Someone congratulated me on getting married the other day, and followed up by telling me it was her 17th wedding anniversary on the weekend. The all too common phrase “the years certainly pass very quickly” actually made me stop and think for a second.
I’m 25 this year. Google tells me that on average Australians live to 82.10 years. A calculator tells me that I’ve basically used up 1/3 of my life. How about you? How’s that make you feel? What have you achieved? What do you want with the rest of your life?
Purpose has always been really important to me
Ever since I was young, I remember thinking the questions, why am I here? What’s the point? Is there a meaning for my life? It seems to me that these big questions often go unanswered in our lives.
Jellyfish or a Dolphin?
I get so distracted by a busy culture that has it’s own values. I’ve been reminded recently of a challenge. Do I want to be a jellyfish floating in the current, or a dolphin swimming at will? Let me try and explain
I was listening to a podcast the other day that highlighted our current cultural pillars of materialism, individualism and consumerism.
Here are some definitions (if you needed them like me…)
Materialism – matter is the fundamental substance in nature, and that all phenomena, including mental phenomena and consciousness, are results of material interactions.
Individualism – the belief that the needs of each person are more important than the needs of the whole society.
Consumerism – a social and economic order and ideology that encourages the acquisition of goods and services in ever-increasing amounts.
Together, they seem to tell us: There is nothing other than physical reality, so prioritize your own needs by consuming as much as you can.
I’m interested in your thoughts on this. Do you see this in our culture? I see this deeply in myself. It makes perfect sense of the undercurrent of my obsession with approval, comfort, entertainment, popularity and wealth (just to name a few).
Maybe unsurprisingly, our culture isn’t surprising to Jesus
Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Luke 12:13-21 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
It’s as if someone went and signed up for a 1 year lease on an apartment and invested their whole life’s savings on making it as amazing as they could. But obviously when the year is over, they have to leave the apartment and can’t take any of their renovations with them.
To the person who believes that the one year in the apartment is all that exists (materialists), this makes perfect sense , but for Christians, our 80 years on earth is nothing in comparison to eternity.
Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
There are good things in this world to chase. There are also terrible things in this world to chase. From my experience, being clear on my purpose daily helps me to focus on one and not the other.
Can you clearly define your purpose? Or are you just floating in the cultural current?
I don’t want to be a Jellyfish. Sure it’d be easier sometimes to just switch off and go with the flow, but what kind of life is that? Going against the current is hard work. But if we believe that there is any truth in the bible, we’re told that it leads to life to the full. John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
1. Please share your thoughts!! I’d love to hear what you see your purpose as? Do you struggle with conforming to this world?
2. I’m sure you noticed that I wrote pt1 in the title of this post. I have had a few ideas of other content I wanted to write on purpose and I didn’t think anyone would care to read it all at once haha
3. I want to credit John Piper with a lot of the above material. While I haven’t tried to plagiarize him in any way, I know much of the above content is his thoughts applied to my life. After spending 100’s of hours listening and reading his material, I know that I have been radically influenced by him. While he has pointed me to eternal realities, I only hope to do the same for you.
4. If you’re keen for more – Piper paints an incredible picture of how Hope can transform your life. Living for eternity can bring Joy that cannot be taken away by circumstance. (I reckon I’ve listened to this at least 10 times)
For a shorter extract of the sermon – http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/don-t-become-an-entertainment-addicted-approval-junkie
5. Other content for this came from – https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/not-all-investments-are-equal (I’ve listened to this 5 times in the last week)