LIFE is NOT about having experiences, but an IMPACT for Christ and His Kingdom.
1.What (then) is meant by, “life is not about having experiences” = The purpose/focus of your life (what gives it meaning and fulfillment) is NOT the accumulation of experiences – or making sure that you have as many good experiences (or different experiences) as possible (i.e. that the value of your life is established by the sum of your experiences). This view is best captured by the MODERN acronym “YOLO” (you only live once) or the Latin phrase, “Carpe Diem”(“seize the day”).
1.1. Modern generations however are not the first to think this way, it was the thinking of many in ancient times as well (Isa 22:13 – “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” = Seeing that one day we will die, we need to maximize the number of fun/good experiences we can have before then).
1.2. This mindset/philosophy of life becomes strongest when people believe there is no afterlife (e.g. 1Co 15:32; the rise of atheism in the world is a major reason this view has become so popular today).
- What living for experience looks like in our world today:
2.1. Feelings as the determining factor in a person’s commitment to anyone or anything (e.g. “life is short…feel good”).
2.2. Sex education in the public schools encouraging kids to “explore their sexuality”.
The more and varied sexual experiences you have the better your life wb (sexual experience is considered by some people to be a sign of their value. This is a biggest reason behind those who have willingly pursued careers as prostitutes: they view sexual experience as validation of their life – the fact that someone desires them in that way).
2.3. Marriage or monogamous relationships in general are viewed as a bad thing.
You are tied down to one person and therefore limiting your potential for other experiences.
2.4. The rise in people wanting to travel abroad.
The mindset behind this growing trend is that a person needs to experience as many cultures and places as possible during their lives if they are to feel they lived a full/complete life.
2.5. The rise in number of extracurricular activities children are involved in.
Many in the field of child development are now teaching that a child needs to have as many such experiences as possible to be whole/well-adjusted.
2.6. The sinful reactions of kids and adults to the idea of missing out on a desired experience.
Such an idea (missing out) is treated as tantamount to abuse that (therefore) justifies any/all forms of acting out/rebellion against it (e.g. cheerleader who buried her newborn baby in the backyard after giving birth b/c she allegedly did not want to miss out on prom and living the “perfect life” w/the perfect body).
- What (then) is meant by, “IMPACT for Christ and His kingdom” = The purpose/focus of your life (what gives it meaning and fulfillment) is using it – and the opportunities you are provided thru it, to have a positive impact for Christ and to advance His kingdom/fulfill His Great Commission (Mat 28:18-20). How then I assess the value of my life is also based on this —the impact am I having/had for Christ and His kingdom. This view is best captured by the Latin phrase, “Soli Deo Gloria” (“for the glory of God alone”).
The text that best drives this home as our purpose in living as Christians, comes from Jesus’ first public sermon (His Sermon on the Mount address – Mat 5:13-16) — which is where we WOULD expect to find such teaching SINCE understanding our purpose as Christians is IMPERATIVE to living the kind of lives that are pleasing to God.
(Mat 5:13-16) = These verses are all about living for IMPACT. The metaphors of salt, a city on a hill and light are being used by Jesus to show that as Christians our lives are to be having impact for Him and His Kingdom (versus living for experiences). This is clearly seen by considering two things: 1) how He concludes His third example – that of the light (v16) = )Our lives are to “shine” or thru our “good works” have impact that causes “others” to “give glory to God”). 2) the subject of IMPACT is also the common denominator in all three of Jesus examples: 1) salt that has lost its taste is (essentially) salt that has lost it impact (hence the reason, “it is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet”), 2) a city on a hill that cannot be hidden is essentially a city having impact on those in the surrounding area – most especially those trying to find it, (AND) 3) lighting a lamp and placing it under a basket is essentially -or the same thing as saying, a lamp whose light is severely impacted.
IMPACT then is (again) what Jesus says is to be the purpose/focus of our life – IMPACT for Him and His Kingdom.
“Is that you?” “Are you as a Christian living your life in such a way that it will have IMPACT for Christ and His kingdom)?”
- What living for IMPACT looks like in the church or w/individual Christians:
4.1. We (as the church) are making all decisions NOT based on how we feel, what is popular in the culture or looking to the world (for counsel), but to Christ and His Kingdom.
This includes where we will place our focus, where we will spend our money, where we will spend our time, how we determine right and wrong, how we determine what is wise versus foolish, how we judge others and practice justice, what strategies, models or ministries we will adopt, what we will fight for and fight against, who we view as Christian or false Christians, how we view ourselves) (see 2Co 4:1-5).
4.2. You (as an individual Christian) are equally making all decisions NOT based how you feel, what is popular in the culture or looking to the world (for counsel), but to Christ and His Kingdom.
This includes where your will place your focus, where you will spend your money, where you will spend your time, how you determine right and wrong, how you determine what is wise versus foolish, how you judge others and practice justice, what hobbies, entertainment or careers you will pursue, what people you will choose to be around the most, what kinds of clothing, lifestyle – even diet you will choose, what things you will fight for and fight against, who you view as Christian or false Christians, how you view yourself.
This kind of thinking was the basis of Paul’s statement, “For me to live is Christ”(see Phi 1:21-26 w/2:17).
4.3. We are always asking the question, “How does what I am currently doing– or planning to pursue (in relation to all things), positively count/contribute to my life having impact for Christ (and His kingdom)”? And if the answer is, “It doesn’t”, then I no longer do/pursue that thing, or it is severely diminished (to the point that it becomes a very insignificant part of my life).
Again, we are asking this question in relation to all things – including what others may consider the little stuff (e.g. what we eat -1Co 10:31 vs Phi 3:17-9; where we spend our free time – Eph 5:15-20).
1) WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY LIVING FOR? WHAT DETERMINES WHAT YOU DO OR THE PLANS YOU MAKE? Is it experience or Christ and His Kingdom?
2) PARENTS, HOW ARE YOU DISCIPLING YOUR CHILDREN? Are you teaching them to make their decisions based on the experience they will have – or its impact for Christ and His kingdom?