Friday, June 1, 2012

YOLO?: A Christian Understanding

You only live once (YOLO) is becoming big with kids these days! If you are "cool" you will know exactly what I am talking about.

I hate to be that guy but not a single of the world's dominant religions believe this - Christianity not in the least bit.

You will live again. This life is but the passing of a season. You will die. You will live again.

This body is perishing, constantly dying, constantly getting sick, cut, bruised, beat up but you will get a body that is not perishing or fading. For I will reveal a mystery to you... this body will pass away but we will be changed in the twinkling of an eye to receive a resurrected body. After this life our bodies will sleep. After that sleep comes the renewal of all creation and the resurrection of the dead.

You will live twice.

And let me tell you, your second life bears the consequences of the first. What you do now has a great impact on the second.

1 Corinthians 15, St. Paul's magnum opus on the resurrection of the dead, should convince all of us on this matter: "When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:
 ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’
 ‘Where, O death, is your victory?
   Where, O death, is your sting?’
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:54-58).

Death will be destroyed and all that had died will live again. This is the greatest hope of Christianity (and Judaism). Not heaven. Not dismbodied souls floating around forever. Christianity has always and will always place its hope in the resurrected Jesus as the savior and example for what the future holds.

BUT after Paul preaches 57 verses on resurrection he ends with a single verse for how we are to respond to this great hope: "Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." Your actions here and now are not in vain. They bear fruit and consequences in the resurrection. Our response to the hope of the next life is to work in this one to make sure that we are worthy to receive the prize that awaits us. To be worthy we must put our hope in Jesus who is the only one worthy and the only one through whom there is "victory."

What you believe matters considerably to how you live. If you think you only live once, then do as many stupid things you can (which really is the meaning of yolo). St. Paul said the same exact thing: "If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die’" (1 Corinthians 15:32). But the reality is we will live a second time.

Do not be conformed to the world and its habits. Do not buy the lie that "you only live once." You will live again as surely as Jesus did.

John 11: "Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’"

Well... do you?