Friday, January 26, 2007
Don't waste your life
At first, I thought this was just a hilarious video about a poor gazelle, but then I realized that if I'm not careful, my life could be like the gazelle's life. The gazelle had determination, intensity, perserverance (okay, and a lot of stupidity too), but he had no focus, no path to follow, so he wasted his life.
We just read The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy. Tolstoy writes about a man (Ivan) who wastes his life but does not realize it until he is almost dead. Ivan spends his life working for a more advantageous job, a larger house, and increased wealth. Only on his deathbed does Ivan percieve that those things are worthless. Unfortunately, although he realizes he failed to live selflessly, he refuses to acknowledge the true reason his life was wasted: he never followed Christ. Instead, he followed his own desires.
I just watched a lecture by John Piper called "Don't Waste Your Life." Piper tells of an eighty year old man who, after decades of people praying for him, finally gave his life over to Christ. But all the man could say, with tears streaming down his face, was, "I wasted it. I wasted it. I've wasted my whole life."
James 4:13-14 says, "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make profit'--yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes."
Our lives are so short. They are simply a mist, a vapor that disappears. How then do we not throw away our lives? What does the unwasted life look like?
John Piper sums it up, "The pathway of the unwasted life--to use your life to magnify Christ. You must cultivate supreme valuing or treasuring of Christ above all things. You must use the things given to you: posessions, food, looks, education, and your life to glorify Him."
Paul says (Philippians 1:20-21), "As it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death." And (Philippians 3:7-9) "But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith."
Paul was willing to give up anything and everything to glorify Christ. I've been thinking over some hard questions: Am I willing to surrender everything for Christ? Do I count everything as loss for the value of Christ? Is my life passion to glorify Him? Am I making life choices to best display Him?
I want an unwasted life. I refuse to become an easy feast for a hungry lion.