No, this isn't a 'let's exploit any and all things Heath Ledger' article. I really liked Mr. Ledger, and I'm incredibly saddened for his loved ones - and especially his two year old daughter. He was a very talented individual with an extremely promising future.
Yet despite all these facts, there is a cultural fascination and frenzy to find out what reeeeeallly happened - even if it means complete and absolute disrespect for his family and friends. There are leaked videos and speculative allegations about substance abuse and addictions. It seems as though everyone wants to get to the bottom of this apparent mystery.
Is it really such a mystery? It is truly headline and blogosphere news that despite apparently having it 'all,' that 'all' is really quite nothing? And even further, are we shocked and awed that people in pain often turn to the way wrong places to temporarily soothe the seething ache and oftentimes agony of this thing called life?
Well, not to me. Not because I'm some super-genius-I-know-everything-about–life person, but because I believe the Person who wrote these facts down in black and white in the world's #1 best seller of all time. These aren't theories or debatable concepts, because what you are about to read are the simple truths from the Author of truth. They are the warning lights on the dashboard of existence ... they are the warning labels on the bottle of reality. Read carefully, and you might find the real secret to a meaningful life:
The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? (Jeremiah 17:9)
"Beware! Don't be greedy for what you don't have. Real life is not measured by how much we own." (Luke 12:15)
"Everything is meaningless," says the Teacher, "completely meaningless!"
Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content. (Ecclesiastes 1:2,8)
Don't be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. (Galatians 6:7-8)
The Bible paints a not-so-subtle picture of life in real and raw terms. The true portrait of existence reveals the wickedness of human nature, the meaninglessness and emptiness of our day to day struggles, and the inevitable consequences when we choose the wrong path. This is what oftentimes drives even the best and the brightest to depression, drugs, and even death. The wicked heart tells the hopeless soul that life will always be meaningless, so why not just live to satisfy our sinful nature?
But there is another way. A way that I wish for Britney and Lindsay and Barry and Owen and Heath and millions of others who feel trapped in a speeding train headed down a dark tunnel.
This way is not a way, it is the only way. Jesus said it Himself:
"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
(Jesus asked) - Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." (Matthew 11:28-30)
Only Jesus can reveal our wicked and deceptive hearts, give true meaning to life, and keep us off a destructive path. He died to set us free, but to get out of the prison of life we have to look out of our dark pit to see His face, then lift our hands of faith to Him so he can rescue us.
Regrettably, it is too late for many people to find these truths, but if you're reading this it is obviously not too late for you. Take your pain to Christ, put your trust in Him alone for salvation - and you'll find the life you were meant to live!
Head: God's word promises that the human heart is wicked and deceitful, that life is meaningless without Christ, and that we will reap the consequences of our evil actions. However, through a relationship with Jesus, we can be set free from all these conditions.
Heart: Feel incredible joy that the prison door of life has been opened and you can be set free to live the life God intended.
Hands: People do not end up in a depressive state overnight. They are deceived and discouraged time and time again until they turn the wrong direction. Take some time this week to look where you might be allowing deceit in your life, and take some radical steps to run the other way. Examples of deadly deception might be:
Pornography is harmless.
I can quit anytime.
Pre-marital sex is OK if you're in love.
I just have an addictive personality.
Hatred towards people is OK sometimes.
I don't listen to the words.
Lane Palmer is the Youth Ministries Specialist for Dare 2 Share Ministries in Arvada, Colo., where he works with to provide resources for youth leaders and students. Dare 2 Share exists to energize and equip teens to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information on Dare 2 Share Ministries or the GameDay youth conference tour, please visit www.dare2share.org. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.