Over the past year, it seems like the letters YOLO have taken over. Whether on facebook, twitter, or whatever other forms of social media exist, YOLO is popping up everywhere. Some of us writing this blog had to look it up. If you’re still living under the perverbial nerd rock, YOLO stands for “you only live once.” It’s the mindset that has quietly pervaded our society for years, but in recent days has become a proud motto, not just of the teenage generation, but all age ranges. The most disheartening thing about this new catch phrase is that it’s a part of Christian circles, just as much as it is a part of non believers. In this blog, Carter and Nathan weigh in on YOLO and the danger this mindset threatens believers.
Carter – One might argue that this is an innocent phrase that simply means carpe diem or work hard for the days are short. Well that may be what it means, but its not innocent. Why? Doesn’t it produce a working spirit? Or at least one that realizes the frailty of life? I mean after all does not Scripture say, “Lord, teach us to number our days”? Surely knowing that you only live once would produce in you exactly the Christian attitude of righteous living that we need. Right?
It is not focus on this life at all that produces righteous living.YOLO only produces an attitude that whatever fun things you want to do on this earth you better get it done soon! We develop bucket lists which are nothing more than a declaration saying, “My hope for joy or enJOYing things is here, on this earth, in this ONE life.” The biggest questions people have about heaven are as follows; Men want to know, will there be sex, and women want to know, will we know each other? Because of these fears, we live our lives focused on what we can accomplish, “while we still have time”.
I John 3:2-3 says, “Beloved, we are now God’s children, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.”
What gives us the inspiration to live christ-like? It is the fact that scripture promises that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. One day we will be made like Jesus! We will co-heirs with him, in a kingdom where all things are made new and set right. Jesus said he came to give us life, and that abundantly! Heaven is not the end of life…it is true life. What spurs us to live righteously is not that you only live once, but that this one life is an everlasting one.
Nathan- As I have watched the YOLO mentality sweep through social media, I have continually thought of Biblical figures who’s lives fell into ruin because of a YOLO attitude. From Genesis to Revelation we see pictures of humanity giving into YOLO. The men and women of Noah’s day, the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah, the Canaanites, and the list of evil men and women goes on and on. But there’s another interesting aspect of humans and YOLO. The righteous fall prey to it as well. Take for instance a certain man said to be a man after God’s own heart.
One day, when he should have been doing his job, this man after God’s own heart went up to the rooftop and began scanning the kingdom. His eyes stopped just a few rooftops ahead as destruction in the form of a beautiful woman bathed. He wanted her. Forget his wives, his children, this woman’s husband. He wanted her. He was the king. He got her and she became pregnant. The story unravels from there. Her warrior husband was taken from the battlefield and brought to her, but being a righteous man, wouldn’t sleep with his wife while his colleagues were still fighting. So the king had him killed. This king, this man after God’s on heart is David. He was never the same after that day on the rooftop. Destruction filled his household.
Years later, Solomon, David’s son was said to be the wisest man to ever live and he was also quite wealthy. We read about his earthly pursuits in the book of Ecclesiastes. Solomon lists everything under the sun that offers happiness and pleasure, but in twelve chapters he concludes that is the wrong attitude. YOLO doesn’t stand. It’s destruction. His conclusion is both simple and hard in this world: “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”
There you have it. Yolo isn’t biblical. It’s not the call of the believer. Fear God and keep his commandments.