by Charles R. Swindoll
Rome said . . . Be strong, discipline yourself.
Judaism says . . . Be holy, conform yourself.
Epicureanism says . . . Be sensuous, enjoy yourself.
Education says . . . Be resourceful, expend yourself.
Psychology says . . . Be confident, fulfill yourself.
Materialism says . . . Be acquisitive, please yourself.
Pride says . . . Be superior, promote yourself.
Asceticism says . . . Be inferior, suppress yourself.
Diplomacy says . . . Be reasonable, control yourself.
Communism says . . . Be collective, secure yourself.
Humanism says . . . Be capable, trust yourself.
Philanthropy says . . . Be unselfish, give yourself.
And on and on and on goes the quest of man. No wonder people are confused! Pick any thought-dish from this smorgasbord of human philosophy, then digest it completely . . . and you will find yourself suffering from the worst case of indigestion imaginable. It may smell good and even satisfy your rhetorical palate during the time you are consuming it . . . but it will leave you hungry, uneasy, and searching for something else to satisfy.
Rollo May's words often interrupt my thinking as I ponder the plight of searching men and women today:
It is an old and ironic habit of human beings to run faster when we have lost our way.
And so it is! Look across your office desk tomorrow and chances are you'll be observing a living example of someone still searching, still running to find inner satisfaction. Step out in front of your apartment or home tomorrow morning and look both ways . . . listen to the roar of automobiles . . . study the dwellings surrounding you. Those sights and sounds represent people who have, like Little Bo-Peep's sheep, "lost their way," and, tragedy upon tragedy—they don't know where to find it. Many of them have tried hard to "be religious" or "live by the golden rule" or "tie a knot and hang on" or "be sincere," but they're still running blind and bored and baffled.
They are attempting to fill the inner vacuum with everything but the only thing. You name it, it's being tried. As Henry Thoreau declared:
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
Robert lngersol, the bold and brilliant agnostic, spent many years of his life opposing and attacking Scriptures and Christ's claims. On his deathbed . . . at the end of his race, he uttered:
Life is a narrow veil between the cold and barren peaks of two eternities. We strive in vain to look beyond the heights. We cry aloud, and the only answer is the echo of our wailing cry.
Ingersol's pursuit is best described in the bumper sticker I saw on my way to work:
DON'T FOLLOW ME . . . I'M LOST
Pontius Pilate, Judea's notorious governor, stood eyeball to eyeball with Jesus of Nazareth. In the judicial process of interrogation, he heard Christ refer to "everyone who is of the truth," to which Pilate replied, "What is truth?" That question hangs heavily on the thin wire of reason in many a mind this very hour. Pilate never waited for an answer. He whirled away in confused disgust. He should have stopped running and waited for the answer. Jesus could have told him that He alone had satisfying words of life . . . for He alone is "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6).
Christianity is not a system of human philosophy nor a religious ritual nor a code of moral ethics—it is the impartation of divine life through Christ. Apart from the Way there is no going . . . apart from the Truth there is no knowing . . . apart from the Life there is no living.
God says . . . Be in Christ, rest yourself.
Excerpted from Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life, Copyright © 1983 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by arrangement with Zondervan Publishing House.