Rev. Dick is pastor of Grace Protestant Reformed Church in Standale, Michigan.
Get a life!” All over the place. Hear it? From somewhere near San Andreas’ fault to wherever will shake: “Get a life!” On the ball diamond: “Get a life!” From one raging driver to another: “Get a life!” On the talk show and the sit-com, at the party. In nothing but fun, or in disgust and scorn. Because people want to make a point, or because they have run out of points to make. There’s this exhortation: “Get a life!” In the hopes, one would surmise, of raising many a poor chap from the dead.
Surely you young adults have been called to such a life? Remember? You had just gotten your driver’s license. And wheels. On I-96 going downtown. Doing mighty fine. Cruising. Freedom. At least one other person not so impressed. Maybe because you were in the left lane … doing, you thought, an exciting 56. “Get a life!” you heard, from his passing Ferrari to your chugging Ford Escort.
But “Get a life!” shouts at us in so many different words and ways. Last Friday night at River—town (or maybe it was Sunday in Church?) you saw the legs and the cleavage. She was saying “Get a life!” That is: “Get a body like mine, get somebody like me … and live!” Every day and increasingly (soon from Standale?) Casinos call. “Go gaming with us! Roll, and win, and live!” Tommy says “Wear me!” Ringo says (OK: said!) “Listen to me!” Bud says “Drink me!” Simon says “Do this, do this, do this!” And all are saying: “Get a life!” Get this, go with us, try this, hip-hop with us and then and only then you will live! If you do not have what we tell you is vital, if you do not dream the dreams we dream, if you do not chew or go with girls that do(!), then you are missing … a life! Not hankering to know Victoria’s Secret? You are definitely weird. Not interested in having a good time (while you are losing all your money) at the slot machines? How pathetic! Don’t watch Survivor? It must be you are dead.
So … Get a life!
Well … should we?
Dear young (or if you know one) readers, you know the answer! There is really only one proper response to this “Get a life!” thing. The response is “No!”
For, after all, Lifers are really saying just this: come get a life … without God! Get things. Get a lot of them. Get the whole world. Especially get, do, wear, have tattooed, vote for the popular things and the things the beautiful, daring, darlings of Hollywood get, do, wear, have tattooed, and vote for. Get them all! Get the best! And especially get what is forbidden. Just don’t get God! Don’t get religion. Don’t get Jesus. Don’t get intolerant. Don’t start thinking about heaven, and especially hell. Don’t spoil the fun of life on this earth without God.
Therefore, when the ads, and the philosophies, and the music, and the politicians, and the stars themselves call us to “Get a life!” it is no time for dialogue, debate, or dumb statements like “I’ll get back to you later.” Christians say “No!” And our one word to these pro-life people is not because we prefer to remain dead, as they say we are, to rest in uncultured, starched shirt, purityrannical, prudish peace. Rather, we say “No!” to the world’s call to get a life because, thank God, we already have a life!
That is the truth. As believers in Christ we have, indeed, a marvelous life. It is nothing less or different than the life with God, and the life of God in our soul. Hear how one nineteenth century writer describes this:
The believer in Jesus is a partaker of the divine nature.
He is “born of the Spirit”; Christ dwelleth in him by faith; and this constitutes his new and spiritual life. A single but emphatic expression of the apostle unfolds the doctrine and confirms the fact, “Christ in you.”
It is not so much that the believer lives, as that Christ lives in him.
Thus the apostle expresses it: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me….” And this forms the high and holy life of every child of God;—”Christ who is our life.”
To him, as the covenant head and mediator of his people, it was given to have life in himself, that he might give eternal life to as many as the Father had given him. Christ possesses this life
Christ communicates it
Christ sustains it
and Christ crowns it with eternal glory.
(Octavius Winslow, Personal Declension)
Now that is the life we by the grace of God have! It is the real and blessed and grace life—the life of God with us and us with God in and through the Christ of God. Yes, the Christian life, the eternal life, the soul life quickened in us by the Spirit of God, is the life. There is no other life that is true life. There is no other life that is the great life. For Christian life is the “abundant” life, the “preeminent” the “extraordinary” the “superior,” and the “excellent” life of which Jesus speaks when He says I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10).
Yes, friends, it is a bit of heaven, this Christian life. Has to be. It is given freely from the Fount of life through the Mediator who is the life. A bit of glory. For through faith we happen to be risen with Christ (Col. 3:1), reigning in glory with Him (Eph. 2:6), hoping with a living, substantive (Heb. 11:1) hope, for the inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us (I Pet. 1:3, 4).
This life … we have!
So “No!” to “Get a life!” is the obvious Christian response. Having the life of Christ, what other life could we need? If, as the Word of God says, Christ’s grace is sufficient for us (II Cor. 12:9), then surely His grace life is enough.
But just saying “No!” is not always easy, and never is natural. In fact, and to my shame, I myself, for a long time, said the easy “Yes!” to the world’s call to get a life, and even called others to it. Even now saying “No!” to “Get a life!” (a life without God!) can be a real challenge. And I suspect it is the same with all of us, and a special challenge for youth.
Why is this? How can we better resist devils hissing “Get a life!”?
Next time. Until then, read and reread the paragraphs nine through thirteen of this article and the texts mentioned there. Think about the truth presented there of your life with God. Grace Life for you!