He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
2 Corinthians 5:15
The Twilight Zone was a TV series in the early 1960s. Episodes typically included elements of science fiction or the supernatural. Almost every story ended with a twist in the plot. Many consider it one of the best-written TV shows of all time.
One particular episode featured a hardened criminal who had died but woke up in a pleasant place. A congenial host welcomed him and invited him to enjoy what he knew to be some of the criminal’s favorite amusements—playing cards, playing pool, etc. At first, the criminal had a marvelous time, for he discovered that he won every game he played. Over time, however, the novelty wore off. More time passed. The irritation of always winning had now turned into drudgery. More time passed. Finally, the criminal cried out in misery, “I wish I hadn’t gone to heaven. I wish I were in hell.” In reply, the congenial host laughed a terrible laugh and said, “You are.”
From the Bible, we know that hell is far, far worse than simple boredom. The criminal’s misery, however, highlights a real curse—the curse of an empty, meaningless life that has no other purpose than to revolve around me.
That’s the evil genius of sin, of course—your sin and mine. My sinful self makes a compelling case that the purpose of my life is the fulfillment of my pleasures, my dreams, my comforts, my priorities. All that creates, however, is a vacant, lonely, pointless life. My life has meaning only in connection with the God who made me. Absent that, nothing matters.
And that’s why Jesus came. As my substitute, God the Son lived a life of perfect trust in his heavenly Father’s will. As my substitute, God the Son went to the cross and washed away all my sins of self-absorption. Now, as the risen and ascended Christ, he sends me his Holy Spirit through his gospel, joining me to God through faith in his Son. The curse of my self-absorbed life is over.
Lord Jesus, you have rescued me from the loneliness of self. Fill me with the joy of living for you. Amen.
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