Archive for the ‘Don’t Waste Your Life’ Tag

Another Year to Waste?

When the new year roles around we often take the opportunity to look back and re-evaluate things.  For me, the beginning of a new year on the calendar also means a new year in my life since I was born at the beginning of the year.  Often, each year at this time, I look back, not only at the past year, but on my entire life.  I’ve now lived 34 years, which is about the length of time that Christ lived on this earth.  So the past couple of years have been especially retrospective.  Have I wasted my life?  Is my life on a trajectory that will end up in a place where it is wasted?  Or has my life taken a trajectory that will end up making an impact?  John Piper talk’s about this little plaque that hung in the kitchen of the house where he grew up in Greenville, SC.  The plaque said:

Only one life

‘Twill soon be past

Only what’s done for

Christ will last

In the last couple of years I’ve had the occasion to visit with people who were at death’s door.  Visiting my Uncle Bill the day before he died was one of the most profound of those experiences.  The perspective on life is very different when you are looking at it through the lens of a person who has hours left to live.  What difference does the kind of car you own make in that moment?  Do you really care how big your TV is?  Do you say to yourself, “I wish I had been a better golfer”?  Do you say, “I wish I had taken that chance to have an adulterous relationship”?  Do you think, “My life would’ve been so much more happy had I spent a few more years holding on to that bitterness”?

There is so much talk about “purpose” and “fulfillment” and all kinds of other mumbo jumbo.  That’s not what I’m talking about.  I don’t believe for a second that my Uncle Bill was the least bit concerned with his life’s purpose or his own personal fulfillment in his final hours. Driving home from that visit, what struck me the most was that moments in our lives tend to revolve around the most fleeting of pleasures. I know it is true in my own life. I’m not saying we should live in such a way that we deny ourselves pleasure. Actually, I’ve learned exactly the opposite of that – we should live for the greatest of pleasures. The problem is that our taste for pleasure has become so corrupt.

C.S. Lewis wrote…

The New Testament has lots to say about self-denial, but not about self-denial as an end in itself. We are told to deny ourselves and to take up our crosses in order that we may follow Christ; and nearly every description of what we shall ultimately find if we do so contains an appeal to desire. If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

Did you get that – “our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak.” We think so often that what the Bible labels as “sin” is really an over blown desire for pleasure and that Jesus is just a killjoy. That is a lie from the pit of hell. Really, the Bible says that “sin” is a desire for pleasure that has become so corrupt it can’t even recognize what true lasting joy and pleasure are anymore and that those things can only be found in a right relationship with the God who created us for His own glory (Jeremiah 2:12-13).

Here is where I’m going…I know for a fact that my Uncle on his death bed never looked back on his life to say he wished he had spent more days seeking after the pleasures of this world.  And so I hate every moment that I waste seeking pleasure in something that can’t even come close to the greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. What do you fill your life with – “drink and sex and ambition”? The gospel of Jesus Christ offers infinite joy to us. After 34 years – I want nothing more than to turn my back every day on the fleeting pleasures of this world and make an impact that will last – “Only what’s done for Christ will last”.  I don’t want to waste another day making mud pies in a slum because I cannot imagine the fullness of joy that is at the right hand of the LORD God Almighty.

Here is a great book to read that says it much better than I could: