The Accidental Life
Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities . . . as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 2 Peter 1:12-14
When our lives fell apart due to my addiction, I had to go to my wife who was blindsided. For some reason, I felt it was important to make her understand that I never planned to divert opioids, lose my job, and ruin our lives. I never intended for all those horrible things to happen. It was accidental. Looking back, I realized that though I never intentionally set out to act so badly, neither did I purposefully choose a different path. I simply followed my appetite and let nature take its course.
In recovery, I’ve had to learn to live, not accidentally, but purposefully. If I want my life to be in a certain place tomorrow, then I must make plans to get there today. Once, I just thought that I’d get sober someday. I thought I’d be a good husband, father, and Christian someday. But I didn’t do what it took to get there, and it didn’t naturally happen. Now, if I understand that if want to be those things tomorrow, I must choose to work on them today.
In today’s passage, Peter spoke of the purposeful life. In it, he explained that he didn’t have much time left on this Earth. So, he decided to use the days he had to build others up, encouraging them to seek faith, love, self-control, and godliness. Accepting that he was soon going to die, Peter didn’t just eat, drink, and be merry. He didn’t waste his life on fleeting self-gratification. Rather, he invested himself in the eternal, doing God’s will, and loving those around him. In doing so, he refused to waste his life. Peter chose a life that mattered.
What do we do that truly matters? Not all of us struggle with addiction, so living accidentally isn’t obviously self-destructive for everyone. Most of us though, don’t naturally live as God intended. Most of us simply live for ourselves, pursuing the short-term gratification found in money, entertainment, stuff, sex, or status. These things aren’t inherently bad, but they’re also not necessarily meaningful in an eternal sense.
We have a finite amount of time on this Earth. With that time, we can eat, drink, and be merry. Or we may spend our days becoming who God made us to be. We don’t get there by accident though. If we truly want our lives to matter, we must daily choose to live with purpose.