Now that I’m dead, I want to tell you a few things-specifically about the meaning of life.

I must admit that I didn’t have an accurate view of my life’s meaning as a young man. Many from my generation, assumed that meaning is found by earnestly endeavoring to achieve several of the following :

Wealth – Amassing riches, luxury vehicles, and a house or two featured on MTV Cribs. (guilty)

Power – Having authority over people (guilty)

Pleasure – Being entertained or gratified by sports, dining, shopping, alcohol/drugs, and sex. (guilty)

Career – Promotions, recognition, respect on the job. (guilty)

Elitism – Nationalism and patriotism. Pride in social status, race, gender, ethnic origin, or religious affiliation. (guilty)

Knowledge – Education, research etc. (guilty)

Don’t misunderstand me here. It is not my contention that most of these things are independently “evil” or wrong. It is my contention, however, that these should all exist on the periphery of and informed by what I believe life’s true meaning is. Anything else creates an increasingly hollow life as the years progress.

As you know, I took the claims of Christianity and it’s central figure, Jesus, quite literally and seriously. During his time on the Earth, he clarified people’s perspectives of God’s purposes and commandments. Jesus said that all of God’s commandments for life can be synthesized into two principles: Love God and love others.

“35 One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”

37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:35-40)

Jesus made it clear that these principles should be applied to our lives carefully as opposed to just obeying a set of rules. So what does this mean practically for you and your life’s meaning?

There exists a veritable plethora of definitions for the word “love”. The word translated “love” used by Jesus here is the Greek word, “agape”. It means affection, benevolence, good-will, high esteem and concern for the welfare of the one loved.

Notice the order in which these two principles were given. Love God, THEN others. Good deeds and charitable work is important, but if they aren’t done in conjunction with a genuine love for, and relationship to God, then life can still become hollow. I recall in the cases of some celebrities where ostensibly their purposes were charity work, but in actuality their purposes were popularity. This isn’t life’s real meaning, according to Jesus.

Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). He also said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it” (Matthew 16:24-25).

I echoed the mantras during my days, “Live life to the fullest” and “Seize the day! Carpe Diem!” This wasn’t helpful for me early on though, because I failed to accurately qualify what the “full life” truly is. I learned later that it’s an act of futility to re-invent that wheel.

Jesus’ words leaves you with two choices: The first is in seeking to find meaning in temporal gratification, fulfilling every desire your heart possesses during this life. This will lead to eventual emptiness. The second is in loving and pursuing God and His will for your life with your whole heart. He stated that in doing so, the desires of your heart are met, you find lasting contentment and the answer to the “full life”.

In a nutshell, you will find real fulfillment and meaning in life when you stop trying to discover it in yourself, and you start seeking it in genuine relationship with God. This will influence greatly the way you live your life. If you have wealth, talents, time, compassion or wisdom, you’ll use them to love and care for others. This isn’t done for the reason cited in the Christmas classic “Frosty the Snowman” where the lyrics are, “be good for goodness sake”. The fulfilled life is doing good for His sake.