There are eight billion minds on planet earth-all with our own thoughts, and all of necessity wrapped up in our own lives and our own self-importance, or an obsession with the lack of it.
We all come into this world and struggle through life as best we know how, and then we die, and quickly get forgotten, because those around us die also. How many billions of people have lived and died and are totally forgotten? They woke up every morning, as we do, lived out their day, worked for their own survival and betterment, and then they were gone. We know one or two facts about a few famous or infamous people like Genghis Khan, but the masses from many centuries past-billions upon billions-have left no trace. According to our own mortal standards their lives were all insignificant.
What makes me, and what makes you, think that we are any different? Humanly speaking, we aren’t. We’re here for a short time, and then we vanish. From the human perspective, we may as well eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die. Perhaps the hedonist is right: perhaps life is all about squeezing as much pleasure and satisfaction out of life as we can. Or perhaps it isn’t.
Its amazing just how shallow and empty some peoples’ lives appear to be. Probably many of them think the same way about mine, but the majority seem to have no thought for things which are significant and consequential: it’s all about what the next meal will be, and how to stay in front of the car behind, and which pair of shoes to buy, and what some famous character has just announced to the world about his latest sordid relationship. I’m not suggesting we should all go around as Puritan stereotypes, with long faces and perpetual brevity: real thinking produces peace and joy.
Part of the problem is that our media and entertainment world, and now our education establishment, works to appeal to the basest of our desires and our instincts. It’s in their interests to keep our minds small: common denominator…easy money…homogenization of the masses…social engineering, and all that. The word “culture” is almost redundant now. They don’t want us to think deeply, because that means hunting for real talent, and it means being serious and realistic about life and death. It means thinking about who we really are, where we’re really going, and about…God.
So there are many millions walking around with brains and spirits of incredible potential, wondering whether to have a latte or a cappuccino today, and how to look more like that super-confident and sexy rapper, and how to impress the guy next door. All those empty minds, wandering around, spouting empty words, thinking and talking not about lasting, beautiful things, but about the mundane, the profane, the pointless, the temporal, and how to fulfill those basest of needs and desires.
My title today is taken from something Peter wrote, about those who live their lives without conscience, and without self-control. He likened them to “brute beasts”(2 Peter 2:9-15). Perhaps it’s an insult to animals to equate ourselves with them, but insult is not my intention, to animal or human.
A brute beast is an animal-a creature without heart or soul, without conscience, and with no thought of anything with meaning. It serves its belly and its natural drive to procreate, and very little else. It has no knowledge of its creator (as far as we know) or of anything finer or deeper in life. While I certainly don’t intend to diminish the value of any human to that of an animal, the term ‘brute beast’ is a good description for many people living godless, empty lives. And anyway, doesn’t the evolutionist call the human just another animal?
What’s the remedy? How can you and I be truly significant, and how can we live really meaningful lives, and not be empty or shallow or directionless? Here are my own suggestions.
First, flush what the experts say about your origins down the toilet, where it belongs. You are not the product of random processes, but the creation of an incomprehensibly great mind: the mind of God. Such euphemisms as ‘you are stardust’ are no better: stardust is lifeless, soul-less and material only.
Paul described the results of ignoring our Creator and our true origin:
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools… Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie (Romans 1:22-25).
The way to foolishness and empty hedonistic thinking in which we lose all sense of dignity is to reject the Creator. So answer number one in the securing of a sound, living mind, is to recognize your Creator and give him the worship he deserves. But we were not only created by God, but for Him and for His glory. Therefore, we can only find completion, significance and purpose in giving Him glory:
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him (Colossians 1:15-16).
Secondly, in order to fulfil your purpose as a created being, and so to bring meaning into your life-the meaning and purpose that God originally intended-remember the two greatest commandments singled out by Jesus Christ:
The first is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31).
Thirdly, through the Son of God and his sacrifice we are reconciled to our Creator, so that our worship is acceptable to Him. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). Without the Son in our lives, we do not have the Father either (1 John 2:23).
Next, we need to address the state of our own minds constantly, because our fallen human nature tends towards futility. Don’t be shaped by the world we live in, but by the will of God. This is Paul’s advice:
“…whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things…(Philippians 4:8).
Finally, remember that mankind was designed to live endlessly. You are not a temporary, worthless pile of chemicals, you are a creation of the greatest artist, and of such value to him that he sent his Son as a sacrifice. In Christ you have eternal life: “whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:26). This world is not all that life was intended to be. Here in creation we can see a glimpse of the power and beauty of our Creator, as a foretaste of what’s to come. The future for those in Jesus Christ is bright, full of joy, meaning, and satisfaction, and fulfilment through the worship of our God.