The world is crappy.
There, I said it. It’s okay. We all know it. The glass-half-empty people will be happy to hear me say it (ironic that they’re happy about anything, right?). The hopelessly optimistic people (again, ironic) pretend that thinking things are better than they are will somehow earn them some cosmic mojo – like thinking happy thoughts causes a happy life.
It doesn’t. …or Robin Williams would be giving classes on immortality, but instead, he’s giving us a lesson on mortality.
This world is broken and there is no fixing it. God is not fixing this world. Anyone telling you that planting a tree or a random act of kindness will improve things has misdiagnosed the problem. All our sophisticated coping won’t fix it either… better stereos, jokes, supplements, church marketing, coffee pour-overs, vacation planning, graphic design elements, sermon prep, and political awareness will not fix – or even help – what’s wrong with the world.
Robin’s character in “Dead Poet’s Society” taught his students the phrase, “Carpe Diem – seize the day, boys; make your lives extraordinary.” At the end of that story, the student who took this most to heart, who was the most exemplary, who wanted most to make the most of his life ended it. Now Robin has done that, having inspired so many to live so boldly and with such joy.
But inspiration isn’t enough.
We cannot seize the day to make it what it should be, or what we want from it, or what would make the world a better place. The day is broken.
An old Jew named Paul wrote a letter to a booming local church in a large city to refocus their grid for life.
He wrote, “Be very careful how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Eph. 5:15-16)
The stinkin’ days are evil.
Clearly, Paul was not encouraging self-help theology. He didn’t say ‘If you follow biblical rules God guarantees better days.’ Nor was he promoting worldly prosperity; more faith does not equate to more fluff that has no life in it anyway. Our hope cannot be in worldly life.
So you can’t make what is evil good. You can’t make the day what you want. The world is broken. So, we are supposed to make the most of every opportunity, but not by fixing the world and making the days good, but by being careful to live wisely.
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the Life.” Good thing, too, because there is a lot of “dead” stuff needing new life. There’s a lot of crappiness from which we are to carpe diem.
How? You can’t fix the world. God is not fixing the world. The days are evil so we have to be careful…. make the most of time. How do we make the most of days that are evil in a world that is broken?
Romans 5 says those who receive Christ’s provision of grace and free gift of righteousness will reign in life. (v. 17). We aren’t trying to take hold of life that so easily slips through our fingers. We don’t get to fix the world to work the way we think it should. No circumstantial change will make your life truly better. Jesus is the life. Grace & righteousness to reign amidst the broken world – even when it stays broken – are from Him. So we seize what He’s giving: grace for our needs and right relationship with God. The greek word for grace is “charis”. I’m mixing languages here, but what we are told to do – what we CAN do – is seize grace… “Carpe Charis”.
Want Life? – give up on perfect circumstances that will forever escape your grasp and take hold of Jesus who is Life.
Want healing in your soul amidst a broken world and crappy circumstances – isn’t that the minimum definition of “reigning in life”? If nothing else, reigning has to be overcoming the crappiness, right? Then take what He gives and you don’t earn. Take His enoughness in your lack. Take His provision in ways you aren’t looking for and His relationship with God (righteousness) when nothing else seems right. Seize grace. Carpe Charis.
The days are evil. The world is broken. But the “good news” – the Gospel – is grace.
Evil days will run out. Brokenness of the world is temporary. Walking in relationship with Jesus is Life Eternal. It’s not how long life lasts but how it’s experienced. He is the Source of what we need. He is our umbilical cord to life in a good God not evil days.
Enjoy your coffee and stereo and a good joke and some great conversation…. even plant a tree if you feel like it. But know that Life is Christ. Seize Grace. Walk with Him. He’s the giver of good things – like joy and peace and freedom and rest – in the midst of bad circumstances in a crappy, fallen, broken world.
Oh, and another thing... Don’t be a jerk to people. Let your heart break for the broken hearted. They aren’t wrong to be hurt, and others aren’t wrong to be hurt when people they love get hurt or graduate from this broken world either. Give people a break.
Seizing His grace for you means you always have enough for them, too. Take hold of all He has for you and give it away. …Rinse …Repeat.
And when we take hold of that for which Jesus has taken hold of us – when we seize His grace and take hold of His Life – we get all He’s got right along with it. His joy and peace and abundance and God-confident rest and hope and freedom… all that is ours in Christ, too.
Because stinkin’ evil days don’t have to determine the sweet aroma of my Life in Jesus.