Friday, March 7, 2008

Death By Life

And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.--Luke 8:14 (ESV)
But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.--Luke 21:34 (ESV)

There are many ways by which one can kill oneself--almost as many options as there are suicides.  But, the by far worst way to kill oneself is to "overdose on life."  Why is this the worst way?  Because, what you think will make you happy and give meaning to your life takes away your life!

Twice in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus warns His followers to be on guard against "death by life."  The well-known parable of the Sower speaks of "thorns" (the cares, riches, and pleasures of life) choking the Word of eternal life.  After speaking of His return, Jesus commanded His disciples to "watch yourselves."  He speaks specifically of their hearts being "weighed down with dissipation [dissolute indulgence in sensual pleasure or wasteful, pointless activity] and drunkenness and cares of this life."

The cares of life are many, but they all share one thing in common: They lead away from God.  They are what Romans 8:5 calls "things of the flesh."  Riches, dissipation, drunkenness--they are pursuits of pleasure in the things of this world.  We must take care that we do not pursue pleasure in this world.

But, to quote John Piper, "You can't abandon your pursuit for joy, you have to glut it on God."  The interesting thing about Jesus' warnings about death by life is that they are not just saying, "No, no, no."  They're saying, "Look around!  There is so much more just beyond the horizon.  Don't let these pitiful pleasures kill you, keep looking to eternity and find life and happiness in Jesus!"

Do you want to live?  Then, "watch yourselves," forsake earthly pleasure, and pursue the greater pleasure of Jesus with passion.

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