This weekly topic is an effort to recap the Wednesday night Bible study I teach at Sola5, my youth group. I hope it serves to help us all in contemplating the ceaseless riches of God’s grace as revealed through the Scriptures.
So often, there is a disconnect for the Christian between the way that we live and the way that we know we should live. When we’re confronted with the truth of Ecclesiastes that everything is meaningless apart from the presence of God, we realize that so much of what we chase after in life does not ultimately matter. When we see life rightly, and see God for who he is, it becomes readily apparent that wasting our lives is a very real temptation.
In Ecclesiastes 9, which serves as a powerful summary of the themes explored in the book so far, Solomon begins by presenting us with two inescapable facts that we must deal with in life: we are all sinners, and we will all die. No one can escape these two realities. Thus, we have to confront them. How can we ensure that what we are doing with our lives will last beyond this world? How can we face our sin without collapsing into utter despair? We can answer these questions with more clarity than Solomon could, because we now see our answer in Jesus Christ. Christ deals with the evil in our hearts, and he gives us a hope beyond death.
In verses 7-10, we get a glimpse at what that shift – seeing glorifying God as our ultimate purpose – means for our lives here and now. We can live with purpose, seeing our lives and everything in them as a gift from God to be enjoyed to his glory. Everything in life is sacred, and we should approach life looking for avenues for worship. Solomon’s admonitions here have a very strong New Testament echo in 1 Corinthians 10:31. Plainly put, when Christ shapes our purpose in life, everything has meaning and is full of joy.
In the final verses, Solomon gives us a couple of means to that end. First, he demonstrates the importance of trust in God by pointing out that God alone is ultimately in control of all things. Anytime we believe that we can take care of things in our own power, we are setting ourselves up for failure. Since we know that God is in control, we should have a deep dependence on him in every area of our lives. This is not a static trust, but one that is informed by his words – if we trust God, we will trust that what he has taught and commanded us is true and best. This will lead to the second means, following in his ways. If God’s glory is our purpose, then it will drive our actions, not just our beliefs. A life that is not wasted is marked by the way it takes God’s truth and applies it to every area.
As Christians, we can never look too closely at our own spiritual walks. Take stock of your faith – are you wasting your life? If you profess faith in Christ, does your life demonstrate that your profession is real? Are you organizing your life around the faith that you cling to? Does it inform, drive, and give joy to your every action? Or, are you in danger of epitomizing the vanity Ecclesiastes has constantly referenced by living a life that is little more than a chasing after the wind?
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