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What is the Meaning of Life

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Lesson 144 of 208
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God Supplies our Needs

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WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? Program 144 God Supplies Our Needs by Ernest O’Neill

We’re talking about the question, “Why are you alive? Why do you exist? What is the point of life? Why are you here? Why am I here? Why are we all here, the whole five billion of us?” What we have been doing is particularly concentrating on the explanation given by the most unusual individual who ever lived on our earth. He is, of course, not Mohammed, or Confucius, or Zoroaster, or the Hindu prophets, all of whom were just human beings like you and me, who died and were buried, same as you and I will be. This man was entirely different from them.

He, first of all, said He was uniquely related to the Maker behind the universe. Then, He said He lived a life that was absolutely pleasing to this Creature. In other words, He lived a perfect life — unlike the characters that claim that kind of thing. He was not filled with egotism and filled with pride. Indeed, His enemies testified to the fact that He did live a perfect life, and that they couldn’t find any fault in Him.

But, He also said He was going to die like everybody else, but He had power over death, and He could destroy death, and could actually live without the normal, visible means of support we think are necessary for the support of natural life. In fact, that is exactly what He did. He came back with open wounds in His hands that should have been streaming with blood, and should have effectively prevented the blood circulation operating. He came back with the hole in His side which was made by the sword, but He didn’t seem by these to be prevented from staying alive and from eating fish that was fried for Him on the beach one morning.

In fact, He stayed alive for more than a month, and was seen by about five hundred people at one time. So, obviously it was not hallucinations that made them think they saw Him. It was actually Him alive. Then, He lifted up off the earth and said He eventually would come back at some time later. Of course, that was the man Jesus of Nazareth. He is the one who gave the best explanation of why we are here.

He pointed out that His Father had put us here because He has a special purpose for you, for me. He has a special purpose for us. That’s why we’re all so different. There are things that you can do that only you can do. There’s an attitude to life that you have and nobody else has. This man, Jesus, explained that the reason for us all being so unique and different is that His Father wants to show Himself through us. He can only do that if we begin to trust Him, and to ask Him why we’re here and what He wants us to do in helping Him to complete the creation. He said if we will do this, He will give us all that we need in this present life.

What we have been sharing in the past few days is something that Jesus pointed out to us that, of course, we said, “Forget it! We’re not going to trust some invisible Creator for this kind of thing. We’re going to make from this world what we need.” So, that’s what most of us have tried to do. We’ve tried to get what food, shelter and clothing we need. We’ve tried to get what attention and what sense of significance and self esteem and self worth that we need. We’ve ended up in tremendous frustration and futility, because you can never get enough people to respect you.

You can never get enough people to esteem you. You can never get enough people to pay attention to you, and acknowledge you, and recognize you, to satisfy you in the sense that you have for being infinitely valuable. In fact, you are infinitely valuable. But, of course, this man, Jesus, said that your value can only be respected and acknowledged in a significant and worthy enough manner by the Maker of the universe Himself. No other recognition or acknowledgement or acceptance will satisfy you.

Of course, that’s exactly what has happened. It doesn’t matter how we strive to get the best degree we can. It doesn’t matter how we strive to do the best job, to be the best husband, to be the best father. How even, when we become famous, we become the most famous singer, the most famous actor, the best sportsman, somehow we never do feel our value, our true worth is being recognized. It’s incredible how many famous people die in absolute futility over this very factor that we think they would major on, that is, their self worth and their self esteem.

It’s the same with the whole business of happiness, because we decide, “Well, we’re only here for a few years. We’re not going to depend on some miserable Creator to give us happiness. We’re going to get happy ourselves. We’re going to get all the happiness we can.” So, we try to do that. You know what we end up doing. It’s amazing! But, most of us end up trying to blot it all out. That’s about the best happiness we can experience. That’s pretty negative. Just blot out all the pain.

So, most of us end up on some kind of drugs, whether it’s heroin, or whether it’s crack, or whether it’s opium, or whatever it is, or whether it’s alcohol, or whether it’s popping pills — we end up trying to blot out the pain so that maybe just the absence of pain will at least be something. So, we end up in tremendous futility and frustration there too.

What is the most tragic factor in our lives is that after we sense that we are doing the wrong thing, and we begin to try, when we hear that there’s a God, or we hear that Jesus might really have been a real person, we begin rather late in life to try to live the way we’re supposed to live. This is where we meet our Waterloo. We find that we cannot live the way we were meant to live.

We try to do what is right, but we can’t do it. We call out that classic old protest, “I don’t understand my own actions, I don’t. Because the good that I would, I cannot do, and the evil that I hate — that’s the very thing I do.” So, we find that even when we’re trying to do what is right, and try to find the purpose that the Creator had in mind for us, or try to trust Him, we find we can’t!

The reason is we have become perverted in our own personalities. We’ve become totally perverted. Instead of living from the inside out, that is, from His ideas for us and from our trust in Him and from listening to him, we have started to live from the outside in. That is, from what people think of us. We’ve tried to live dependent on things for our security. We’ve tried to live dependent on circumstances of our happiness.

So, when we try to live the way we were supposed to, we find it’s impossible, because our whole personality has become the opposite of what it was meant to be. We enter into that dreadful Jekyll-and-Hyde-Syndrome, you remember. That was the novel Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, whereby Dr. Jekyll, who was respectable and loved to help the poor, found developing within himself a Mr. Hyde who roamed the streets at night and did all kinds of dreadful, violent and immoral deeds.

Eventually, Mr. Hyde took over from him, you remember. He invented a drug which could turn him into the Mr. Hyde when he wanted, and gradually the Mr. Hyde took over his whole life, and he could not control it any longer. That’s what happens with most of us. Even when we are trying to be good, even when we are trying to be right, even when we are trying to be the kind of people we think we should be, we find there is another ego inside us that seems to take us over, and prevent us from doing what we want to do.

So, many of us go home at night, determined to be really happy, determined to be really kind to our wives, and good and patient with our children. Before the night is out, we have blown it. We’ve just lost our temper, and we’ve been cruel to everybody. We’ve made a mess of the whole thing.

It’s the same in regard to jobs. Many of us decide, “I’m going to stay at this job. I’m going to be consistent. I’m going to be persistent. I’m going to be routine. I’m going to be faithful and loyal.” Whether we like it of not, we end up blowing the whole thing into the air. We don’t know why.

So, many of us have had this problem of this Jekyll-and-Hyde relationship, inside our own lives, this schizophrenia. We talked about how the death of Jesus, in fact, is the only thing that will deal with this Jekyll-and-Hyde Syndrome. It’s the only thing that will deal with it. There’s nothing else, because even Robert Louis Stevenson in his novel, you remember, said that one of them had to die. Let’s talk a little about that tomorrow.

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