There are many songs that resonate with us because they speak of living forever, or casting off all restraint and living it up. YOLO has become the motto of younger generations. Here are some quotes from some recent and not so recent songs.
“Tonight, we are young. So let’s set the world on fire, we could burn brighter than the sun.”
–We Are Young by Fun
You and I we’re gonna live forever”
–Live Forever by Oasis
Here’s the message these artists are conveying: live in the moment. Don’t worry about the future, just let loose. Don’t think about death, as a matter of fact don’t think about life. Just think about what feels good right now. Ignorance is bliss.
What was Jesus’ message? He was very clear in Matthew 16:24-25 about how to find full life.
“If anyone would come after me let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me, for whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
The world’s message is “live in the moment.” God’s message is, “to die is to really live.”
There are at least three lies hidden within the “live in the moment” mentality?
Lie #1: Our best years are when we are young
It frustrates me when people say to younger people, “Enjoy this time cause these are the best years of your life.” Getting older certainly brings more responsibility and more life and with it hard experiences. But I’m thankful for those things and the richer my life is because of them. I’ve gotten to hold three beautiful kids after they were born and many times in the middle of the night when I was exhausted. I’ve bought a minivan and drove it for 5 months before we had kids. I’ve worn my wife’s socks and stained pants to an upscale country club cause my kids spilled their juice on me. I’ve cried with my wife after her dad suddenly passed away. I’ve cried with a friend when they lost a child. I’ve wrestled with my kids after a long day at work and looked at their faces in amazement that they are mine. I’ve known failure in life and work. I’ve heard the words of encouragement from a wife who knows my worst and still loves me. No words from anyone except Christ could possibly mean more. So no, I don’t want to go back to college cause if getting old is this good I don’t want to be young.
To die is to really live.
Lie #2: A few nights of fun are better than a life of fullness
Consider this question: do you know anyone who spent their whole life partying and had a funeral worth attending?
What resonates with us in these songs is our sense of adventure. However, the greatest adventure lies not in casting off all restraint, but in humble obedience to what God calls us to. A man came to Dawson Trotman, founder of the Navigators, and confessed to Trotman that he was bored reading his Bible. Daws took his Bible and with a marker wrote around the binding, “God’s Word is not boring when you do what it says.” Read the pages of the Bible and you will find stories about followers of Christ whose lives were anything but boring. Escapes from prison, walking on water, people being raised from the dead, lives being changed by the gospel. Compare that to what might be today’s definition of adventure: Long roadtrips, nights out on the town, hikes up Mount Everest, shopping sprees, endless free time, extravagant vacations, mansions, cars. None of these things are inherently evil, but they can’t compare to the adventure of following Christ. Just because you do something everyday doesn’t mean your life isn’t worth living. Nietzsche said, “A long obedience in the same direction…has always resulted in the long run, something that has made life worth living.”
Please, please, please. The world needs more moms and dads who love their kids. More employees with integrity. More people who care for others, feed the poor and clothe the naked. We don’t need people who throw caution to the wind and say “tonight we’re young.” To die is to really live.
Lie #3: We don’t need to think about dying
Martyn Lloyd-Jones has an incredible sermon titled “Two Ways of Dying” in which he describes the only two ways someone can die: in their sins or in Christ. He stresses the point that though everyone must die, very few people have ever given it any significant thought. Why not prepare and think deeply about such a monumental moment we will all face, especially since we don’t know when it will happen?
The gospel of Jesus Christ tells us that we are all guilty of sin and on our own will be separated from God forever, but God in his grace gave his son to pay the penalty so that whoever believes in him will live forever with him. So there is a way we can live forever, and it’s only with Christ! We are only guaranteed the breath we draw now. But we can believe in Christ and die to ourselves to be united to him in this life and life after. As CS Lewis said, “Die before you die, there is no chance after.”
So yes, you are going to die, think about it. No, your young years are not necessarily your best. And yes, you were made for adventure, but true adventure is found in loving Christ and in long obedience to him. Trade a night of living young, wild and free for a life of richness in Christ. Jim Elliot famously said, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” So let’s live free and sing at the top of our lungs, but instead of freedom being our hope let it be Christ and how he died so we can live. Then out of gratitude let’s follow his example of dying so we might truly live.