Dear Seeker of Truth,
“What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? For what could a man give in exchange for his soul?”Mark 8:36-37
Few people live their lives as if there is absolutely no meaning. If this is all there is, you have a problem at the very beginning. Why care about a purpose, meaning, the end, legacy, or anything at all? There are few people when confronted with absolute meaninglessness who remain sane. If you head down that path, it can go to a dark place — you must come to an understanding of meaning up front.
You desire meaning or you would not get up, go to work, bother with relationships, or raise a family. The importance of meaning is critical and is something everyone should answer with clarity. Looking back at one of the oldest written texts of humanity, the first book and chapter of the Bible, you find the commandment “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28 NKJV). This is a basic biological imperative — continue to exist. Your biology contains meaning; you can see and understand that simple fact.
Yet meaning is more than biology and it is more than procreation. As the only storytelling and story-believing species, we see that the stories we tell and believe are the key to meaning. You can choose to tell yourself a story about what it means to “Be fruitful and multiply.” The beauty and terror of this is that the stories you choose to tell and believe matter! Frighteningly, you choose — not always knowing how what you choose will turn out. Often you choose not even knowing you chose!
At the deepest level, you find the Holy Scriptures, all of which tell a story of a higher reality — God, paradise, heaven, and enlightenment. These are stories of a Being, a place, and a reality that is at the limits of, and beyond, your ability to comprehend. However, these stories beg us to strive and reach for the unknowable: salvation, enlightenment, and paradise. These stories transcend your biology, science, and the material world. They tell you that what you do matters beyond here and now. These stories speak to meaning beyond yourself, time, and the world if you allow the truth into your life and all truth flows from God.
Where do you begin? Seek to live a purposeful life. Seek what is meaningful. This is best done in first confronting the suffering of your spirit. In biblical terminology, “the fruits of the Spirit are good.” Building qualities of love, joy, and peace is important, and you should foster these qualities. Love, joy, peace — these qualities empower you to confront suffering and transcend your physical, mental, and emotional situation. A parent will, out of love, brave great danger for his or her child. A soldier will give up his or her life for peace. Those who take joy in the challenge of obstacles will overcome them. Look for the characteristics that transcend the world of mind, heart, and body, and foster the good ones. Also, recognize that all ultimate good comes from God.
God is good and he wants good for you! If you improve your relationship with God your life will become more meaningful and will bear wonderful fruit. This week’s action is one of great significance. Draw closer to God. How close you want to get to God is up to you. He never forces himself on anyone, but this I guarantee: the closer you get the closer you will want to be because he is infinitely and marvelously good!
God is waiting for you in scripture. He wants to reveal himself to you through his Word. If you would spend just a few minutes a day in his Word and in prayer I guarantee he will manifest himself in your life in the most unexpected and marvelous ways. The Bible is a big and complicated book because God is an infinite and complex being for some this can be daunting. He is calling out for a relationship with you but this, sometimes, is hard to hear in this noisy, messy world. You need to find just a few quiet minutes to spend in his Word and prayer. This doesn’t need to be overly complicated. There are free resources available like Our Daily Bread or the YouVersion Bible apps that are filled with great scripture-based devotionals. The Our Daily Bread app will even read the devotion to you. You could listen to it while taking a shower before starting your day! God doesn’t make it complicated. Listen to or read a short devotional and then pray the following simple prayer every day:
Dear God, thank you for your word. I want to hear you and see you in my life.
Help me be open today to the message of this devotion.
Show me how you want it to apply to my life. Amen.
Do you already have a devotional practice in your life? Don’t stop, a devotional life is important, but maybe God wants to go deeper? Consider doing an in-depth Bible Study. This one-year through the Bible audio study is a classic and will deepen your relationship with God by making you a more educated reader of scripture. Alternatively you could investigate a topical study: for example one targeted to your relationship with God as a man or women: Wild at Heart (for men) or Captivated (for women). There is a lot of noise out there. Whatever topical path you go down make sure it is firmly rooted in scripture like the content shared here.
Draw close to God and he will draw close to you. Develop a habit of taking a few minutes each day to spend in his Word and he will reveal himself to you in unimaginable ways if you ask him.
Thanks for reading.
Assent to Truth,
PS: Of all the letters, this one is the most important. More than anything, I want God to show himself to the world in all his majesty and glory. I know to our modern scientific mind God sounds kind of wild. For those of us that follow the science it is becoming easier to reconcile God with modern scientific thinking, particularly around items of faith. He is becoming more undeniable daily. To learn more about the death of atheism, read Is Atheism Dead.