Written by: Candy Goh (Photo by: Marvin Ng)
Life’s grander purpose
YOLO: this was how many of my friends described me. I felt proud telling my friends that I had driven without a license when I was 18, crashed a car, gotten injured from falling off a motorcycle at 20, done both skydiving and bungee jumping, and the list goes on. This “you only live once” mentality I stood for was all about being young and reckless — the bravery to take risks without making any considerations.
I enjoyed being seen as a person who embodied the YOLO ethos. I wanted to be seen as an adventure-seeker and risk-taker, but for all the wrong reasons. Being a part of a generation of youths who desires to live a life that counts for something, I accepted this YOLO mentality proferred by the world. This, however, only caused me to partake in the pleasure of sin. I did whatever I wanted and however I wanted. I still distinctly remember defying my parents when I decided to proceed with the purchase of an airplane ticket to Bangkok despite their disapproval.
In today’s age saturated with individualism, #YOLO tells us, “Think only about yourself and what you want. Chase that bucket list; have fun; try smoking weed; go check out the latest club in town.”
There may be many things we are uncomfortable trying, but at that point of decision, there will be that urge: “YOLO. Just do it. Don’t think so mush about the price you have to pay…It doesn’t matter if you’re dishonouring your body, or being disobedient to your parents — live in the moment.”
Paul warns that in the last days, “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:2-5 NIV). When I read this passage, I felt like it really described my life.
I enjoyed the pleasures of this world without feeling any form of remorse. My life decisions revolved around myself, especially when it came to travelling overseas. Despite my parents’ disapproval, I blithely travelled to seven countries without them. I found pride in making such YOLO decisions, and never considered God’s opinion when I made them. Life was enjoyable without the fellowship of my Creator.
In recent years, as I rekindle my relationship with God, He has taken me on a journey of learning what YOLO truly means from the perspective of being His child.
When I was younger, I had a near-drowning experience I couldn’t have survived without a miracle. As I emerged from the water, I thanked God profusely and told him, “My life is yours. Do what you want with it.” There have been other traumatising experiences where He saved me from the jaws of death. Each time, it never fails to remind me that I have got only one life.
Knowing that life on earth is fleeting, I want to live a fulfilling one — one that stands for a grander purpose. With my previous near-death experiences, it also seems that there must be a divine reason why I’m still alive.
In each time where God miraculously saved me from the clutches of death, God would nudge my heart and say, “You only live once…live right. I saved you at a high price; don’t let it go to waste.”
One day, I asked God what it meant to live right, He whispered only one word, “Holy.”
My immediate reaction to his reply was, “Cannot lah. This is a call for people who are ‘up there.’ Pastors. Leaders. What have I got to do with holiness?”
I have come to understand that in order to live a life imbued a larger purpose, I have to pursue holiness. Jesus beseeches us, “Be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16 NKJV). The pursuit of holiness will bring immense relief as God’s love frees us from everything that plagues us. In Ephesians 1:4 (MSG), it tells us: “Long before he laid down earth’s foundations God had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love to be made whole and holy with his love.” God is in the business of restoring human beings — holiness will bring wholeness to our lives.
I believe that the greatest pleasure can be found in the King’s court, “delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in His temple” (Psalms 27:4, NLT). Our souls will only be deeply satisfied when we learn to gaze upon His beauty and be enamoured by the revelations of Jesus Christ. The temporal pleasures that a YOLO mentality brings cannot compare to time spent with Him.
The devil has too often captured us with counterfeit pleasures. C.S Lewis argues, “It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Today, I dare you to not be content with being “too easily pleased.” God is the only One that can satisfy the desires of your heart. You only live once — it is time to answer the call to holiness. My prayer is that you will allow God to sanctify you through and through, that you shall be kept blameless when Jesus returns. There are far better things ahead than the things you’ve left behind.