For our messages over the last couple of months, we’ve been comparing the conventional wisdom of our world with what Christ said.
Today, we briefly look at a very popular expression in our world right now, and it’s very fitting for Easter Sunday—Y.O.L.O.
"YOLO" is an acronym for "you only live once". Along the same lines as the Latin carpe diem ('seize the day'), it is a call to live life to its fullest extent, even embracing behavior which carries inherent risk. It became a popular internet slang term in 2012.[i]
On the one hand, YOLO could motivate some people to push themselves to make the most of their time. The thinking is, if you only live once, you better use your time wisely and make the most of your limited life. You’ve only got one shot at this, so make it count.
On the other hand, YOLO can also be fatalistic. If this life is all you ever get, why waste your limited time serving others or doing good. Why not simply “Eat, drink, and be merry” because tomorrow (or one day) you will die and it will all come to nothing.
But what did Jesus say about YOLO?
Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.”
Jesus utterly rejects the concept of YOLO. He says anyone who believes in Him will live again. You will not only live once. You will live again. This life is not all there is. There is something after—an afterlife.
YOLO is a popular modern acronym that expresses an old idea. Going all the way back to the ancients, there have been people who believed this life we can see is all there is. But thankfully on Easter Sunday, we celebrate that YOLO is utterly untrue. Jesus said He is the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in Him will live, even after dying!
Well, it is one thing to say it. That’s the problem isn’t it? We may want to believe in life after death, but this life is all most people ever see. We can’t see beyond the veil of death.
But Jesus didn’t just say “You Will Live Again.” On Easter, we celebrate He actually did it! He died on on the cross and His lifeless body was placed in a tomb, but on the 3rd day He lived again!
The Disciples saw Jesus die and the witnessed Him alive again. The women who were closest to Jesus saw it too. Many of His followers--as many as 500 people--also claimed to have seen the ressurected Jesus. They saw Him, talked with Him, ate with Him, and touched Him. They were utterly convinced. The disciples really believed Jesus was resurrected and it completely changed their lives.
Some might wonder if the disciples were just deluded. If only one or two of them had believed Jesus was alive, you might be able to make a case for delusion. However, it's much harder to believe that all the disciples, all the women, and all the other followers who saw Jesus alive were deluded.
Furthermore, there is the very real difference the resurrection made for these grieving people. If you've ever lost someone you love, you know the grief and pain it brings. Our grief does not go away over night. It stays with you a long time--perhaps forever. Jesus' followers had more cause for grief than anyone. Jesus was their everything. Many of them had given up everything to follow Him. Though Jesus was completely innocent, He was wrongfully accused, treated shamefully, and cruelly beaten and crucified. You can't imagine the deep grief these followers bore. The reality of Christ’s resurrection transformed them instantly from an utterly broken, grieving, defeated group into a inspired, motivated, joyful people on a mission to tell the world about their risen Lord. That doesn't happen because of a lie or a delusion. That kind of transformation could only occur because they knew Christ was indeed alive again.
The Disciples and early followers of Christ spent the rest of their lives on a mission to tell the world that Jesus was alive. They went their graves believing and preaching that Jesus is the Risen Lord and believing in they would also be resurrected to eternal life because of their faith in Jesus.
The Church’s faith in an actual resurrected Christ ultimately transformed the Roman empire who crucified Jesus into a Christian Empire.
YOLO just isn’t true. It’s a dangerous philosophy that could have devastating consequences for the way you live, leading you hurt yourself and others. Believing or acting as if You Only Live Once could have eternal consequences, because you will live again. Jesus clearly said this and proved this. So, you will either live with Jesus if you have faith in Him and accept Him as Lord (Heaven) or you will live eternally separated from Jesus if you reject Him (and that is the very definition of Hell).
So, if you are not truly celebrating the resurrection of Christ—believing it with all your heart—you may need to do some soul searching Do you really believe You Only Live Once? Is this life all there is?
Or do you believe Jesus when He says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.”
Today, I invite to decide in your heart to believe Jesus and to trust Him to save you. I invite you to join with the Disciples and choose to follow Jesus as your Lord. Become part of His ressurection people. Let the truth of Christ rising change you forever and guide everything about your life from this day forward. Because Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!