The Meaningless Life

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I greet you, friends, and family members, in the name of our soon coming Lord and Savior.

I hope the title “The Meaningless Life” caught your attention. I’m calling this Connect Point by that title because I’ve heard more and more people say that their life is meaningless over the last little while. I’ve been hearing people say, “I have no purpose.”

Family, I want you to know that I’m not judging you for feeling that way, and there have been times in my life I’ve also felt like that. But as a believer, shouldn’t our lives be different? Shouldn’t life be full of purpose and meaning?

Maybe, life feels meaningless because the current culture is influencing us. I’m sure you’ve heard it said, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.” The idea, of course, is that if you are in a particular area or with a group of people, you should act as they do. If you are with sophisticated people, you act sophisticated. If you are with gangsters, you act like a gangster. If you are with criminals, thieves, or pagans, then act like one. Do whatever you must to fit in but don’t stand out. From the world’s way of thinking, that is how you succeed.

However, on the contrary, we know that the most influential and successful people in the world are those who stand out and are distinct. I like the word distinct, which means “recognizably different in nature from something else of a similar type.”

Family, Jesus was recognizably different in nature from all other humans, and He’s calling us to likewise be recognizably different in nature from other people. In John 17:15-21, Jesus is praying to the Father, and He says, “I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth. As Thou didst send Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.”

Family, Jesus didn’t send us into the world to become like the world but to be “distinct” - to be recognizably different in nature from others. The world thinks that if you live by the adage, “when in Rome do as the Romans do,” you will be accepted and successful. But this way of thinking should bother a Christ-follower because this way of thinking is opposed to Christ. In a human way of thinking, conforming gets you noticed, liked, and opens doors, but at what cost?

Do you know that Jesus was killed because he did not conform? Conforming to our current culture or the world’s ways is a fatal mistake and will cost you way more than you are willing to pay at some point.

Through the Apostle Paul, the Holy Spirit gives us some instructions on how we should live in Ephesians 4:17-24. It says, So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. 20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

I believe the Holy Spirit wrote these words because the Ephesians were Gentiles, and they were surrounded in Ephesus by some evil people who were doing some horrible stuff. While it is accurate and effortless for people to conform, the opposition to the Church at that time was fierce. Ephesus was a meeting place for many religions. It was a great center of Emperor Worship; many practiced Magic Arts, and everyone held in high regard the goddess named Diana. Paul caused problems for this city by bringing Christianity to the region, according to Acts 19.

There was a lot of temptation around them. But Paul is saying to the Christ-followers, you be distinct, live a holy life, think differently, you need to understand more, and have an open heart and mind to the things of God. You become recognizably different in nature from everyone else.

Naturally, when you tell people to act a certain way, you need to tell them why. So please keep reading, and let’s unpack this together.  Why do we believers need to be distinct and act differently?

When I was a child, my parents would give me instruction, and if I dare to question why I should act a certain way, they would say something like, “Because I said so.” For the record, this is not always the best answer.

James Boice said, “Therefore if I am failing in the Christian life, what should trouble me is not that I am failing or that I have a problem but that I have failed God and his important purposes for me.”

So why are we called to be distinct? Why are we called to be part of the counter-culture in our society?

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK….

 

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