“What am I supposed to do with my life?”
To quote Blue Whittaker from LEGO City Undercover, “That’s the question on everyone’s lips.”
(Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)
But really, who hasn’t asked that question? Actually, most of us have probably never stopped asking it—we have yet to find that place where we feel like we belong. Many haven’t even an inkling as to what that place could be, or what a truly successful existence looks like.
While I’m not an expert on such matters, I have been giving it considerable thought lately as I think about my own future. So, as what-shall-I-do is a question most people ask and a very important one as well, I’ve decided to share my thoughts here with the Creation Club. (You’re welcome!)
Living With Eternity in View
First off, we must think about our lives here on earth in the proper perspective. We humans have a tendency to forget that our lives will extend far, far beyond the grave, into a world never seen by anyone alive today. The first thing we must do if we wish to live successful lives—whether we wish to be successful or not, in fact—is make sure that we are fully prepared to leave this world.
I can guess what you’re thinking. “C’mon, Luke, this is a Christian website. Who reading this wouldn’t be ready to die?”
Well, perhaps we are all saved, but are we truly ready?—as ready as we can be? What if God expects more from us than simply to “get saved” or “accept Jesus”? If you died at this very moment, would you be quite comfortable to be suddenly standing before God? You may be saved from Hell, but are you sure you are living in a way which pleases Him? If you are not, or aren’t sure you are, then that would be the first thing to take care of.
I don’t intend to start a discussion about Christian perfection here—such would be beyond the scope of this article. All I’m trying to get across is that there is much, much more to life than having a hugely successful career, retiring early, and leaving a fat estate to your prodigy; there is certainly more to it than living in the monotonous day in, day out cycle.
Speaking of eternity, do you know how many souls leave this earth every day? Try taking a guess. A thousand? Five—maybe ten thousand? Twenty perhaps?
The correct answer is >em>fifty thousand.
Think about that for a moment. By the time you go to bed tonight, 50,000 precious individuals—people who are worth so much that God died a horrible death to save them—will have gone on into eternity. In three weeks, one million will have died. In a year, that count will reach 18,250,000—eighteen million, two hundred fifty thousand people.
And most of them truly unprepared.
Let me clarify my point again, before some of us take the above paragraph and enroll at a theological seminary. To have a successful and worthwhile existence in this world, we must be focused on eternity. And while we aren’t all called to full-time ministerial work, we are all called to evangelize.
I once heard a poem that went something like, “Only one life, ’twill soon be past; only what’s done for God will last.”
Did you realize that all projects completed on this earth will ultimately be destroyed,
unless they are done for an eternal purpose? No matter how impressive they seem to be here, they will amount to nothing in the next life unless they somehow make a difference for eternity.
There are three things I like to refer to when I need to refocus on what is truly important in life:
– The meaning of life
– The Great Commission
– The Great Commandments
I recently learned that “what is the meaning of life” is one of the most-searched queries on Google. (That’s just weird. I mean, while Google’s a pretty cool guy, he’s no philosopher.) Some people think they can answer that question, but the only answer I’ve come across that makes sense in a Judeo-Christian worldview is from the Westminster Shorter Catechism:
What is the chief end of man?
Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.
And there you have it. You see, everything in Creation was made to worship and glorify God (Col. 1:16). Mankind is the crowning jewel of Creation—made in God’s very image, no less—so, of all living things, we should certainly be glorifying God. And for human beings, the meaning of existence extends far beyond simply praising God with the rest of Creation—God made us to love Him and to enjoy His company. Quite literally, He wants us to be His friends! (John 15:15)
So clearly, our first objective if we are to live successful lives is to develop a close relationship with our Creator and to glorify Him in everything we do. But as citizens of a fallen world, we have another duty as well: that of directing the unbelievers to Jesus and salvation. Again, this doesn’t mean we should all go to college to become preachers and missionaries. However, if we are failing to witness to the lost, we are hardly living successful lives.
And finally, we have the Great Commandments.
Some protestant denominations can get very particular about rules—rules which, arguably, are not always explicitly clear in scripture, if they are there at all. Don’t get me wrong—I believe it’s important that we have standards, but I think those standards should be left primarily to the individual to set for himself, with a few obvious exceptions being those things which are foundational to Christianity (i.e., that Jesus is the Son of God, that marriage is between one man and one woman, etc.).
There are times when it’s difficult for us to decide where to stand on an issue. For example, the Bible states “thou shalt not bear false witness,” and “all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.” With this in mind we must ask: Is it acceptable to deceive someone in order to save another’s life?
Remember the holocaust during World War II. During that time, certain courageous people—Corrie ten Boom’s family being one famous example—took Jews into their homes and hid them from Nazi soldiers. Now, when these people were questioned, was it wrong for them to intentionally deceive the soldiers by stating that there were no Jews in their homes? Will they have their part in the Lake of Fire because they “lied” to save innocent people?
By way of answering this question, let’s consider what Jesus called the greatest commandments:
The first and greatest commandment is, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, and strength. And the second is like unto it, that thou love thy neighbor as thyself.
Reader, would it have been an act of love for those trying to save the Jews to tell the Nazis that they were hiding them? For that matter, would they have brought glory to God by doing so? Hardly!
Therefore, when deciding what standards to live by and when deciding what to do with out lives, we must return to these basic principles: the meaning of life (bringing glory to God and maintaining a close relationship with Him) and, especially, the Great Commandments, also known as “the law of love.” Also when deciding what to do with our lives we must be mindful of the Great Commission, and ensure that in everything we do we are being good witnesses for Christ and are sharing His gospel with all who will listen.
Now then. If you’re interested in finding God’s plan for your life—or, if not that, at least getting a clearer picture of what a successful live involves—I would suggest that you begin by examining your biggest dream (or dreams, if you’re like me and can’t seem to get by with only one). You may be in a place right now in which you feel as though you haven’t any dreams or plans for the future, but if you look deep enough I’ll bet you
can recall something you’ve always been passionate about or something you feel you would really like to do. It can be anything, even if it’s as seemingly bizarre as being a pro music artist or an astronaut.
Once you have this dream in mind, ask yourself these questions:
– Why do I want to do this?
– Do I want to make myself look good, or make God look good?
– Do I want to make a lot of money?—and, if so, why?
– Could I effectively be a public witness for Christ and evangelize while in this position?
– If realized, would this idea make a difference in eternity?
Take care to be perfectly honest with yourself—it’s all too easy to think one thing is true when another is actually the case, especially where our personal motives are involved. If you are sincere in answering these questions, I think you’ll get a pretty clear idea of whether your dream could be a worthwhile endeavor or not. This isn’t to say you should or should not begin pursuing it—even if it seems like a good idea, you may have yet to discover God’s plan for you. But if you consider every idea in light of these questions—from eternity’s perspective—you will know which ones are worth considering.
One more thing before I sign off: Lest I give the impression that your life is entirely in your hands and you can do whatever you like with it, we must remember that only following God’s plan will bring about success. You may be required to wait some time before He will unveil His plan to you. But at the same time, I don’t believe we are ever meant to sit around doing nothing. If you are actively searching for your mission here on earth, and you sincerely desire what God desires, I’ve no doubt that He will lead you. (“In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”—Prov. 3:6)
And that is all from me for this month. Thanks for reading—farewell!