Weekly Wisdoms for the week of March 24, 2008
Paul, in one of the most quoted verses of Scripture, makes clear that every person has sinned: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Indeed, your sins hold you so deeply in bondage that they bring death to you: you were dead in your sins (Colossians 2:13).
Every one of us was born a slave to sin, but God offers to free us from that. How? We can choose to become slaves to righteousness: When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. ... But now ... you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God (Romans 6:20,22).
In other words, your default human nature is to follow sin and to consistently choose sin. The way you break free from sin is by following God and consistently choosing God; that is, you become a "slave" to God (to righteousness).
One of the results of being a "slave" to God is being made righteous and holy: God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). In other words, when we are freed from bondage to sin by giving ourselves to Christ, a transaction occurs: we are changed from being sinners (i.e., slaves to sin who occasionally mess up and do something right) into being holy ones (i.e., righteous slaves to God who occasionally mess up and do something wrong).
When this transaction occurs—that is, when you become a slave to righteousness—you are made holy, made righteous, cleansed, forgiven, and freed from all sin. Therefore, the way you become free from sin is by becoming a holy one, which happens by turning your life over to Christ and wholeheartedly following Him, thus becoming a slave to righteousness.
Probably everyone wants his or her life to count for something and to matter; there are certainly very few people who want to waste their lives.
But what does it mean to waste your life? And what does it mean for your life to count, to matter, and to be meaningful? Really, both of those questions boil down to this: Why do you exist? What are you here for? Isaiah 43:6-7 makes it clear that God created us for this purpose: to glorify Him. Humanity was intended to reflect praise and honor to God; we were designed to make much of God. In other words, you exist to point praise and glory to God.
If your life doesn't fulfill its purpose, then it was wasted. Specifically, a wasted life is one that fails to make much of God.
Given the purpose of our lives—as stated in Isaiah 43:6-7—it should be no surprise that Paul gives this command: whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). In other words, everything you do should be done to fulfill your purpose, which is giving glory to God.
The Apostle Paul determined not to waste his life; instead, he set his heart on glorifying God by spreading the message of Christ: I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace (Acts 20:24).
Paul was determined not to get tangled up in little dreams and small visions; he knew that the single purpose of telling everyone about Jesus is greater than every distraction. Because of his vision, passion, and purpose, Paul's life was not wasted. Compare what Paul said in Acts 20:24 about his desire to "run the race" with what he wrote decades later in 2 Timothy 4:7: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Paul's life was not wasted; he lived every day purposefully for the glory of God.
Take Paul's example and try writing a "mission statement" for your life. Then, live a life driven by that mission. When you get to the end of your life, don't let your reflection on life be "I've wasted it." Instead, leverage your life in every way possible for the glory of God.
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