Friday, May 09, 2008

Salvation From An Empty Life

Are you satisfied with your life? I know that I am not. Just today I allowed myself to get discouraged as I thought about all the things I haven’t done: write a book, speak at a large conference, get married. As we contemplate our lives it is easy to focus on all the things we haven’t achieved and think that our lives are empty and meaningless.

You want to know a little secret? It doesn’t matter how successful we might be our lives are empty without Jesus. No matter how great our accomplishments are they are unable to provide us with the hope that we truly need for life. Remember this: Being a success doesn’t make life worth living!

It is easy to think of people who are successful in the different areas of life. From Donald Trump to Tim Duncan we can point out men and women who have experienced success in this life. Many times they have experienced this success without any faith in Jesus Christ. Which at times can cause us, as Christians, to become discouraged. We become discouraged because we have been trained to view success in the same terms the world sees success. We measure the importance of our lives by the amount of money in our bank accounts, the power at our fingertips, or the influential connections in our address book.

The problem is that sooner or later these types of things will not make any difference to us. What good is it to have money we are not around to spend it? What power can we keep once we are six feet under? What connections will help us once we are dead? King Solomon, a man who had it all, wrote:
2 "Futile! Futile!" laments the Teacher, "Absolutely futile! Everything is futile!" 3 What benefit do people get from all the effort which they expend on earth? 4 A generation comes and a generation goes, but the earth remains the same through the ages. 5 The sun rises and the sun sets; it hurries away to a place from which it rises again. 6 The wind goes to the south and circles around to the north; round and round the wind goes and on its rounds it returns. 7 All the streams flow into the sea, but the sea is not full, and to the place where the streams flow, there they will flow again. 8 All this monotony is tiresome; no one can bear to describe it: The eye is never satisfied with seeing, nor is the ear ever content with hearing. 9 What exists now is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing truly new on earth. 10 Is there anything about which someone can say, "Look at this! It is new!"? It was already done long ago, before our time. 11 No one remembers the former events, nor will anyone remember the events that are yet to happen; they will not be remembered by the future generations.(Ecclesiastes 1:2-11; NET)

Solomon took a long look at his life and came to the realization that everything that he did, whether it was good or evil, was futile. Time and death are great equalizers for they render many, if not all, our success irrelevant. We can give our lives away and accomplish great things, but death still robs us of all our success.

How can we avoid living the futile life? We need to follow Jesus Christ. The apostle Peter wrote:
18 You know that from your empty way of life inherited from your ancestors you were ransomed - not by perishable things like silver or gold, 19 but by precious blood like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb, namely Christ. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was manifested in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you now trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (1 Peter 1:18-21; NET)

God wants to save us from a life made empty and meaningless by death. He does this by provided us with hope. Earlier in 1 Peter the Apostle describes it as a living hope (1 Peter 1:3) made possible by the resurrection of Jesus Christ and discovered through a life of faith. For the follower of Jesus success is measured differently. Success for the Christ Follower is discovered by faithfully following Jesus no matter what else happens. Are you willing to take that step of faith?
  • Point to Ponder: Being a success doesn’t make life worth living!
  • Passage to Remember: 1 Peter 1:18-21
  • Question to Consider: Does following Jesus make life worth living?

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