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 ↑
I believe there is no pursuit more important than knowing God. There is nothing greater to which we can commit ourselves. The fact is that you and I were created to know the God who made us. We human beings are uniquely wired this way.
This isn’t true of the animal kingdom. My dog doesn’t sit around and contemplate the meaning of life. I am quite sure he doesn’t think to himself, There is an emptiness in my life right now. It cannot be filled by chasing cats or eating road kill. There must be more to life than this. No, he lies around and sleeps, and if any topic does occupy his thoughts, it’s eating.
I have a personal theory about my dog, and maybe all dogs in general: He thinks I am there to serve him. Why wouldn’t he think that? Look at the way his life goes. Does he go to work every day? No, he just sleeps. Does he bring home money? No, he costs money. Does he do yard work? No, he fertilizes the yard.
Animals don’t think about the meaning of life because animals are not created in the image of God. But we are. This is a unique trait of human beings. We are not evolved from animals, as some would assert. We were created by God in his very image.
The Bible says that because of this, God has placed eternity in our hearts. This means that deep inside of every man, woman, boy and girl, there’s a sense that there has to be more to life than this, a sense there is some meaning, purpose or significance to life.
The reason many people today, especially young people, kill themselves is because of hopelessness. They don’t know what they are living for. They don’t know what their life is all about.
In his book “Made for Heaven: And Why on Earth It Matters,” C. S. Lewis wrote, “All the things that have ever deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of [heaven] – tantalizing glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear. … It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want.”
To loosely paraphrase, there is nothing in this world that will fill the hole in our soul – no sexual experience, no drug, no relationship, no amount of success and no possession. There still will be something that whispers, “There is more to life than this.”
The real thing Lewis was alluding to is what we were created for. It is the drive to know the God who made us.
Jesus said, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3 NIV).
Also, the prophet Jeremiah delivered these words from God Himself: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord …” (Jeremiah 9:23–24).
That is what we are here for: to know God.
But before we can truly know God, we have to first know about God. Learning about God is called theology. “Theology,” simply translated, means the study of God. People who don’t want to get into theology might end up worshiping the wrong God. They might end up believing the wrong thing.
Again, C. S. Lewis said, “If you do not listen to theology, that will not mean that you have no ideas about God. It will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones – bad, muddled, out-of-date ideas.”
This is what we need to be careful of: that we do not have the wrong ideas about God.
Before we can know what right and wrong are, we have to know who God is. Morality is based on spirituality. Spirituality is based on a relationship with God. And if we don’t know God, hence knowing what life is about and what our purpose is, then we won’t know right from wrong.
When we become the judges of what right and wrong are, we have essentially made ourselves the moral center of the universe. This is called moral relativism. And I believe the problems in our culture, to a large degree, can be directly traced to a lack of absolutes, to moral relativism.
We have all heard the statements: “What is true for you is not necessarily true for me” or “One man’s art is another person’s pornography” or “There are no objective morals, just differing opinions.” Or how about this one? “No culture is better or worse than another.” And then we have this little chestnut from the ’60s: “If it feels good, do it.”
The reason people do such appalling things is because they don’t have a moral compass. And the reason they don’t have a moral compass is because they don’t have a relationship with God.
Throughout the world today, wrong seems to be right and right seems to be wrong. The words of the prophet Isaiah are just as relevant to our culture as they were when he originally spoke them: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20).
One survey found that 67 percent of Americans believe there is no such thing as absolute truth. Why is that such a big deal? Because if we don’t believe in absolute truth, the result is chaos.
The stability and the security we desire in life are found in knowing God and then walking with him – and not anywhere else.