A fundamental misunderstanding of life?
by Richard D Kloosman
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A Fundamental Misunderstanding of Life?
What is life about? People should ask themselves this question regularly. The normal answer is that life must have purpose. But the question is; are we made for purpose only? What if I know my purpose, did I really discover what life is all about?
Many people have many different views on life it normally goes from there is no ultimate purpose to life and we should “eat drink and be merry because tomorrow we die” to the very strict “thou shalt not touch, eat and drink this that and the other”. If we would ask people what life is fundamentally about, we will get confused because people are so diverse that they rarely would concur on most of life’s issues, if they would be allowed to throw off what culturally bounds them. I want us to think about the question I posed above, what is life all about and then do we really have a grasp of the meaning why we are here.
Now, the question is again, if I discover my purpose in life, does that mean I have figured out what life is about? No, life has much more issues than just accomplishing your purpose. Purpose gives you ultimate direction in life and you will live a fulfilled life if you live out your purpose. Nevertheless, it does not tell you how to relate to people or which woman will be your wife or how to handle your weaknesses, if all you think of is purpose it will make you an “all work and no play” type of person.
It sounds like I am making light of what the purpose of man is, and that I think it is easy to find out the personal purpose of people, but that is not the case. The point is, whether we believe that we should accomplish our purpose or whether we believe there is no purpose to life, looking at the world and the way it is running shows me that we have a fundamental misunderstanding of life. Sure, it is better to believe that we should accomplish our purpose but doesn’t purpose imply a Giver of purpose? The problem lies with us; when we start to live like there is no Giver of purpose; the consequence is we lose sight of what life is all about and we become self-centered.
What the human mind should be focused on is not self, but the knowledge of God. We should relate to Him as a child to a father having relationship with Him, because He is a real person and not some metaphysical entity, which is removed from the everyday grind of life. Knowing that you have a personal relationship with God goes way beyond than just knowing what your purpose in life is. In other words knowing the Giver of purpose is better than just knowing what you should accomplish in life. If ‘we’ make something with a purpose, we do not intend to have a relationship with it, but God made us otherwise, He made us with purpose and for relationship, not because He seeks it, but it was His will that we would be created and we are worth it.
How should we live our lives? Well, life is not about surviving; which is the way many people live their lives. They live to put bread on the table. I hate it when people use that expression “putting bread on the table”, is all that is on their minds survival? Is all they can think of, where is the next loaf of bread coming from? Are we here to survive until we die? If that was true then life is meaningless, what will be the point of it all. The other side is of course that people chase after wealth, which has its benefits, but only until you die and end up like the poor person even though you had a better 70 years or so on earth. No, life is a purposeful adventure, with struggles and all, but the adventure will only make sense, the adventure will only be worthwhile living if it is in contact with your heavenly Father. Life cannot be truly fulfilling without God. Since God transcends our lifetimes, it would be better that we spend the average 70 years with Him doing and learning what He has for us to do and learn and then enter eternity with Him knowing more or less what is waiting for us.
What about all the struggling and the ugly side of life? We can also ask the question who causes these things. Sometimes we look at the struggles of life as if we had nothing to do with them. It is as if the insurmountable debts appeared out of nowhere and murders are done by aliens or something, no, when we look at the ugly side of life shouldn’t we also look at ourselves? People sometimes say that we should go into the slums of cities or work for a day with policemen or go to hospitals or to prisons to see the “real” side of life. I contend that is not the real side of life.
I also contend that life should be this great utopia where everything should be going our way; however if people mess-up their lives or die in tragedies, why should we look at that and say that is the real side of life. Why should the bad side of life be called the real ‘nitty-gritty’ of life? It seems to me that since God made me for a purpose, that it should be my obligation to live out that purpose, but if I choose to do something else, then that cannot be the real side of life, because God’s intention with my life should be the real side of life. People being addicted to cocaine or dying of AIDS, as tragic as that may be, are not living the real side of life, they are living the wrong, unintended side of life whether it was their choice or not. Purpose in the mind of the giver of purpose cannot include the thing living outside of its design parameters can it?
What am I saying, should we live like drug addiction and AIDS does not exist? Should we ignore those who sabotaged their lives and live with blinkers on to the struggles of life? Of course not, but these things happen because of people ignoring the fundamentals of life, which is, God first. As a Christian, I want to do my part in helping the “less fortunate” as it were. However, from my viewpoint, there is no such a thing as the less fortunate, those who we call the less fortunate are there because of very definite reasons, fortune has nothing to do with it. Let’s take street children; are they there because of being less fortunate? Did they suddenly appear on the street or were there parents involved? Every human has a story, every situation a human finds himself/herself in has a story attached to it, and if we knew the story behind the lives of people, we would know why he or she live in the situation they do.
Therefore, what caused your story, my story, the street children’s story or the cocaine addict’s story? Yes, it was a fundamental misunderstanding of life where people ignored God and lives were lived in an ‘independence’ from Him. Then the snowball effect of life takes over where problems are compounded with others. However, we can correct to a large degree what happens in our lives. We need a change of thinking, which must lead into a change of actions, we will not be able to undo the past, but can we influence the future? Yes, we can, but are we willing to pay the price? Choices brought us to where we are today, that is the choices of other’s in conjunction with our own and then our own choices in conjunction with those of others. Let me elaborate, the person living with AIDS might have nothing to do with his condition, yet he has to face the same consequences as the one who slept around and was the direct cause of his condition. Therefore, in your past if other’s choices caused hardship for you or whether your own choices caused hardship for you, you must realize that you have the power to make choices, which can lead to the betterment of your own life and the lives of those who you will inevitably touch.
This is the question, what type of choices will you make and how will they effect others?
How will we make good decisions? Well, if anything less than God’s intention for our lives is the wrong side of life, then we must make sure that our decisions are made after we have consulted with Him so that we can live as He intended us to live. Does God not know what the outcome of our decisions will be for everybody? We should realize that what we decide to do has consequences, which we could not have imagined nor intended whether it be good or bad however; God knows every possible consequence of every possible decision. Our misunderstanding of life comes in where we take over ‘our lives’ and put God to the side. We seem to have the ability or so we think that we can run our lives successfully and God should be part of our lives when things go wrong. That is not life, nor relationship with God.
God is not there for the tragedy of life, He is not the One we go and visit every Sunday in a Church building and leave there when we go. Where did that thinking come from? Are we so busy with life that we are forgetting the One who gave us life? We are almost like grown children who left home and then cut their parents out of their lives. This leads me to a question, when should God become part of our lives. Let’s say we are so prosperous that we never need Him to bail us out of problems, will He then ever be part of our lives? Or let us say that life is so hard that all we can think of is surviving and if it goes well one day we will go to church if we have the time, will that time ever come?
We seem to relate to God in a manner in which the trends of our lives go. In other words, if it goes very well, we do not have time for Him because it would seem that we do not need Him. The other side is; if life is too hard, it would seem that we need Him, but do not have time for Him because we have to work all the time or even be involved in criminality to make ends meet. Therefore, we go on with our lives thinking that we know better and that our worldly possessions or lack thereof should be the barometer of our relationship with God. What asinine thinking that is. God did not make us so that we should measure His love, affection, or attention to us via our possessions or bank balance. In other words, the multi billionaire must have a real relationship with God and praise Him for His goodness as if he did not have the billions and the poor person must worship and praise God as if he did not have the poverty.
What is this “real life” I mentioned before? Although all of life on earth is real life, a life totally involved with God is what I am referring to. To be “super rich” is part of real life, to be so poor and to die in poverty is part of real life, to be healthy and content and not to contend with the harshness of life is just as real to life as to be a drug addict and AIDS sufferer. None is more real than the other; you cannot say that the rich live an unreal life just because you cannot live as they do. To the very wealthy who is used to their standards of living, that is every day real life whether others like it or not. We are not discussing social responsibility or lack thereof here. However, the irony of life is that to do without what is needed for life is unnatural if we think about it, therefore to die because of lack and poverty is more unnatural, if you like, than to be rich.
Not that I am saying everybody should be rich, how do you define rich anyway, but what I am saying is that nobody should be lacking what is needed to survive when we were given an earth where there is more than enough for everybody to live comfortably. However, we live in a society where this is commonplace even when we are surrounded with shopping malls, which is brimming with what we need. It seems to me that the irony of the society we live in is because of our lack of relationship with God, that “real life” spoken of above and I indict the rich, poor and everybody in between with this statement.
Why is the name of this topic a fundamental misunderstanding of life? This is it, life is not about the physical; we start life struggling to cater for the physical when life is not about the physical living out of a lifetime. Life is about relationship with God. Relationship is ‘connectedness’ between persons, however if One of the persons is God, how different will that relationship make life? The problem is that many people on earth perpetuate a life style based on only how ‘they’ perceive life as if they have the capacity to make such a judgment call. Such persons whose outlook on life is “you do not tell me how to live my life” normally have a basic misconception of life, they cut out the ‘connectedness’ with God and start off in a direction which is not purposed for them. The more they move away from God, the more they need Him to help them, but the tragedy is that many people move so far from God that they live out their lives removed from the One who wanted a relationship with them forever.
What is described above is a wasted life. Now, in their ‘disconnectedness’ with God as it were; what are these people capable of? Well, what they are capable of are documented in the daily newspapers and television news reports. They become rich in this life or they live in poverty, but since they depend on themselves, they have no time for God either way. It is foolishness to live life without God, but it is also foolishness to think that we cannot live life without God, people live without God every day, because they make life impacting decisions without Him every day. God made us with the ability to live ‘independent’ from Him; we call it freewill. That does not make it right, but He does not take away our lives from us if we do not do His will, He has every right to do so, but He does not. The problem again is that we have a fundamental lack of understanding why He gave us our lives in the first place, therefore we ignorantly for the lack of a stronger word, waste our lives.
What can we do with God? Well everything, we can be rich we can be poor, we can be a celebrity or whatever, the outward everyday life of people who live with God and without God is not necessarily different, God did not make two ‘life’s’ to live to put it that way on earth. We are all involved in this one life, which we should live out, and here comes the punch line, for God. You are not made for yourself!!! You are not made for your boyfriend or wife or church or country, but for God. Did you know that? Life is a gift to you but you are God’s. It is impossible for you to live a better life on your own than you would with God. So why do we think and make decisions as if it is a possibility? Like I said you can be ‘outrageously’ rich with God or without Him or you can be poor with or without Him, some would probably take issue with that statement, but try to prove the contrary. What I am getting at is this, why give up everlasting life for things that you can have with God anyway? Just by the way, the major difference that God makes in the life of a believer is the inner peace. Peace in decision making, peace in life situations, He gives you peace and strength when life goes wrong and you can only attain that by letting Jesus Christ into your life that is apart from the blessing of everlasting life of course.
It is easy to see why we are frustrated; we try to live our lives without God but fail to realize that, that is our frustration. We normally ask this question; why do I have the life I have? Why must I be born HIV positive or why did I have to choose a wife-beating husband, why did my parents have to die or why do child pornography happen, could not God make it otherwise? Yes, He could, but then He must have a real relationship with everyone in the world guiding them through their will, but people are unwilling to be lead by God most of the time, it is evident right from the first people created. The only One who allowed Himself to be controlled by God was Jesus Christ of Nazareth; the rest of us caused what happened on earth. But we may ask; why did He make us this way could He not make us more pliable to His will or… There is a problem with that question is there not.
More pliable to His will, is manipulation, God is not into that. Did He not make us in His image, what does that mean? It means we have the ability to make choices ‘independently’ from Him and that we can direct our lives without Him, but we should not. God told Adam essentially if I can paraphrase, “if you disobey me you will destroy yourself” and that is what happened to Adam. Then the Bible says that Adam begot his sons and daughters in his image; that is with the propensity to do the foolish thing of disobeying God and destroying themselves in the various ways we see today. But you might say, why give us free will if we cannot use it independently? Well, we can choose freely to do what God expects of us and should we really get into an argument with an Omniscient Being about free will and choices? Who of necessity or inevitability knows what is best? Yes, The Omniscient One. It is a sobering thing to know that you do not know what is best for you.
Sometimes we look at the state of affairs in the world and wonder why we were created if things turned out so ‘badly’. Somebody who calls himself the “Infidel Guy”, in a debate on the internet said something to the effect that God is liable for what happened on earth since He made us and that He could foresee what would happen here. However, that is a redundant, irrelevant observation since we are here now and no amount of ‘wise’ statements can alter the fact. The bottom line is that it was more important for God to create us even though He knew what would happen on earth. In other words, it was more important for God that you should have life and see life than not to have it because of sin, which would come into the world. The fact of the matter is if we live without God and His leading, should it be a surprise that the things, which are happening, happen? Everybody who ever lived were at a point which they had to decide on an action and every time they decided on an evil action they were responsible, if they did not do the action, the evil would not have had consequences and therefore no suffering would have been the result.
We cannot be excused for our actions we are rational, contemplative and aware of what we do, every action has a consequence and to give God the blame for our actions is wrong. It seems for some people that it would have been better if God did not make us at all, but don’t they want to be entrusted with their lives and freewill? We have the freewill to choose everlasting life through our acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and not to mention Redeemer from our personal part in making the world a worse place. The fundamental purpose for life is to live it with God ‘at our side’, to put it that way, He made us therefore He should be our focus. However, if we choose to live without Him, who should get the blame for the consequences?
To conclude many people have a problem with God, not wanting to be controlled by Him and that is why they live without Him, but God does not want to live our lives for us anyway, He gave us life to enjoy it with Him. However, what we have now is of a passing nature, everybody will die and this world and life will end for everybody eventually. Where are you going after your journey of life as bad as it might have been? You can only be angry for the life you have until you die then there will be no more time to point fingers, you will have to face God eventually. Why don’t you take time to face God while you are alive and sort out your apparent good reasons for not accepting Him and His grace which He shown to us through Jesus Christ.
To be angry at or ignorant of an omniscient God is not wisdom, you can impossibly know all the reasons why the life we have on earth has taken the route it has. Many people do not want to accept that sin ruined the world so they want another answer to the question of evil but what other answer will be acceptable? If God gave us the answers to all our questions, will we accept them anyway? I thank God that we will all die eventually because like many others, from time to time, I grow weary of this life on earth with all its heart aches therefore I trust in Jesus Christ’s payment for my part of making this world a worse place and rely on His help to make it a better one. However, no amount of good work will cure this world, it just has to go and we will have to have a new one “where no defiling will enter” as the Bible puts it.
But for now the fundamental reason for your being should be God and the first relationship to sort out is the one you should have with Him, because only with God does this life on this earth make any sense.
© 2008 Richard D Kloosman, All Rights Reserved.
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