Many years ago, in a galaxy far far away, there was a television commercial promoting beer. The commercial featured several young people precariously perched on a catamaran sailing through the water. As spray hit the lens of the camera, a dramatic voice announced, “You only go around once! Reach for all the gusto you can get.” Then the ad encouraged the viewer to drink their beer.
The ad was brilliant and deceptive.
The ad was brilliant because it played on two truths that motivate every living human being.
1. We only have one life to live.
2. We want to live it with Gusto.
Both of those truths are proclaimed in scripture.
Hebrews 9:26 “Everyone has to die once.” MSG
John 10:10 I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. MSG
The ad was deceptive because it claimed that beer would maximize the gusto in life. The truth is, drinking beer won’t maximize life any more then eating watermelon. The mis-use of beer or watermelon can actually minimize life. (I will save “The Dangers of Watermelon Abuse” for another blog.)
The secret to living fully alive does not come from the consumption of any product. The secret to living “Fully Alive” comes as a result of living out three principles that lead to abundant life.
1. Live with Nothing to Prove.
We waste so much time in life trying to prove our worth with the things we own, the power we yield and the circle of influence we have that we forget all of that can be taken in an instant. None of it is a measure of worth. I spent much of my early life trying to validate my worth with misguided athletic endeavors (I have the hand eye coordination of a carp) and by selfishly motivated attempts to get people to like me.
I felt a surge of life when I finally started to believe that I was one of a kind, a rare work of art painted by the Creator of the universe. I was made in His image with colors and texture and purpose like no one else. Even more, my value was solidified when that Creator sacrificed His Son for me. I cannot be discounted. A rare painting sells for millions. A unique creation….. paid for by God’s Son….. Priceless!
He gave me worth. I have nothing to prove.
2. Live with Nothing to Hide.
I have never seen destruction like that which comes when we try to live two lives. When our energy, time and emotional effort are wasted keeping secret sins hidden from the people we love and the world we live in, everything eventually caves in. A glance at news coverage of the public exposure of political, business, and even religious leaders who have lived with something to hide, reveals a wide path of collateral devastation strewn along life’s path
When we clean out the garbage in our lives and live an open life designed to honor our Creator, it’s like a breath of fresh air. This is hard and painful work. I know. I have been there. But how invigorating it is to open the windows, pull up the shades, and live with nothing to hide.
3. Live with Nothing to Lose
Life was never meant to be a waiting room for death, nor a waiting room for eternal life. Eternal life starts the moment we began to trust Christ to lead us.
From that moment we can live with nothing to prove.
From that moment we are forgiven and given freedom to live with nothing to hide.
From that moment we are also given a hope that transcends death.
Paul said, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” NOTHING scared him. Paul was ready to suffer and die for his cause. He wanted to know Christ and the power of his resurrection. He knew that every situation, no matter how threatening or difficult, had an ultimate out come for good. He writes: “Friends, don’t get me wrong. By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”
We only have one life to live.
We were designed to live it with Gusto
Aim HIGH! ——— No! HIGHER!
Go For It!
To see my full presentation of these principles, check out my DVD, “Good News”, available here.
I have two copies of Fire up your life on my bookshelf. I love these ideas, and have been basically telling this message to jr. high and sr. high students for 20 years. Thank you Ken for your thoughts. They have shaped my life.
Thanks Mark, This has proven to be three of the most memorable principles I have taught. I am so glad they have been helpful to you too.
I think the most tragic example of living two lives I’ve seen (or lived) is when you have someone who lives as someone else and wears a mask (or many masks) for so long – they forget who they really are.
I have been there and done that. Not a fun place to be. Thank God for his grace.
Number 2 is so very important. It seems to take years to crawl out of fake. I refer to it as “transparent” living, and it is a freedom that doesn’t compare.
Amen to that Chris!
I have lived for 5 to 8 years with a rebellious/prodigal child. I say 8yrs, she says 5 yrs…just took 3 yrs to climb out of the 5 fake ones! But the difference now that she’s living open and honest with everyone is astounding! This is nothing short of a miracle. She said it was exhausting not knowing at times who knew what, and remembering how to act before which group of friends. She is sleeping the sleep of those with a clear conscience for the first time in YEARS!
You got that right!
I LOVE this Ken!
Living with nothing to prove – how much different would our world be if everyone lived this way?
And, I LOVE how you remind us that eternal life begins when we trust Jesus as Lord and Savior; it doesn’t begin when we die.
Thanks for the perspective!
I can truly identify with the secrets being nothing but pure torture.
Finding and living for Christ is the only way I can possibly experience
true happiness in this gift of life. Sharing and caring is a gift I cherish as I pass take my turn through this wonderful , amazing journey.
God Bless you and keep up your wonderful ministry.
You are so welcome.
My wife Cindy and I watched this video just the other day, now cindy can wrap it and give it back to me for a Christmas present.
I too not only lived at one time with beer style gusto, but, see many people still living with that kind of gusto.
I,however, learned that living with Christ filled gusto is not only easier on the pocket book but it’s also easier on the soul.
I learned that living with gusto for Christ is not hard on the body although you may get tired it is a good tired the kind where you can scream “Thank you Jesus for allowing me to help you.”
Living with gusto doesn’t mean waiting for God to call you to do “big showy” projects. Doing the little, hidden from man’s view, projects are also living with true gusto.
After all Matthew 25:40 states
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Hopefully this all makes sense, and I didn’t ramble too much.
What a great comment and so true. “Living with gusto doesn’t mean waiting for God to call you to do “big showy” projects. Doing the little, hidden from man’s view, projects are also living with true gusto.” Friend you don’t ramble as much as you think you do. You make a lot of sense. AND you inspire me.
Why does my husband always make the same comment before me?
Thanks for this great reminder, Ken, that authenticity honors God, attracts others and spares the energy and effort of tracking alternate identities! You’ve encouraged me today!
Is this the Meagan Gillan from Denver YFC?
Such great thoughts in this post Ken.
“A rare painting sells for millions. A unique creation….. paid for by God’s Son….. Priceless!
He gave me worth. I have nothing to prove.”
This has been the prevailing theme that I’ve been focusing on the past few years in my life. When we start living it out, it changes everything in our lives! Thanks for putting it into words for the rest of us.
Oh, but I still do have something to prove when it comes to competing with you. 😉
Krissy, Yes you do! Bring it on! Thank you so much for your comment and for reading my blog.
Excellent word for actually living! Unfortunately we spend too much time worrying about what others think when God’s determination of our motives is all that counts. And when I realize that I couldn’t live-up He sent Jesus Christ to the rescue!
Jesus to the rescue! I love that.
Sadly, all too often we care more about what our friends and neighbours think of us than what God is thinking of us.
Living up to the expectations of our world leaves us so far short of what we are really capable of.
thank you for your comment
Like Abraham, I’m looking for a city that hath foundation, whose Builder and Maker is God. What a day that will be when we see Jesus. That gives me enough gusto to wake up every morning with a song in my heart and joy in my soul. Jesus is alive and He is real and He is coming back for His children. What an awesome God we serve. Thank you Ken for your wonderful Christian testimony and I love your humor, that’s what keeps us going as Christians, to be able to laugh and enjoy fellowship with God’s family.
You are welcome Joyce. Sorry it took me awhile to respond to your comment. I have been out of Cyber contact for some time.
As a practising Buddhist I was googling simple principals/rules for a simpler (happy) life and your blog just met the bill “Nothing to prove, nothing to hide, nothing to lose” love it.