I’ve heard it said that the sole purpose of life is something like this: to have as much fun as possible; to do what you want, so long as it doesn’t harm other people. Indeed, this seems to be the predominant social ‘mood’ today, and before being saved I would’ve said something similar. After all, it seems fair enough (what with the clause about not harming others), doesn’t it?
But when the surface is scratched, can a Christian really accept such a view? And what are the implications of having this view of life?
I’d contend that this seemingly insignificant viewpoint is what is behind most of the social ills we see today. The problem with it is that it is purely selfish, by definition: It is all about the fulfilment and happiness of self as the main priority in life. To append a noun to the thesis: It is Hedonism. And what it does is remove virtually all constraints that may affect one’s actions. (As an aside, this idea, of doing whatever one pleases, was prevalent in occult circles at the end of the 19th century. At that time, it was rightly shunned by society. How far we have declined, when today it is the norm.)
Just look at where we’ve come as a society over the past century or so: Darwin’s theory taught us that life is about ‘survival of the fittest’, giving people an excuse to think only of themselves and their own advancement. Other social theories such as Marxism1 and Humanism2 also grew, which fail to regard the sinful nature and depravity of man, along with the need for salvation. Instead, they teach that there is no sin, thereby allowing Man to do whatever he pleases. Social immorality was already creeping, and it exploded in the 60’s with the sexual ‘revolution’, feminism3, and a massive turn in the tide from Christian values, towards pure modern Hedonism. And now we are seeing this being written into our law, as any pretence of Christian values in our legal and governmental system is removed.
It was these social ideologies (forcefully propagated through the Higher Education system) that encouraged people to do what they wanted, and the effects are with us today. Whilst good social structure can be undone in a single generation, it takes much longer to put right. Just a few of the results of an unrestrained, Hedonistic society are: HIV and AIDs, as a result of a deviation from what God says about sex; the extremely harmful destruction of families through divorce, as a result of deviation from what God says about marriage; entire streets and city centres given over to drunkenness and sexual immorality; the murder of unborn children, who are seen as an unwanted consequence of sexual self-satisfaction; violence; the list goes on.
I don’t want to be mistaken here: I’m not saying that being happy or having fun is wrong. But I am speaking as a Christian, fairly young in faith, who has made mistakes.
When it comes down to it, the truth is this: God is everything, and you and I are nothing. Thus, the first and foremost priority is not to satisfy one’s self, but to obey and love God. Note; “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15). Everything else, bar nothing, is secondary. God is perfect, whilst Man is imperfect, and therefore what he ‘wants’ to do is often sin. Happiness and fulfilment will come to the Christian who loves and obeys God. It is a by-product of a fruitful life, to be enjoyed to the full, but it is not the aim of life itself.
That last sentence is really the crux of this article. Whilst a simple truth, it took me far longer than it should have to work out, and so I hope that this article will help others. There are many, many social issues out there today that can make life tough for Christians, and in particular those who are younger in faith. There are very few who even pretend to be Christian, and people today are abandoning virtually all restraint, doing whatever they like, without any sense of shame. This can lead to the Christian feeling pretty much isolated.
I know this to be true, because it is how I felt: I was saved in my teens, and had no Christian friends locally for years. I also found that I had increasingly little in common with the friends I grew up with, who were unsaved. With no fellowship locally I felt isolated. But I focussed on this too much, failing to see the bigger picture: That God’s hand is on the lives of all Christians, and that He works all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:23). Thus, there is a reason for my situation, though I don’t yet fully realise what it is. One thing I can say is that it has made me stronger, though my full understanding will come once this chapter in my life is finished!
For now though, the answer for myself, and for any Christian who faces certain trials, or has needs/wants that are outside of their own power to fulfil, is this: Love God by obeying Him with joy. Live a life that is centred on God, not on what you want for yourself. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God…” (Matthew 6:33). This is how we should all conduct our lives. Don’t act like the unsaved by focussing on self, because to be frank, it’ll get you nowhere.
1 Marxism is a form of communist theory, which states that the means of production of a society should be owned by the workers of the society itself (the proletariat), and that wages for labour, and private property should be abolished. Economically, it means that people would be unable to own possessions (including houses), and it would become impossible for people to reap the benefits of hard work (ie, attaining riches). It is a system that destroys competition, which is a natural part of human nature, and leads to economic and social advancement. It would result in a lazy, regressive society: If you cannot be rewarded for working hard, why bother!? Marxism and Communism can only be put into practice if the people of a society surrender all of their personal freedoms, and responsibilities to government. In history, this Totalitarianism has always resulted in massive bloodshed, as those who oppose the Communistic system are murdered. Communism is also humanist, and therefore denies God and any type of religion. In practise, Communism is closely related to Fascism, despite the latter often being wrongly associated with the extreme ‘Right’ of the ‘political spectrum’ (a concept that I find rather simplistic and flawed).
2 “Humanism is the view that we can make sense of the world using reason, experience and shared human values and that we can live good lives without religious or superstitious beliefs.” (http://www.humanism.org.uk/humanism). It claims that the measure of everything is man, and that man rules his own destiny. Humanism is therefore an entirely atheistic worldview, that teaches that man can be inherently good, without the need for a Saviour. Christianity on the other hand teaches that mankind is inherently sinful, and stands condemned in front of an infinitely holy God, Who by definition, cannot have sin in His presence. The only way that man can come to God is through salvation by grace alone (i.e., given freely by God, and unattainable by human efforts), through faith in Christ alone, who is God incarnate, and Who sacrificed Himself to pay the price of the sins of all who would be saved.
3 Feminism has sought to remove the notion of gender within society. It argues that ‘sex’ is biological, i.e. a person’s anatomy dictates their sex, but that ‘gender’ is an artificial construct of society. It therefore seeks to remove the distinction between the sexes (gender) from society, and with it, gender roles. This is at odds with what God says about gender and marriage, where men and women have different, but complementary roles. One of the ways feminism has impacted the churches are with the introduction of women priests and pastors (the office of priesthood is defunct now anyway), which is in direct opposition to God’s word, which states that women should not teach men in spiritual matters. Feminist groups are also responsible for pushing abortion, as the ‘right’ of a woman to do what she wants, under the pretence that the unborn baby is merely an unwanted part of her body. It also affords little rights for the father of the unwanted child to object.
© October 2010
Published on www.christiandoctrine.com
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