Living for the Wrong Reason

…what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. –James 4:14, NKJV

Recently I participated in one of the saddest, yet hopeful, experiences of my life: the funeral of a very dear friend of mine. Everyone present who spoke of his influence testified to how he impacted their life. In fact, when the officiator asked everyone who had been touched by his life to stand on their feet, virtually everyone present (a few hundred people) stood up instantly and eagerly. As I pondered the response of the audience, as well as the many thoughtful words spoken on my friend’s behalf, it was evident that he truly lived his life for the right reason.

What are you living for? Education? Family? Career? If those closest to you had to describe your passion in life, what would they say, and why? Your answer to these questions essentially defines who you are and what you are living for. If your life is not centered on knowing and serving Christ, like it or not, you are indeed living for the wrong reason.

While it is true that every person’s life has value, it is also true that each of us is here to know God (see John 17:3). Outside of a relationship with God based on faith in Christ and repentance from sin, life is reduced to an endless pursuit of happiness, significance and meaning. Only when we are properly connected to the Creator and Sustainer of life are we on the path to living our lives for the right reason.

Many celebrities and wealthy Americans donate money to causes of philanthropy, but that is not why they are here. Doctors seek to cure or alleviate debilitating illnesses, but that is not ultimately why they were created. Law-enforcement officers live by the motto: to protect and to serve, but that is not the purpose for their existence. The pursuits listed above all have merit, and they are all important and beneficial to humanity. Yet, they merely describe the activities people involve themselves in to give their life meaning if they do not know the God Who initially set their lives in motion.

The God of heaven and earth created mankind to know Him, not simply to find secular substitutes for a relationship with Him. Because God is the source of our existence, we cannot know the essence of life apart from Him. Thankfully, He has revealed to us what life is all about, and that revelation is the Bible.

Live your life to know and serve Christ; this is what the apostle Paul encouraged us to do (see 2 Corinthians 5:15). Like my friend mentioned above, we will one day find ourselves crossing over into eternity. At that moment, that which we have given our lives to will be thoroughly examined (see 2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 14:12). Whatever is revealed on that day will be a mere manifestation of the purpose to which we have given our lives. Unless you have repented of sin, placed your trust in Jesus Christ, and committed your whole life to Him, you are condemned to living for the wrong reason.

One day soon this life will pass; only what’s done for Christ will last.

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