Believe it or not, one of the reasons why I’m a Christian is because I want stuff. I want what I deserve and more. I want power, love, pleasure, high esteem, popularity, etc. But I’ve found that if I want even more, I have to turn my attention from worldly things to eternal things.
Power, popularity, and all that are not bad things, these are all good things that we often see used for the wrong purposes. We have a desire for these things for a reason, they help lead us to the good, the true, and the beautiful. But we have more desires than just those, don’t we? We aren’t exactly like the Sims where you eat, pee, and play videogames and you’ve made all the bars green. We’ve got longings in our hearts that aren’t exactly quantifiable. Plus, even for the normal stuff like money and sex, we still always want more, right? Take about any rap song out there. Got a million? Well, now we better get a billion. Had a lot of women? Well, now we gotta be like J Cole with 150 lookin.. The world is not enough for us.
Have you ever thought of the hypothetical situation where you had everything in this world? You have the political power of the President, you are extremely good looking and intelligent, you have so much money you couldn’t possibly spend it all, you have many interesting, exotic, and powerful friends, a fantastic spouse and maybe even some cute kids. Would it satisfy you? Would you be comfortable saying that you would never want anything else again? Not even an extra $10. That’s it. Would you be comfortable in your own skin knowing that that’s all that life had for you?
I don’t know about you, maybe it’s because I’m a young man, but that would tear me apart. If that’s all that life is about (power, pleasure, security, etc.), well it kind of sucks. It’s finite, and I have infinite longings in my heart. What happens when you actually get there? I know that I would probably despair. I “won” the game, but would I really feel like I won? Do you ever notice that the most famous celebrities and stuff tend to go into free fall after they hit their peak? Not all of them, but a noticeable amount, and it seems to line up with my point that they are kind of lost when it seems like there is nothing else to do. We are people with a mission, and being mission-less naturally can cause us to lose our direction.
You might be thinking:
Come on, Chris! If you’re so sad, go and buy yourself something fun! Build a Six Flags in your backyard! Play basketball anytime you want! Plus, you already have a bunch of awesome friends to hang out with! You don’t have to do any chores or homework or work for the rest of your life! You can have as many women as you want! You can eat the finest cuisine every meal, drink the best alcohol! You can make people idolize you and praise you! If you don’t like a rule, you can rewrite it. You want to lay on a couch and have beautiful women feed you grapes and fan you, you can do that! Your family will be filthy rich and your grandparents can have the best medical care!
Back to my questions.
Have I really won? Am I satisfied? Let me ask you.. would you be satisfied?
And I’m sure that many people would say yes, they would be satisfied. Hey, I’m not saying that that’s all bad stuff. I’m just saying that you’d be a fool to take that over what could potentially be infinitely more.
I’m obviously being dramatic for a reason. This stuff all sounds great. It doesn’t sound half bad. But there is something missing. I have these desires in my heart and there’s only one thing that will satisfy it. God created me and He created me for Himself. He did the same with you. St. Augustine wrote in his Confessions:
“Our Hearts are Restless Until They Rest in You”
I totally resonate with St. Augustine. He lived a live of worldly pleasure for the first part of his life before realizing that he wasn’t being satisfied and found God. We have to put the first things first. We long for more than just physical things. We long for friendship. We long for love. And even with the most perfect friendships out there, our desire for love and intimacy is never satisfied. There’s that God sized puzzle piece that’s missing in our hearts and we often try to jam other pieces in there thinking that it will work the same. God is the only one who loves us perfectly, as Jesus did by giving His entire being for us by coming to earth and dying for us. You can’t find love greater than that.
Being a Christian and living for God isn’t about denying yourself of the pleasures of the world as much as it is about gaining even more than the pleasures of the world: eternal life with God!
Got a lot of stuff in this life? Great! But it won’t matter for the rest of eternity, so you better bank on what’s going to actually last. God lasts ;-)