We all need a reason to live. Reasons to live get us out of bed in the morning; they get us into our cars, get us through work, get us home and put us to sleep at night. We all need those reasons. Without realizing it, society spins, turns, and burns on our individual reasons to live. It could be needing to pay the bills; feeding and raising your children; making it to graduation; or simply just to experience enjoyment, pleasure and passion. But what happens when those reasons aren’t strong enough anymore? If your child is your reason to live, what happens once they grow up and no longer need you? What happens if your job is your reason to live but one day you suddenly lose it? That marriage that kept you going somehow shatters before your eyes. The problem with our reasons to live is that they are often as temporary as our own lives. And that would be ok, if our souls didn’t recognize in that moment that clearly we are made for something more permanent; eternal, even.
I know the woes of building eternal hopes on temporary foundations. Well-paying jobs only satisfy for so long. Writing blogs, dancing to new choreography, eating at new places and meeting new people all bring a thrill and a high that will soon dissipate. And once it does, I find myself standing there asking “What’s the point?”. If these things are the reasons to get out of bed every morning, then why get up knowing they will all soon cease to please? If these adventures only temporarily fill the voids in my heart, are they worth pursuing? Will there every be a pursuit, a point, or a goal worthy of the permanence and eternality my heart and soul long for? The issue, of course, is not just the pursuit but the hope behind the pursuit. All too often I realize that these pleasures and desires I put so much energy into pursuing, turn out to be the prophetic jars that cannot hold water; strewn from the selfish fabric of my selfish heart that believes these would make an excellent god. And every time these jars not only prove they cannot hold water, but cannot hold anything I actually need them to.
So, what is the point? Is there a purpose, a reason, and goal to strive and reach for that will sustain us every day we get out of bed in the morning. The Apostle Paul seems to think so. While in a prison cell he wrote a letter the church in Phillipi that eventually was canonized into the Bible as the Book of Philippians. In this book Paul exhorts the Philippians for their faith and for how much of an encouragement they have been to him. Paul here has every reason to question the point of living. Being in prison probably doesn’t inspire much hope and many reasons to keep going (I’m guessing, at least). And yet it is in this prison, trapped and surrounded by guards, that we see Paul explain to us very clearly and very briefly the point of living: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Phil. 1:21, ESV). Paul gets out of bed, every morning, in his prison cell, with hope and anticipation, because his life is not based on the encountering of temporary pleasures; his life is based on living for Christ. In fact, he mentions that his chains have in fact spread the gospel even more! His imprisonment has actually unchained the gospel message. And it is in this that Paul finds his reasoning for living. Paul lives, and dies, for and to Christ. It was not in the wild horse chasing of pleasure that Paul found his satisfaction; it was, ironically, when he was surrounded by chains and bars. This “to Christ” language shows up in numerous letters by Paul. In Romans 14:8, Paul tells us that we live and die to the Lord. In Galatians 2:20 , he tells believers that our live is no longer about us, but about Christ. Paul’s point is simple and clear, yet profound and cavernous: the point of life is Christ.
Christ is the only sure North Star to follow as we navigate life. Proclaiming His goodness, displaying His love, conforming to His will and loving Him with our all is the reason for life. All other things pale in comparison to the majesty, glory, and wonder of a life submitted and given completely over to Christ. Believer, like the Apostle Paul, please don’t think this is a goal I have attained simply because I write about it. I’m simply one who has just been given a map but has yet to figure out fully how to walk smoothly on such torrid terrain. So pray for me. But thanks be to the Holy Spirit, Who’s very job is to apply the words of Christ to our lives and conform us into His image. But our job, every morning, ever lunch break, every car ride home and random gift of peace and quiet that we get, is remind ourselves that our life is for and to Christ. Love your children, to the glory of Christ; work hard at your job, to glory of Christ; marry, serve, blog, travel, eat, drink, Netflix, shop, sleep, enjoy life, all to the glory of Christ. For to truly live is to truly live for Christ; He is, in fact, the point of it all and the reason to live.