Surviving and thriving
Take the belief in God, for example. Turn your attention more specifically towards the gospel and Christ. What will you find? Whether you realize it or not, something significant that can meet your basic needs. Oh yeah, you can live without such a conviction. Many people and communities and cultures and countries do. But you can’t constantly think about what you believe and live very well for very long.
Cars break down if they do not receive the attention and care that they need, and so do people and relationships and entire cultures.
One of the often-repeated messages here at Career & Life Direction is simply this: Your life matters. Now, either this statement is true or it isn’t. I can’t say, “Your life matters because I say that it matters and will live like it matters and talk endlessly about how much it matters.” Blathering on like that won’t do much good. How would that help?
Don’t wait around for God to do everything for you while engaging in pious talk
Simon & Garfunkel wrote a beautiful and yet sad song many years ago. The title is worth mentioning at this point. It was called “The Sound of Silence.”
A shift towards a post-modern or atheistic worldview has the same effect as global warming: It makes solid-looking things melt away. Rational thought eventually melts when a Judeo-Christian worldview is rejected for too long, but that is another story. When the thinking ends, the chanting begins. It sounds something like this: “My life matters! My life matters! Don’t say it doesn’t! Don’t say it doesn’t! That is hateful! That is hateful! You are a hater! You are a hater!”
Exit: careful consideration. Enter: a mob mentality.
One positive aspect, though, about all the excessive chanting and noise, is that it suggests that most people have a deep conviction that their lives really do matter. They just don’t know why.
Don’t believe me? It is not so important whether or not you agree with everything I think or say. But you might want to ask yourself this question: “Who or what do I really believe?” Does your worldview imply that your life is anything much to get excited about? If it doesn’t, could it be that there is something wrong with what you presently believe?
Believing that your life matters, having this strong core conviction, will help you move ahead in your life. It will help you survive and even thrive.
If you do accept the gospel and a Christian worldview at some point, be sure to then avoid the problem of passivity. And yes, passivity is potentially a very large problem for Christian people. For the gospel is all about grace; it is all about a gift. At the core, the main message is about what Christ accomplished on our behalf by dying on the cross. It is all about choosing whether or not to accept this. There really isn’t much to do. And the implication is that your life and your future really, really, really, matters to God.
This message or story has been refered to as the gospel or “good news” for centuries. Have you ever wondered why?
Although the gospel is incredibly important, remember that it is part of a larger story. Yes, God has taken the responsibility to offer each human being who has ever lived a very valuable gift – something each person needs. But at the same time, it is very clear that God has no intention of doing absolutely everything for you or for me. In other words, you still have a lot of responsibility. You have a life to live. You have choices to make. You have gifts and talents that you need to find ways to develop and use. There are many things that you need to do.
So don’t wait around for God to do everything for you while engaging in pious talk. As a Christian, you need to learn to take responsibility for your own life under God. Please be sure to take this advice in the way that it is intended. It isn’t a random cutting remark. It is a strong word of encouragement.
For what it is worth, I have a graduate degree in Christian studies and I have lived long enough as a Christian to make more than a few mistakes. From my perspective, it is impossible to sort out exactly how my will and my choices relates to God’s. Christian theologians will be talking and arguing about this for years to come. What matters is that God has acted and will act in this world, and that you and I need to act too.
Don’t underestimate the measure of power and potential influence that you have been given. If a large and growing number of Christian people are taking strategic action daily throughout this world, it is going to make difference. A big difference.
Who knows? Maybe you have a large role to play right where you have been placed on the planet. Maybe you will help your community and culture and civilization survive and even thrive.
Taking the time to clarify your career and life direction is one way that you can act right now.
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