If you’ve been using the social media platforms for any amount of time you’ve probably noticed all the wanderlust pictures with hedonistic quotes such as, “life is too short to…” and “you only live once so you should…” The idea behind these quotes being that we don’t have long to live on earth so we must squeeze every possible pleasurable out of life. So we scroll thru these pictures and read endless articles with long bucket lists of the things you just have to “try before you die.” After all, you never know when we are going to die. So it would appear that in light of that we should do anything we want, as long as it makes us happy and catalog all those memories the best we can. But is that what God intended for us? The problem is that if you only pursue the adventure, you won’t get the treasure. But if you pursue the treasury, you might just find it, and the whole pursuit is also a great adventure.
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field,” Matthew 13:44.
While God has instilled in us a quest for joy, pleasure, and beauty; nonetheless to pursue only the temporary things we find in the adventure is sure to disappoint in the end. The problem with temporary adventure is that it is fleeting. Regardless of how much it is enjoyed, it only numbs our senses and leaves us wanting more. The sunset you see now, you won’t be able to see when your eyesight fails you. The music you so enjoy now might only play in your head like a memory after you lose your sense of hearing. Finally, believe it or not, you will get to a point where moving from the sofa to the bed will be considered adventurous by your frail and weakened the body. You see? We hope to live long enough to experience all the things that life has to offer, but we only have limited time here on Earth. That’s why our appetite for the eternal treasure can never be satisfied by the crumbs of temporary pleasure in our adventure.
Think about it, we all know that one person or couple who only lives to get the bigger house and the better car. They always talk about the latest vacation, places they have visited, and the food they have tried. No matter how many experiences they had, they are always on the search for more. Happiness, it appears, is always around some corner. But they never seem to attain it. Their deeper reality is that they live their life by themselves for themselves. They were going to write that book and take that mission trip, but the spas, cocktails, and the comfort got in the way. They were going to serve God one day, but just never seemed to get around to it because the temporary adventure was too distracting to pursue the real thing they craved, namely eternal treasure.
Furthermore, I can understand when an atheist is so passionate about squeezing everything out of the present life. It is consistent with their worldview, and they believe this present world is all that we have right now. But I am baffled when Christians take the same approach, saying stuff like, “life is too short to…” fill in the blank. Not so silently telling the world that their highest admirations is for things that are temporary and sometimes the materialistic. Furthermore, I cringe when some Christians excuse bad behavior even immoral behavior because “hey you only live once…” False, the truth is you might only die once, but you live forever. Your relationship with God will determine where you spend your eternity and how faithfully you served Him will determine what kind of eternal reward you will get.
So ask yourself what is the ultimate purpose for your life? Is it just to go on trips and take pictures? Is it temporary adventure or eternal treasure? You are free to enjoy adventure, however, if that’s all that your life is about, then at the end of your life you might have a colorful Instagram account, but face a colorless eternity spent away from all the things you so passionately craved here on Earth but never seemed to experience fully. For in rejecting God and His kingdom as your treasure you also chose, by default, to separate yourself from all that He has created because what He has created were only meant to stir up our passion and create hunger in us for Him and the eternal things. That is what Jesus meant when He said, “… seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
So I encourage you with the words of C.S. Lewis to, “Aim at Heaven, and you will get Earth ‘thrown in,” but if you “aim at Earth and you will get neither.” To aim at heaven is to put things in your life into a proper place. When God is the ultimate adoration of your affection, you don’t have to suffer from the “fear of missing out” anxiety. You don’t have to dread your youth slipping away and rush to catalog every experience by posting it on Instagram; you will have an eternity to attend to every beauty. You will instead focus on pursuing God’s kingdom as a treasure, and that pursuit will result in a great adventure. You will experience the pleasure of unconditionally loving people for their sake, without any strings attached. You will see the beauty of broken lives being restored and made whole again. You will experience eternal adventure and stories that start with almighty God and I, instead of me, myself, and I.
Great things happen when people make decisions with an eternal perspective. God gave us a great privilege to partner up with Him to change the world and impact eternity. And when we do that, we embark on the greatest adventure we can ever experience. Furthermore, C.S Lewis elaborates and says, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.”
So if by now you are convinced that you want to do this, and you want to pursue the kingdom of God here on Earth, and God Himself for eternity, then here are some practical steps you can take right now to define what you should do and how.
Write your life mission statement. Seek God’s Will for your life by spending time in prayer and studying God’s word and then write down what life mission God has revealed to you for your life. This should be something that you can always remember. A small paragraph that includes your most important values, convictions, and principles. Every time you have to make a big decision that has the potential to alter the course of your life in a significant way, look over your life mission and ask yourself if the decision you are about to make is consistent your life mission. When you have a great life mission based on Godly wisdom, you will soon find out that a lot of the things you think you need to do are worthless in value in light of eternity.
Second, write out resolutions for your life. Spend some time thinking about your life mission and write very specific resolutions. These are decisions to do or not to do something. Like road signs and road boundaries on the journey of life, resolutions help us identify problem areas as well as remind us of what our end goal should be. Be specific, again remember that resolutions are an extension of our life mission that goes into greater details about specific situations, values, conviction, and principles. You can start every one of them with “Resolved to…” then elaborate what you resolved to do or not to do. Every time you come to a crossroad in life, you will be able to look at your resolutions and see which path you should take. I also recommend you look over Jonathan Edwards’ resolutions that he wrote to guide his life. You can find them Here
Finally, make a life plan. There is a saying that says that “those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” So write out a plan for your life. What are your short and long-term goals? Goals help us get through the hard, laborious, and unexciting tasks in our lives by focusing on the prize and why we are doing it. So write down your goals and how you will know if you achieved them. But make sure that they are focused on how to gain the treasure, not just to experience a great adventure. I also recommend you have some reward for yourself for every goal attained; it will motivate you to work harder and get there faster.