What’s Really Important in Life?

Chris Battle Articles Leave a Comment

“Why, oh why, didn’t I take the blue pill?” Have you ever asked yourself this question, or a variation of it? Perhaps you have no clue what I’m referring to. This is a quote from the movie The Matrix. The scene depicts Neo, the fresh-faced, prophesied savior of the world sitting across from Cypher, the hardened cynic who has lost the love of rebellion. Essentially, Cypher is expressing his regret about a choice he made; namely, he wishes that he had remained ignorant about what the world was really like.

Ignorance is bliss, as they say.

Although I am in agreement with this from time to time, I could have overlooked the last attempt at The Hobbit and not lost any sleep; but this is typically a bad strategy to take in life.

Why? Riddle me this: since when is it a good idea to intentionally not care about what is truly important? To some degree we are all guilty of this. We end up getting caught up in something and before we know it, it has consumed us. Dare I say…Pokémon GO?

For me, it’s about becoming distracted. Sara and I will sometimes go out for a fancy dinner at the food court. Like a cat with just about anything moving, I have a hard time focusing when there are a lot of people around. I have to really concentrate. Truth be told, I enjoy people-watching and contemplating the stories that they are living. The problem is that I should be paying attention to my lovely wife who is willing to spend time with a guy like me!

This is an issue that we as a society find ourselves experiencing now. We’re collectively sitting at a table with the most amazing person who ever will be, Jesus Christ. Instead of being captivated by Him, we’re looking over His shoulder at the group of people who are dressed differently and speaking animatedly. Instead of parlaying that captivation for Him into living as we are created to live, we’re busy trying to figure out what to do if the group gets too close. In other words, we’re not making the main thing the main thing.

C. S. Lewis, in his discussion of hope,[1] puts it like this:

Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth “thrown in”: aim at earth and you will get neither.

So the bottom line is this: you should want to take the red reality pill, even if it’s less fun, because we can’t impact our world in intentionally positive ways if we don’t have a clue what’s going on in it. Jesus Christ has called us to something far more excellent (check out 1 Corinthians 13), and to do this we need to know what’s really important in life: loving God and loving people.

 

For more on this topic, check out this week’s Apologetics Canada Podcast. You can find it here.

 

[1] This quote is from the opening paragraph of Chapter 10 (“Hope”) of Book 3: Christian Behavior in Mere Christianity.

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