'You only live once—YOLO' is the motto of this generation. It permeates marketing ploys and provides an excuse for reckless, opportunistic, or questionable behaviour. It gives us an easy reason to live it up and take uncertain risks—all with the guise of fulfilment by revelling in the finality of our one life.
If you have no belief in life after death, then I can see how this worldview is appealing. For if this life is all I get, I'd want to fill it with self-exalting, adrenaline-pumping, dopamine-producing memories. I'd want to look back on my one life and feel like my own hero, or die trying to achieve the same outcome.
However, if you believe that the grave is not your final destination, should that not frame the way you live? And if it does, how must your life look both the same and different from the YOLO worldview?
Same, same, but different
To those who trust in Jesus'perfect love displayed on the cross: here and now is not your only life, and it is not your best life.
When your decades are finished, you will be with Christ in all His glory. You will be face to face with the God who created you and everything you experienced in this lifetime. Every difficult trial you shouldered will seem effortless when you witness the unveiled power of God.
Through this lens, we can see that life is a short and pale version of the joyful life to come. This gives us a reason not to put all our hope in the experiences of our current life.
Instead, we can live with an eternal perspective, cognisant of the fact that no adrenalin or dopamine produced in this life will compare with the glory we shall see in the next. This is the difference between the Christian and YOLO experience.
The YOLO lifestyle does offer us something valuable though, and I know I could learn to put this truth into practice more adamantly.
YOLO declares that, because this life is all you get, you have to take any chance and make the most of every opportunity. This is particularly true regarding the relationships you have with people around you.
Without being in relationship with others and sharing the good news that Jesus is their real and living Saviour, you are not assured of seeing them in the next life. Nobody lives once, so you must take every opportunity to ensure that people you meet have the chance to make a decision about where their next life will be spent.
A hope beyond
Our life now is not where our ultimate hope lies, but it is the only time we have to make an eternal decision.
Will you live a life so caught up in the carefree, self-exalting YOLO lifestyle that it does not point to the next life?
Or will you take the snippet of wisdom offered by the YOLO worldview, and seize the day and opportunities given to you? If you take a chance and share with one person, you influence their decision about where they spend their second and eternal life.
You only live twice. Make the first one count.
Harriet Knox is a new wife living in windy Wellington, New Zealand. She works for the Government, loves animals, and cannot function well without a gym membership. She became a Christian at University and attends Gracenet Community Church.
Harriet Knox's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/harriet-campbell.html