Thursday, June 15, 2006

Chasing After the Wind

Off in the other room, the TV was droning on, getting louder as a commercial began. I heard a man’s voice say, “Where you go in life is up to you.”

I’m sure he did not intend the reaction he got from me. I thought about how very true that statement is.

You can accept the incredible love of God through Jesus Christ; live a life of service, joy, peace, and love; then go to be with him when you die.

Or—you can refuse him; live a life as a cynical pessimist, empty and longing all your life; and then go to hell when you die. It’s your choice—God doesn’t send people to hell.

In the book of Ecclesiastes, we see perhaps the first existentialist—the first to write down thoughts about his feelings of emptiness. Solomon, son of King David, wrote the book while he was king. He found that happiness and fulfillment did not come to him along with possessions and power. He tried big projects, great wealth, power over slaves, and pleasure with women, in an effort to find meaning and purpose to satisfy his heart.

But he was weighed down by cynicism, depression, heaviness of heart. He realized that no matter what, it all ended in death. Life was meaningless. He said, “I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”

Solomon saw that happiness is found only in God. Everywhere he could see people running after things without meaning. He said, “I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

Solomon saw what is true even today. Modern Americans are caught up in this “chasing after the wind”—busier than ever—unhappier than ever—farther from God than ever. We don't have to be like that. It's our choice.


RLC said...

While I agree that our decisions have an incredible impact on our lives, I think that the nature of man is such that we would never choose what is right and good on our own. I believe it is only the grace of God that any one of us would ever choose to follow Christ.

Therefore, I would ask, "Can the blind man choose to see?" 2 Corinthians 4:4 says, "In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." And also Jesus responds to the unbelief of the people by quoting the prophet Isaiah, by saying their eyes have been blinded (see John 12:37-40).

R & M

ts said...

while it is only by God's grace that we can know Him, it is up to individuals to choose Him or not. i agree that life without God is really no life at all, but life with God ... it doesn't matter what else there is.

Judy Callarman said...

It seems to me that God's call is always there--he's always pursuing us "because he first loved us" and his grace has made it possible for us to choose him. But does he purposely "blind" people's eyes?

RLC said...

John 12:40 is where Jesus quotes Isaiah saying "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts." In the exodus story you see God purposefully hardening Pharaoh’s heart. This shows up again in Romans 9. Then in 2Corinthians 4:4 it is satan who is doing the blinding. But I think the good news is that God is also the one who opens eyes and softens hearts. See 2 Corinthians 4:1-6.

I am persuaded that it is not in our ability to choose what is best for us until God causes us to see. Or as it says of Lydia in Acts 16:14 “The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” One of the benefits to believing that it was God’s choice rather than mine is it eliminates pride. As the Apostle Paul said, it keeps me from boasting since it is not a result of works. You may not consider it a “work”- our choosing. But if we earn our salvation by choosing it we are better than those who don’t choose. If I contributed nothing to my salvation (except my sin) then God gets all the glory. And it gives me hope for those stubborn loved ones! I believe God in His mercy can cause them to see so that they will repent before they would ever choose him on their own.

Wouldn’t it be to our benefit if it were in His merciful hands rather than our own?

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