YOLO – You Only Live Once: The concept that this is the only life you’ve got, and so you had better enjoy it as much as you possibly can. Oh, what a tasty lie straight from the devil! After all, who doesn’t want to have fun and enjoy themselves? I think even the church has bought into it to some extent, in that we have forgotten how to sacrifice; sacrifice our pleasure.
Truth is, we all love comfort (duh), and it’s comfortable and feels good to believe we are entitled to any fun thing this world has to offer. We like to be comfortable and we like to enjoy ourselves. Who would dare to take that away from us?
Well, there’s a problem with that. See, that’s exactly how the world thinks, and Jesus calls us to be different from the world. He calls us to a life of sacrifice, pain, and suffering. He never told us to enjoy this earthly life as much as possible. Why? Because that’s not what we’re here for. To tell us to fritter away this life in self-indulgence and selfish enjoyment would be a direct contradiction of the purpose for which He created us. God created us as humans to glorify Him, and He called us as Christians to follow Him and (among other things) to make disciples of all nations. He warned us the world would hate us because we are no longer citizens of the world. He also commended a lot of uncomfortable things (see the Beatitudes) and in a slightly overlooked passage in Luke (right after Luke’s version of the Beatitudes, interestingly) He pretty much cursed people who are complacent in their comfort. So how in the world can we possibly believe we need to enjoy ourselves to the fullest extent in this life?
[Now for a bit of backtracking. Don’t worry, it should all fit together when I’m done. I hope.]
I started thinking about this topic because recently I’ve started having a lot more trouble with food allergies. See, I’m allergic quite a few things that I really like (eg. tomatoes, most if not all fruits [including watermelon and apples *wails*], etc. with a possibility of gluten intolerance). I’m also allergic to things we eat on a regular basis. *Coughgrainscough* As the allergic reactions have intensified in recent months, I’m finding that I need to just stop eating them. Far, far easier to decide than to do! It’s hard to give up foods (that I love, or that my family eats all the time) for an indefinite period of time. (Tomato sandwiches, anyone? Alas, you tomatoes and gluten!) And then the other day a thought fell out of the sky and bopped me on the head: why in the world am I worried about tomatoes and apples when there will be much deliciouser (no, that is not a word; yes, I’m using it anyways) ones in heaven? Seriously! We can’t even begin to imagine the amazing flavors we’ll get to taste then – and that’s only the food.
In heaven, not only will we will get to experience all kinds of incredible things, we will get to spend all of eternity with the very God of the Universe that created us! It’s going to be the most mind-boggling, jump-up-and-shout-in-joyful-praise, awesome (in the true sense of the word) way to spend all of eternity forever and ever amen! So who cares if we skip some fun stuff in this life? There’s far, far better stuff coming, and we’ll get to do it forever. Plenty of time for everything.
Something there won’t be time for in heaven though: reaching the lost. By the time we get to heaven it will be too late to make disciples of all nations. We only have one life in which to do that. This one. We only have this life to work, battle, and die to self for the sake of wandering, dying souls, and if we neglect that quest in favor of enjoying ourselves…well, we’ve failed both our mission and our Master.
This life isn’t meant for self-gratification or selfish enjoyment. It is meant for glorifying God, battling on behalf of His kingdom, sacrificing luxuries and dying to self in order to give God all we’ve got. We don’t only live once. But we only have one life in which to seek out the lost. We’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the very best things, more amazing things than we can even imagine, when we get to the next life. So what’s our fuss about Jesus asking us to give up nice things in this life?