Monday, August 29, 2005

The Meaning of Life

Some people find meaning in poetry, some in music, some in movies, some in money, some in relationships. Some people never open their eyes to see the world as it really is. Some refuse to believe that truth exists, and they can know it. Some people believe they can do everything on their own strength; they can bootstrap their way into anything. Such people will eventually despair, because there is no meaning in their life. They have declared it themselves, and they will create their own meaning. But it has all been done before, and there is nothing new under the sun.

Many of the descriptions above do not apply to me; if that were my own doing, I would have something to boast about, but it is not. My eyes are open a little bit, but I didn't open them. There is truth in this world, and I can know it; but it must be shown to me. I can do everything, but not on my strength. I may eventually despair, but I would have no logical reason for it.

I am a sinner saved by grace through faith. And this is not my own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that I may not boast.

I recently rewatched Spiderman 2, and the train scene struck me as an interesting metaphor. Suppose I was in the runaway train, and Spiderman stopped it from going over the edge. I certainly was not Spiderman, and I did not save the train from going over the edge. In fact, because of the extra momentum my body contributed, I was trying to make the train go over the edge. If now Spiderman saved the train, can I boast about it? If I was telling others about it, could I boast that I saved myself in that train? Not honestly. That is something about what faith is like. Even my decision to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior is a decision I could never have made on my own. God gave me the strength even to embrace Him. So there's no boasting. Only rejoicing that I am alive.

Even more so, there is no lording it over those who have not been saved. Again, my salvation is not my own doing, so what right have I to lord it over those who are not saved?

But this message I am writing is offensive. It's very un-American. The American way is to do-it-yourself. If you can't push your way through, it must not be worth doing. This gospel that God offers looks suspicious, because there's nothing you do. God gives you everything. You think to yourself, there must be a string attached. Somewhere in the fine print, there's a catch. Well, you're right and you're wrong. But being something of a logician, I'll hasten to add that you're not right and wrong about the same thing.

You're wrong in that there's no catch right away. God offers you salvation freely; there's really nothing you need do. The catch is later. If God has saved you, then you belong to Him, body and soul. You are not your own, you are bought with a price. Therefore you are not free to do whatever you want. You have a new master now. This, too, is un-American. Americans have flirted with individualism so much, they have made it an idol, and have therefore lost whatever value they even had in it to begin with. There is a hierarchy, and you are not at the top. You must submit to God; you must obey Him.

Jesus once said that, "If you love me, you will obey My commandments." This means that loving God implies obeying God. Obeying God means obeying His commandments. What is the greatest commandment? To love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your mind, and with all your strength, and with all your soul. Therefore, we can say that if we obey God, we must be loving God.

Ha! In logic, if A implies B, and B implies A, then A and B are logically equivalent. They are pretty much the same thing. So loving God and obeying God are the same thing. Don't come to me and tell me you love God if you're not obeying Him. I never said that obeying God will make Him love you. He already does that, no thanks to you. Na, obeying God means you love God.

I dare you. I dare you to throw away your idols of drink, and sex, and ambition. I dare you to accept the free gift of God's grace. It's not an easy life, the Christian life. There will be trials and difficulties. But the rewards will be far greater than you can possibly imagine. You may think, like Han Solo in Episode IV, that, "I don't know. I can imagine quite a bit." Excuse me, but you can't imagine the rewards offered you, much like in C. S. Lewis's Weight of Glory when he states, "We are like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased." You think you know what pleasure is? You think God is the great cosmic kill-joy? Think again. There are pleasures at God's right hand beyond the wildest imaginations of man.

Love in Christ,
Adrian C. Keister

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At 8/29/2005 01:19:00 PM , Blogger Mr. Baggins said...

Mr. Baggins says, "Preach it, BROTHER."

At 9/05/2005 10:30:00 PM , Anonymous Anna said...

How wonderfully eloquent. You are the only person I know who can quote Spiderman 2, Star Wars and C.S. Lewis, all in the same moment and have it turn out so well.

Or, to paraphrase, "Preach it, Brother!"


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