My family and I are pretty out-of-the loop when it comes to popular culture. We don’t own any video or computer games, we only watch t.v. a couple hours a week, and we only listen to Christian worship music. On the rare occasion that we do watch t.v., it’s usually something totally outdated like Little House on the Prairie or the Rocky and Back to the Future movies.
Our kids have gotten quite used to hearing, “I can’t believe you don’t know what (fill in the blank) is!” from others, and they just shrug it off, knowing they are going to be different if they are going to live set apart from the world. Of course, there isn’t anything inherently sinful about video games or movies. But I lived in the world, pursuing all of my sinful desires, for a very long time. And when I finally repented of my sins and truly gave my life to Christ, the Holy Spirit gave me a new heart that abhors sin. And everything in the entertainment industry these days seems to celebrate sin – the very sin that nailed Jesus to the cross to atone for my wickedness and yours is celebrated – so we just stay away from it and spend our time outdoors or playing board games instead.
However, one thing I have been seeing pop up on my phone is the phrase “Live Your Best Life”. I had never heard that term before, but suddenly kept seeing it. I wondered if this phrase had become a new “thing”, so I googled it. Apparently, and for some time now, it seems to be a trending phrase on social media. #LiveYourBestLife is usually accompanied with photographs of a lot of alcohol consumption, scantily clothed people, and sunny beaches. In addition to reminding me of why I steer clear of popular culture and social media, the “live your best life” hashtag also caused me to examine something else: what is the “best life”?
Jesus Himself instructed, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?” Luke 9:23-25. According to Jesus, the “best life” is the forfeited life. You forfeit your desires, your plans, your intentions, and your ways, and you fully devote yourself to serving the Lord. But this is a difficult concept for the modern, western church to understand. Many Christians have been led astray and deceived by the false gospel that teaches: “God is love”, “God made me this way”, “God just wants me to be happy”, and the like.
The majority of Christians don’t read their Bibles, don’t adhere to a Biblical worldview, and as a result, believe the lie that Jesus’ death and God’s grace give us permission to live however we please. The Apostle Paul warns us against this, cautioning: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according the their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4. Well, that time is here! Less than 10% of self-proclaiming Christians hold to a Biblical worldview, which means 90% of Christians have given themselves over to fables!
So what is sound doctrine? It’s faith that Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven (John 14:6, Acts 4:12, 1 Timothy 2:5, John 3:16); and having faith in Jesus means you obey His commands (John 14:15, James 1:22, Luke 6:46, Matthew 7:21). Indeed, a true disciple of Jesus Christ is one who has laid down his devotion to this world, and committed to living for Jesus and His mission. So what do you still need to lay down? What areas of your heart are still devoted to the things of this world? What are you not willing to surrender to the will of the Lord? Whatever it is will eventually lead you astray. You cannot serve two masters. You will love the one and despise the other. (Matthew 6:24).
The truth is that a life purchased by the blood of Jesus and devoted to the will of God is the absolute best life this world has to offer. Only those of us in Christ have tasted and seen the goodness of the Lord! (Psalm 34:8). We know that only in His presence is there fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore! (Psalm 16:11). There is no better life than one that is saved from the wrath of God and the lake of fire that awaits all who are unrepentant (Revelation 19-20).
So choose this day which life you will live. You can seek to #LiveYourBestLife now by pursuing all of your dreams and desires, then spend eternity in hell. Or you can die to your desires, pick up your cross, and follow Jesus, then spend eternity living your best life forever in Heaven. Which will it be?