“When Joshua was near the town of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and demanded, ‘Are you friend or foe?’ ‘Neither one’, he replied. ‘I am the commander of the Lord’s army’.”
You know that ‘American Dream’ based phrase, “Live life to the fullest”? Do you ever sit and ponder the way that our modern day culture interprets that particular expression? I can’t help but think it insinuates this idea of “living for ourselves”– taking life day by day serving our own desires. Some ‘good-natured’ people would say that sounds selfish and does not describe them whatsoever. They defend themselves with statements such as, “I live to provide for my family or support my friends or community”. Hmm. Tough one I admit but take a look at Matthew 10:37; 39:
“If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.”
Now, Christianity seems to be getting sucked in to this worldly version of my ‘blog title’ expression. And when this happens, we’re left with the result of the theme of 98.6 Too Cold: lukewarm Christianity. Sadly enough that is what leads to Christians who cling to their life as referred to in the verse above. So what is the correct, Biblically-sound interpretation of the phrase “Live Life To The Fullest” for a Christ-follower to adhere to? I believe that interpretation entails SACRIFICING our lives to God, putting the self to death (Rom. 8:12-13 “Putting to death the deeds of the body” or Gal. 2:20 “My old self has been crucified with Christ”) resulting in following and obeying Christ; hence the term “Christ-follower”.
Perhaps, the world’s way of looking at this expression is all wrong. Perhaps, it’s just the opposite. Perhaps, living for ourselves or EVEN others only points to being the ‘emptiest’ not the fullest. Maybe seeking for love, meaning, purpose, and hope in all the wrong places (anywhere or anything besides God) is not the right path to follow and maybe it should not even be associated with the ‘American Dream’. What if Matthew 6:33 (“Seek the kingdom of God above all else”) is the route we should take? I’m sure you know somebody through the grape vine who believed a relationship, for instance, would solve all their life problems and they’d be “complete” afterwards. Check out this moving 13 minute film if you get the chance about a woman looking for love in all the wrong places.
You’re probably wondering what my initial scripture has to do with any of this subject matter. Let me explain. As the pastor of my church mentioned this past Sunday, “Joshua’s thinking needed to be reoriented”. You see, Joshua was all wrong in his mindset. He was asking the wrong question. I like this example because with this expression ‘Live Life To The Fullest’, our culture’s way of thinking needs to be reoriented or RENEWED as Romans 12:2 says.
Let me end by comparing the world’s perspective of ‘living life to the fullest’ and all those who have adopted this misinterpretation to the Parable of the Sower from the book of Matthew. Chapter 13, verse 22 states, “The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s words, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth”. The ‘lure of wealth’ is the riches of what we see people pursuing after today. “Living life to the fullest” in this corrupt culture is seen as (often in media): having the hottest girl on campus, driving the Beemer, having the highest-paid job, getting smashed every Friday night with the ‘bros’, etc.
DO NOT BE THE SEEDS AMONG THE THORNS!
I visualize thorns not just as an everyday bush; I visualize thorns as a trap. You get stuck or caught in them. The devil is seeking to snare Christ followers and produce lukewarm Christians by enticing them into the riches and wealth of the world. Do not be fooled my fellow readers. The lifestyles pertaining to wealth hold no eternal value nor do they fulfill anyone. You’ll only be left with emptiness!
Ryan Walters. ‘98.6 Too Cold’ Founder, Blogger