Life is filled with thoughts and ideas. Many spend their time trying to keep busy because they do not want to think about what God expects from them. The strategy is to live in a state of distraction so their conscience will never have the occasion to pause and ponder about the true meaning of life.
Everyone is unique, and that's what makes life interesting, but I was thinking the other day about how many are always on the go and never sit still for a moment unless they are forced to stop. Somewhere down the line, there will come a time when we will not be able to run or hide behind a distraction. On the other hand, there is another group that enjoys the quiet and peace of God's presence and sincerely desires to listen and obey his voice simply because they love him. Whichever group you belong to, it can be said that we only have one life and one chance to get it right, so whether we choose to live in denial or embrace our spiritual reality, one day truth will be revealed.
I read a sign one time that compared two philosophies of living, and I looked it up the other day to make sure I had the words correct. The quote is as follows: "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a ride!"
Of course, the phrase has been modified through the years, but you get the general meaning. This declaration has been attributed to a man named Hunter S. Thompson and has been widely accepted as an enthusiastic motto to live by. For those who live on the edge and experience everything to the absolute maximum, this describes the attitude of a wild and carefree life. Instead of a sensitive and peaceful journey, this philosophy encourages people to drain every drop of excitement, indulgence, thrill and pleasure they can with every chance they have.
These pie-in-the-sky ideas have been floating around since the beginning of time, but it's just another way our human nature tries to influence the conscience to not be concerned with what God wants. The Bible is clear about our destiny and the definition of true salvation, which includes surrendering our plans and being transformed into a completely different person. Sadly, it's common that most people do not take their spiritual life seriously.
God is not obligated to give us unlimited windows of mercy to embrace his truth, but he does so because he is filled with patience and love. His intention all along has been for us to love him back, but most of the human race simply ignores him. The masses are convinced that eternity and this "God thing" is no more than a slight chance of being true and they are perfectly content with rolling the dice. It seems that many have come to this conclusion: If God is really filled with mercy, then why should I worry?
This is another one of those ideas that makes it easy to accept that it matters not what a person does or does not do because they are covered by that highly popular religious word called grace. In this way of thinking, they can relax and trust that everything will all work out in the end.
For those who are convinced they were given the gift of life to do whatever they want, they are living in a fantasy world. We were born to know, worship and serve God. Most people want blessings and heaven but have not really decided to seriously investigate about their purpose or responsibility because they have no interest or intention of accomplishing it.
I was behind a car the other day that had a bumper sticker that said, "What if it is true?" and it did exactly what it was meant to do: It caused me to think. I thought about the Gospel of Jesus and prayed that everyone would believe it is true. It's a brand new year, and he is inviting everyone to make a brand new start.
God is waiting to forgive and deliver us, but before we can embrace the cross as our ransom, we must humbly acknowledge that we were the reason he had to go there.
William F. Holland Jr. is a minister and chaplain based in Nicholasville, Kentucky. Read more at billyhollandministries.com.