If you’re going to waste your life, we’ve looked at the best and worst way to do it. As hopeless as those posts appear, it was very important to establish the dead ends so that you will look for another way. The good news is that there is another way. You can live and really love it!
In Ecclesiastes 2:17 Solomon led us down those dead ends of wasted lives and shared that he hated it. In response, he gave his heart up to despair (v. 20). He went through his daily routines with great success. He gained great wealth. We ruled with great power. He was the world’s most admired king, but he felt as if his life had no purpose.
Why Can’t I Enjoy Life Apart from God?
But then in Ecclesiastes 2:24-26 Solomon finds not only the way to enjoy life, but he points us toward eternal life.
There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, if from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and striving after wind.Ecclesistes 2:24-26
You can enjoy life, but not apart from God. That seems like a limited option. So why can’t I just enjoy life in a way that has nothing to do with God?
There are plenty of people who think nothing of God who seem to be having a great time. While that is a fair observation, the answer to our objection brings us back to the first two posts in this thread, the best and worst ways to waste your life. At some point, those people who seem to be enjoying life apart from God will be able to peer down easy street and see that it comes to a dead end. It all comes to nothing. It all amounts to nothing.
Why Living for the Lord Works Best
When we live for the Lord we have a greater purpose in life and we have a hopeful end for life. Jesus explained it like this:
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.Matthew 6:19-20
Living for the Lord turns what is otherwise a dead end street into a never ending thoroughfare. What we do in this life impacts eternal life. When you surrender yourself to live according to God’s Word your heart is in a different, more enjoyable place. When you live for the Lord:
- You will have a better perspective on life. You may have plenty of stuff, but your stuff will not have you. All of the things Solomon found to be “chasing after the wind” find their proper place. It’s just stuff. It doesn’t define who I am. I enjoy it, but it is not my source of joy. I can have it or not have it and I am fine either way. My life is about something more. If you have to have it, but cannot release it, you can never enjoy it.
- You will see a greater purpose for your life. To “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” is a revolutionary concept. It is a link between now and later, between temporal and eternal, between now and forever. In the Lord, I can make decisions now that are truly lasting. I am no longer confined to a dead end street. Furthermore, my stuff is not so much about net worth as it is a tool of eternal value. I can leverage all I am and all I have for not just a great weekend, but for an eternal impact.
- You have a greater plan in life. When you live for the Lord the Bible becomes more than just another religious book amongst many, you realize it explains the reason for which the world was made and in turn, explains the way the world works. The Bible is not a religious suggestion, it is an eternal plan. It is not a religious devotional, it is a divine world-view.
- You will find hope despite the pain of life. In this life, we will all have pain. Atheists and theists, pagans and Christians, the godless and the godly can all agree on this – life hurts. In the Lord we find the reason pain was introduced in the world and we realize that in Christ there is a cure. My pain is not ultimate. Hurt simply fuels a greater longing in my soul, and for those who truly follow Christ, it causes a most unusual reaction. It motivates me to suffer! What? Yeah. It sounds crazy, but life is so different when you’re not on a dead end street (Romans 8:18-39).
How to be Happy – 101
In 2017 the most popular course offered at Yale was Psych 157, Psychology of the Good Life. 1/4 of all undergrads enrolled at the Ivy League school took the class. Psych 157 is basically the study of what makes us happy. The popularity of the course is indicative of a longing within each of us. We just want to be happy.
But outside of having eternal life in Jesus Christ, Psych 157 is merely another study and suggestion on the best way to waste your life. As I said in my previous post, wisdom for the sake of wisdom is a waste. As Solomon found, it is just another dead end road and winds up in the same place as the fool. We just die!
The Gospel is the Key to an Enjoyable, Eternal Life
The Bible reveals that man has made a fatal decision and introduced evil into the world (Genesis 1-3). The good news is that God has not given up on His creation, nor has he given up on humans, but has done something remarkable. God has become the ultimate victim of our horrible decision.
God has come to us as Jesus Christ. He lived a sinless life and showed us what it means to truly be human. Jesus pleased God. The Son of God obeyed the commands of God. He fulfilled all righteousness. And then, we killed him.
But in the crucifixion of Jesus something significant happened. He did not just die. He died sacrificially in our place (Isaiah 53:6). The condemnation for our bad decision was laid upon Jesus (Romans 8:3-4). In Jesus, a righteousness before God is offered to us that we could not attain for ourselves.
When Jesus arose from the dead our condemnation was conquered. All that is left for us is the proper response – repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of our lives (Acts 3:19).
The only way to truly enjoy life is to know you have eternal life.
Have you come to the morbid realization that every ounce of energy and every bit of money that you pour into this life is meaningless if it’s ultimate? It’s a horrible feeling and will make you hate life itself. It will grieve you. But you will never look for another way until you realize you’re on a dead end street.
Solomon realized that it is from the “hand of God” that we have been given a map to a dead end street. The Lord desires that you not only come to this realization but that you make a great decision. Turn to Christ. Enjoy life by gaining eternal life in Him. In Christ, you can live and truly love it.
Check out Back Porch Psalms – 153 episodes of devotional content from the Book of Psalms.