishment of your objective, and concentrate on everything that helps you meet it. It is quite noticeable that THIS approach has brought you closer to the Holy Spirit's SORTING OUT of truth and falsity. The "true" becomes what can be used to MEET the goal. The "false" becomes the useless FROM THIS POINT OF VIEW. The situation now HAS meaning, but only because the goal has MADE it meaningful.
The goal of truth has further practical advantages. If the situation is used for truth and sanity, its outcome MUST be peace. And this is quite APART from what the outcome IS. For, if peace is the CONDITION of truth and sanity, and CANNOT be WITHOUT them, where peace is, they MUST be. Truth comes of itself. If you experience PEACE, it is because the truth HAS come to you. And you WILL see the outcome truly, for deception cannot prevail against you. And you will RECOGNIZE the outcome, BECAUSE you are at peace. Here, again, you see the OPPOSITE of the ego's way of looking. For the EGO believes the situation BRINGS the experience. The Holy Spirit knows the situation IS as the goal determines it, and is experienced ACCORDING to the goal."