What’s the Key to Your Life?
What’s the Key to Your Life?
I saw an article in my newsfeed last week about a guy who had a superpower and then lost it. Back in the 1980’s, American Airlines sold an “AAirpass” that would allow you to fly first class anywhere in the world, whenever you wanted, for the rest of your life. Unlimited.
A stockbroker named Stephen Rothstein bought two of them so he could bring along a companion on every flight he took. And for the next 20 years, he would fly all over the world, whenever he felt like it. He would take his wife to dinner in Paris. He would take his son to a soccer game in London. His lifeblood was flying. He lived for it.
Then one day in 2008, the airline took his lifeblood away. After he checked in for a flight to London, he was handed a letter at the gate. His Airpass was terminated, because he had been using it too much. They wouldn’t let him on the flight, even though he had already checked in his bags. They wouldn’t even help him get his bags back.
He was stunned. It was like he had a superpower that was taken away. This superpower of saying, “I feel like Italian food tonight. Let’s go to Rome!” and then flying back for work tomorrow morning.
When he suddenly lost that, he says, “They stole my entire personality.” So after he received the letter he went home, got in bed, and slept for the rest of the weekend. Then for a long time after that.
Because he lost the one thing in life that was helping him deal with life. Before that, when he was facing a crisis or tragedy, he would cope with it by flying. When his son was hit by a car and died, it was only flying that allowed him to recover. Flying was the one thing that allowed him to deal with life. Flying was the key to life. It killed him when they took it away from him.
So here’s the question for us. What is it in your life that would kill you if somebody took it away from you? What’s the key to your life? What is it that makes life worth living? What is it that you use to fill the void we all feel in life? How do you deal with the pain and uncertainty and loneliness and boredom of life?
Some people try to go down the path of pursuing more money and more stuff. A new house. A new car. A new job. A new phone. Those things might give us temporary sparks of joy, but they can’t give us lasting peace. Money can’t buy happiness.
Most of us already know that. So instead of trying to fill the void with money and stuff, we fill it with pursuits and passions. Attitudes and activities. When obtaining this one thing doesn’t make us happy, we think, “If I just do this one thing, then I’ll be happy. If I just believe this one thing … if I just prioritize this one thing, then I’ll be happy.”
And there are plenty of people who will tell you what that one thing should be. The people on your Instagram feed will tell you it’s travel. “Look at me, going to all these amazing places. Look at me, posting selfies to make everyone else jealous. And you can too!”
The celebrities on your newsfeed will tell you it’s healthy living. “Look at me, eating kale salad for lunch every day. Look at me and the 5 mile run I logged on my Fitbit this morning! I feel great, and so could you!”
The people in your yoga class will tell you it’s mindfulness. If you’ll just get on your mat and center your mind and your body, then you can find the peace inside to deal with whatever the world outside throws at you.
The people in your accountability will tell you it’s holiness. “If you’ll just kill these sins in your life, then God will stop putting all these trials in your life. He’ll start blessing you! Because if you do good, then you receive good!”
Everybody thinks they’ve got the key to dealing with life. And so we keep trying one thing after another, desperately looking for happiness. We search everywhere for joy, peace, and contentment … except for the one place we’re guaranteed to find it.
That’s what Solomon discovered after a long life spent searching. As he said toward the end of his life, “I have discovered that God made people upright, but they pursued many schemes.” (Ecclesiastes 7:29)
God created us upright. He created us to rely on him and his perfect righteousness, his perfect power, and his perfect goodness. But we pursue many schemes. We look everywhere for happiness, except the one place we’re guaranteed to get it.
That’s the way it’s been since God created Adam and Eve upright, and they turned their backs on him. They thought they could find happiness in a piece of fruit.
And that’s why God had to send his son Jesus, who the Bible calls the second Adam. Jesus lived a perfect life. Perfectly upright and dependent on the Father. And then Jesus died on the cross to take the punishment we deserve for all the times we’ve pursued our own schemes instead of pursuing God. Then Jesus rose from the grave to give us new life. To give us the joy, peace, and contentment we’ve been looking for.
We were all born in the image of the first Adam, thinking things like fruit will give us satisfaction in life. But Christians have been re-born in the image of Jesus, the second Adam.
That’s where you’ll find the joy, peace, and contentment you’re looking for: living everyday life with Jesus. Seeking the wisdom of Jesus in his word. Pouring out your soul to Jesus in prayer. Connecting with the body of Jesus, the church.
You won’t find the key to life in a pastime or a place. Only in a Person.