One of the questions for which men seek an answer regards the purpose for which they live. All men must, in some fashion, answer this question, and the answers for this question drive the way in which men ultimately choose to live their lives.
Many men regard life as little more than a series of events to be experienced. Their philosophy, though they might not realize it, is sensual. Such individuals seldom give much thought to the future, and frequently, because they are making choices based on carnal and sensual gratification, often make poor choices. This is a philosophy, we might say, of the flesh.
Many others see life as a contest of accumulation. Those who hold to this view seek to accumulate as much as possible before the end comes for them. They work for the purpose of storing up money. They try to accumulate as many friends and loved ones as they can. They try to gain influence and power over those about them. That which they deem desirable, they labor to obtain, sacrificing other things as necessary to do so. This is a philosophy, if we were to name it, of the eyes.
Still other individuals live for their sense of self, following the creed, “to thy own self be true.” The purpose of such a life is to maintain a sense of personal integrity, following a self-imposed code of honor. That which would make one less in one’s own view is disdained, and actions are chosen based primarily upon their relationship to one’s reputation and standing. Such a philosophy is a philosophy of pride.
The above three philosophies govern the lives of most, giving people a direction to their lives, yet in the end they should all be unsatisfactory to the individual who desires true fulfillment in life, for they all share a common weakness: they fail to give life a meaning past the moment of death and they all lead to sorrow, loss and failure.
Thus the Bible warns and advises, saying, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” (John 2:15-17)
God gives those who believe in Him a purpose greater than self-gratification. He provides us with the promise of riches greater than all the material goods of the world, and He points us to a standard higher than any devised by men in their own pride. He calls us to listen to His word and shape our lives according to His will in order to find true fulfillment and a meaning to life which outlasts even the grave. He calls us to live not for self, but for Christ, and it was for this reason that He sent Christ.
Thus we read in the scriptures concerning Christ, “and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” When men do live for Christ, they can say, with the apostle Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
This might seem extreme to some, caught up as they are in the philosophies of the world, but the message of Christ, that we should die to self and live for Him as His followers, is one that offers something the philosophies of the world cannot: eternal life and true fulfillment. Man was not made to live forever carnally, but he was created as a spiritual creature, capable of serving God. This is our purpose, and it was for this reason we were made (cf Ecclesiastes 12:13). Only in Christ can we find life and the path to our Creator. He alone is the way and He alone offers a truly abundant life (cf. John 10:10, 14:6).
He alone is a philosophy worth living for.
If you are interested in learning more of this subject, we invite you to come study and worship with us at the Church of Christ, 197 Chapel Drive, Gallipolis. At the Church of Christ, we seek to serve God now that we might be with Him then, and to so serve, all of our lives.