Woman in a field with her arms wide open

What’s up with #YOLO?

Go! Do whatever you want to do because you only have one life to live. #YOLO

This proposition seems compelling. For it’s hard to disagree with the fact that you only live once. I mean, passages from Romans and Ephesians make it pretty clear that we were once dead, but we now live the eternal life that has started and will never end. So technically speaking, if you are a Christian, you do only live once (though that “once” is like, forever).

However, there is another part of this experience-based culture prevalent in this age, which can be potentially detrimental to the Christian faith and work. The #YOLO mindset provides a seemingly legitimate excuse for people to try whatever they want without sounding aimless and without purpose.

Let’s take a look at what this mindset promotes.

1. #YOLO promotes the experience
The YOLO mindset draws our focus to having a good time, conveniently distracting our minds from raw truth by drawing attention to our feelings.

2. #YOLO promotes a lack of commitment
This mindset involves packing our calendar with things that we find “cool to do.” The reason why we can even find it enjoyable is perhaps because there is nothing fiercely important in our lives.

Think about it. If there is something we want to spend the rest of our lives doing, shouldn’t our calendar be shaped by that instead? So, logically speaking, if our calendar is filled with #YOLO stuff, it probably means that we have no real aim in life, and hence we are filling it with variety to make it look like we do. Or it means that we think our lives are boring, and we are filling it with variety to make it look like it’s not.

In one sentence: Christians who like to #YOLO are very, very seldom committed to gospel work.

3. #YOLO rarely glorifies God
“Truth or Dare”, in my honest opinion, is a brainless game. I don’t understand how anyone in the right mind would want to subject him or herself to endless questions or challenges on the basis of the #YOLO culture. But apart from that game, many people make decisions with #YOLO as the basis. I mean, going by logic alone, if we really only live once, shouldn’t we be learning to not make stupid decisions? We can’t turn back the clock and redo whatever silly mistakes we have made.

This brings me to the final point:

4. #YOLO is about me
How often have Christians considered the priorities of God in making decisions? We often choose things based on what we like, or what we’d dream of doing. How often do we stop to try to recall what the Bible has to say about what God expects of us?

Yes, we can stop along the way and post a few instagram photos, throw in a couple of Bible verses and comment on how we see God in this whole thing, but we can’t hide. Engage in the #YOLO culture, and it’s all about us. God is our audience in the cinema, watching the film of our life as we live a so-called exciting life apart from Him.

As Christians, our walk should not have its basis on truth-unfounded experiences. Being rooted in Scripture ensures that all experiences are seen through the lens of Scripture.

A word from Scripture

“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24 ESV).

The book of Acts is about the unstoppable gospel that was infecting the world. Paul, the ex-persecutor and persecutee-to-be describes his version of #YOLO: his life is not at all important to him! What is important to him is for the gospel of the grace of God to be told. That’s all. If there is something he’d die doing, it was this.

There are lots to learn from Paul’s version of #YOLO. Suffice to say, it wasn’t about the experience, it involved commitment, it glorified God, and it wasn’t, at any time, about him. It was about the God of the gospel, and how he was determined to bring the gospel to wherever God brings him.

So, if we only live once (which all of us do), then imitate Paul as Paul imitated Christ.

This article was first posted on the writer’s blog at http://yetanotherslave.wordpress.com/category/journal/

Photo credit: Boay kely / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Written by Sean Chan for YMI

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