Description: We have lost ourselves - we are driven by search for security - Only Jesus can make us alive and fulfil us
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Discovering the Real You #2
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking on this program each day about the meaning of life — and we have been doing this for about a
year now. We’ve come to the point in our discussion where we have concluded that there is an intellectual mind
behind the universe, and indeed that that mind is personal. And because of the remarkable human being that
lived in the first century of our era and proved to us that he is able to overcome death and to do some things
that no other prophet or teacher has ever done — overcome and destroy death in other people — we have
concluded that He is in fact the son of the Maker of the universe and that he has actually been beyond the sky
and beyond the stars.
And that when He speaks about His Father He is speaking truth. And He of course has explained to us that the
meaning of life is this: His Father, the Creator of the universe, our God, made you because He wants you to be
His child. He wants you to be His son or His daughter. He wants you to be friends with Him, He wants you to
love Him, and He wants to love you. And that’s why He made you. And He made you like Himself so that you could
have friendship with Him forever and could take part with Him in the development of the rest of the universe.
And that’s why you’re here on earth.
And you’re here actually to become like Him because He wants free will agents who can love Him and that’s why
He gave you a free will. That’s why He didn’t make you like Himself by force. He made you with the same
capacities as He has, but you can choose whether you want to develop those along the lines that He wants
Himself or not. And that’s why we’re here in the world. And of course most of us, we’ve said, have chosen to
live as if there is no Supreme Being. And as a result we’ve got into grave difficulties with our sense of
We find ourselves on a spinning spaceship that has no visible means of support. And we ourselves have great
difficulty establishing a financial security that will really stick even when times are rough. And so we have
a tremendous sense of angst as we nevertheless dedicate our lives to trying to get all the food, clothing, and
shelter that we need. And usually most of us spend our lives concentrating on that. We get it, of course, by
trying to accumulate money but it seems very hard to hold the stuff — it seems to drain away so often. And
then finally, of course, many of us even if we die rich, we die.
And so, there is really finally no security that we can find. And that brings us a great sense of angst. But
another problem we have is that we feel we’re unique. And actually you are unique. There’s nobody like you,
nobody has ever been like you, there will never ever be anybody like you because the Maker of the universe has
only made one particular version of you. But nobody else notices it and you realize they don’t notice it, and
that brings great frustration to most of us.
And so, we spend a lot of our lifetime trying to establish a sense of self-esteem and self-worth because we no
longer have the sense of self-esteem that we would have if we believed that there was a Creator that really
made us and made us unique –then of course you have no trouble with self-esteem. You know that there’s only
you that is like you and that He thinks of you in a way that He thinks of nobody else in the whole world. But
when you don’t feel that way then you sense that there’s no reason for you being here, and there’s no value
that you have and no worth that you have.
And so you spend a great deal of your time trying to get people to compliment you on the way you bowl a
cricket ball or the way you pitch a baseball; or complimenting you on the way you wear your clothes or the way
you put on your lipstick. You spend a lot of life trying to get other people to appreciate you, acknowledge
you, and give you a sense of self-worth. And of course the poor souls — they’re after the same thing
themselves and they can’t spend much time giving you self-esteem because they’re trying to get self-esteem for
And so many of us find ourselves in this world trying desperately to get a sense of self-worth but failing
because nobody has the time, or the persistence, or the concentration, or the unselfish commitment to give it
It’s the same, of course, with the whole idea of happiness. We conclude that since there’s no Maker of the
universe then there’s no sense to the universe. And all we can do therefore is eat, drink, and be merry for
tomorrow we die. And therefore we spend our time looking forward to Friday and hating Monday — looking
forward to the weekend, looking forward to the next vacation.
You know the way we all do it. We all are constantly talking about the holidays. It’s so great to come up to
Christmas because of the holidays. It’s so great to come into summer because there are holidays. It’s so great
to come to anytime when you can possibly get an August bank holiday or any time off because we hope that
somehow we’ll find that tremendous happiness which we feel we were made for — a combination of the excitement
of the Arabian Nights with the serenity of Walden Pond. And somehow we never get it — we never get the
happiness that we think we were made for.
And so that brings a tremendous sense of frustration to us. What we have been saying over these past months is
that in our attempt to establish our own security and our sense of significance and some experience of
happiness we have become monsters. We have. Many of us have lost the sense of who we are. We don’t really know
any longer what we really are like. In other words there’s a part of us that has actually gone dead in all
this wild pursuit of trying to establish a sense of self-worth, some feeling of security, and experience of a
We have actually become monsters; we have become conformed to each other. It’s incredible but we who are
created unique have become like each other, so like each other that we find it difficult to tell who we are at
all. And I don’t know if you’ve ever had that feeling, but I think a lot of us have in these days. We’ve
wondered, what do I really think? If I wasn’t so out and out to please my boss, or to get a smile from my
secretary, or to get approval from my peers, what would I really be like? If I wasn’t such a little performing
monkey anxious to get “cookies” of approval and praise from my fellow students what would I really be like?
And so many of us can’t answer that question any longer. We don’t know. We don’t know.
There are odd moments in our lives when our mother dies or our father dies or something else happens, or we
lose our job, when it seems that for a moment we touch reality. It seems for a moment we touch our real selves
— that is, our spirit. There are times when we sense that our spirit is still there — it’s still half alive.
But actually it’s virtually completely dead. From time to time it expresses itself through the conscience
because the conscience is part of our spirit. And sometimes, an odd time, we do what we really think is right
and then we sense that we’re a little alive again.
But most of us do that very rarely. And most of us are in the position where we don’t any longer know who we
are and we have no idea what we really think or feel. Because the fact is we’ve virtually killed ourselves
completely. It’s what Wordsworth says, “Heaven lies about us in our infancy, shades of the prison house begin
to close around the growing boy; at length the man perceives it die away, and fade into the light of common
day.” And most of us find that our insides have gone. We look inside to see if there’s anybody at home and we
come out with the conclusion that there is nobody at home.
And that’s why we have difficulty when we’re asked what we would like to do. We usually want to do what the
television has told us we should want to do, or what all our friends want to do, or what it’s supposed to be
fashionable or swinging for people like ourselves at our particular stage in life to do. But we ourselves
aren’t too sure what we would like any longer. And that is one of the great problems that many of us face in
these days. We face the problem that we’ve lost ourselves. We can’t find ourselves anymore.
And of course nobody is too anxious for us to be found, because they’re all in the same boat and they’re not
too anxious for anybody to be in a better state than them. So actually the whole of the society is organized
to keep us pretty dead inside. If you say, well how? Is there any answer? Well that’s what we’ve been talking
about. There is actually one Being that is very anxious for you to find yourself. It’s ironic. There is only
one Being in the whole universe that is anxious for you to find yourself. He does very much want you to find
And He does very much want you to find yourself. He wants you very much to come alive inside and to be as
unique as He has made you. Let’s talk a little more about that tomorrow.