Greg Laurie is the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., one of the largest churches in America. He is also the featured speaker for Harvest Crusades, large-scale evangelistic outreaches that have been attended by more than 4 million people around the world since 1990. Greg is heard internationally on the daily radio broadcast, "A New Beginning." To learn more about Greg Laurie go to www.greglaurie.com.More ↓Less ↑
It has been said that if you aim at nothing, you are bound to hit it. Every day, the clock is ticking. Every day, life is moving forward. What is the meaning of your life? It is especially good to determine this while you are young, because you will decide the evening of your life by the morning of it – or the end of your life by the beginning.
How is life going for you right now? Have you reached your goals? Have you realized those dreams? Is it working out for you?
The story is told of an artist who sculpted a beautiful angel and wanted the opinion of the master artist, Michelangelo, on his work. Michelangelo looked at the sculpture for a few moments, circled it a time or two, and finally concluded, “Well, it lacks only one thing.” Then he left.
He never told the artist what the statue lacked, so the artist sent a friend to Michelangelo to try and find out. Michelangelo told him, “It lacks only life.”
That is how it is for a lot of us. Maybe you have the ultimate house or the coolest car or the beautiful wife or the successful husband. You are firing on all cylinders. But something is missing. What is it? It lacks only life.
We search for meaning in life, trying to find it through the things this culture says we need to be happy, such as possessions or accomplishments or sex or some other thing. But we fall short. And none of these things meet the deepest need of our lives.
I grew up in a broken home. My mom was a beautiful woman, sort of a Marilyn Monroe look-alike. She was married and divorced seven times and was an alcoholic. In many ways, I had to take care of my mom. Sometimes she would be out all night drinking, and she wouldn’t come home at all. When she did come home, she would usually collapse, and I would need to put her to bed. That was my life. I didn’t understand that wasn’t normal. But it was normal for me.
Yet ironically, as I got older, I ended up in the party lifestyle. I was drinking. I was smoking. I was hanging out with people who did those things. And I thought, Well, this isn’t where the answer is. I don’t want to live like my mom lived, and here I am, doing the same things.
Around that time, the whole drug culture was coming on strong. People told us that drugs would expand our consciousness, so I got into drugs, and they certainly didn’t make things any better. In fact, it made things a whole lot worse. So I knew where the answer wasn’t. I knew it wasn’t in the lifestyle of my mother. I knew it wasn’t in the life I had been living. I knew it wasn’t in the drug culture. So where was it? For me, it was a process of elimination.
On my high school campus, we had some very outspoken Christians who actually walked around, carrying their Bible in public. We called them Jesus Freaks.
My friends actually warned me. “Hey, Greg, be careful. There are a lot of Jesus freaks on this campus.”
I said, “Yeah, like Greg Laurie is going to become a Jesus Freak. Hello! That is never going to happen.”
But one day I went to one of their meetings. No one invited me, but I went because I saw this cute girl, and I wanted to get to know her better. She was sitting there with the Jesus Freaks, and they were singing these weird little songs. And I thought, Look at these deranged people. They are nuts! I thought all the Jesus Freaks were a few clowns short of a circus.
Yet for the first time, I listened, and I opened my heart up. The guy who was speaking made a statement that got my attention: “Jesus said, ‘You are for Me or against Me.’” I looked around at the Jesus Freaks, and I thought, Well, they are definitely for Him. But I am not one of them. Does that mean that I am against Him? I didn’t want to be in the latter category. And that was the day I put my faith in Jesus Christ. That was the day I found the meaning and purpose of my life. And I have never regretted that decision.
God has given all of us something called a free will. He loves us so much that He will not force us to believe in Him. He will not force us to love Him. If people want to go away from Him, they can go. And many people do. They run from God.
A lot of times, we want to blame everyone else for our problems. If you have trouble at home, it is the fault of our parents or our spouse. If you have trouble at work, it is the fault of the boss. But do you ever stop and think that you are the problem? Deep down inside, it is you. You might say, “Yeah, but the reason I do the things that I do is because I come from a dysfunctional family.”
Who doesn’t come from a dysfunctional family? I came from a dysfunctional family. We are all dysfunctional. We are all messed up. When are we going to just take responsibility and say, “It is my fault. This is why it has happened”?
If you will come to Christ, He will accept you as you are and throw His arms around you. God doesn’t say, “Clean up your life and then come to Me.” In effect, He says, “Come to Me, and I will clean up your life.”
When I was a kid and would be out playing, my mom would say to me, “Come home before dark.” I hope you will do that, too. Come to Jesus Christ with your problems, with your addictions, with your questions and with your doubts. Come with your sin and receive His forgiveness. But come home before dark.