Monday, January 25, 2010

Rescued From Empty Living

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 to men and women who have experienced success in their 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. The reason we become discouraged is because we have been trained to view success in the same terms as the world does. This results in our measuring 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 in our lives. What good is it to have money we are unable to spend? 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:
“Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!” What do people get for all their hard work under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes. The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again. The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles. Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea. Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content. History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now. (Ecclesiastes 1:2-11; NLT)
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 ultimately futile. Time and death are great equalizers since they render much, if not all, of our success as irrelevant. We can give our lives away to wonderful ideals and accomplish great things, but death still robs us of all our success.

How can we avoid living the futile life? We escape the futile life by following Jesus Christ. The apostle Peter wrote:
For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but he has now revealed him to you in these last days. Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory. (1 Peter 1:18-21; NLT)

God wants to save us from a life made empty and meaningless by sin and death. He does this by providing us with hope of a better life to come. Earlier in 1 Peter the Apostle describes it as a living hope (1 Peter 1:3) which is made possible by the resurrection of Jesus Christ and discovered through a life of faith. For the follower of Jesus success is measured differently than it is measured by the world. Success for the Christ Follower is discovered by faithfully following Jesus no matter what happens in our lives. When we whole-heartedly follow Jesus we discover life the way it is meant to be lived.

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