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Y.O.L.O. - So Do It Right

A column by Ben Cathey, pastor of The Orchard Church in Loganville, Ga.

I just got back from summer vacation. Every beach store has one T-shirt in common. “Y.O.L.O.” was emblazoned on the front in all kinds of colors, cuts, and varieties. I’ve heard the term Y.O.L.O. (You Only Live Once) bounced around every now and then, but didn’t think much of it. However, a few walks down the beach help you reflect on things a little. The term beckons followers to shun risk and discretion in order to live in the moment. Just go with it. You only get one shot. You only have one life to live. Enjoy it while you can. Y.O.L.O. Could that phrase be applied to a life of following Jesus?

The term appears to have originated from a song called “Motto.” In the song the rappers say all kinds of nasty things about sexual adventures, being better than everyone else, and using drugs. They use the N-word and the F-word a lot and refer to women with the B-word. They come up with funky insider names for themselves and use lots of esoteric insider terms that forty-year-old guys have to look up at www.urbandictionary.com. I didn’t bother. I’m sure the song is supposed to have some sort of redeeming message that is lost on judgmental, narrow-minded, conservative types like me. I missed it. I’m still not sure what the song is about except that it's the root of Y.O.L.O. O.K., this article is not about the song; it’s about something else. The term is so true. We do only live once! Unless, of course, we hold to beliefs in reincarnation, but even then we can’t really remember our previous lives or plan for the future ones, so this life is the only one we can have confidence in. Back on subject. Back on subject!

Y.O.L.O. is profoundly and fundamentally true. We do only live once. The spirit of Y.O.L.O., aside from the nasty lyrics of the song mentioned above, is pretty innocent and can be used as a positive inspiration in our lives. It’s a decree to seize the moment, demanding that it not pass without living it fully. Life can be so full, and happy, and free. I believe that a loving God created life and that when God did create life, God made life to be absolutely amazing and wonderful. God made life to be full of laughter, love, creativity, valor, falling in love, purpose, hope, sexuality, honor, excitement, contentment, and satisfaction. The list of good things God imagines for us could go on and on. When we step away from God’s way, we tend to mess life up. Jesus said that He came to give life and to give it fully, to the full, or abundantly; depending on which version of the Bible you read.

So I do say Y.O.L.O., but I say Y.O.L.O. as an inspiration to trust God with my life. Y.O.L.O. can be an invitation to seize God's destiny and moment for each day. Why not bet on the Creator of the universe instead of rappers who just want to use you to make more money and attract more groupies. Risk your life L’Wayne and Drake’s way and you are almost guaranteed to end up as less of a person than when you started. Some would even call it wasting a life instead of living a life. It’s funny that they begin the song with, “I’m a (insert non-creative adjective here) man!” Do real men need to announce their manhood in vulgar ways? Instead of announcing your manhood (or womanhood), risk your life God’s way, announce your alligience with the Creator, and get ready for the ride of your life. End the journey as a better, bigger person than when you started. Let year after year of integrity, love, service, blessing, generosity, and kindness build upon themselves and see what kind of fruit you harvest from the seeds you have sown. Future generations will be encouraged, blessed, and inspired by your gamble. Your life won't be just about you; it will be about everyone. Embrace everybody. Love the wife of your youth. Do honest work. Don’t be a glutton. Be faithful. Pray. Practice patience, generosity, and kindness. Care. Shun selfishness, jealousy, unhealthy pride, and addiction to anything. Accept God’s grace. Find forgiveness. Love God. Love your neighbor.

Y.O.L.O. You have one life to live. Do it right! Do it well. Live once. Live well! Invest your life . . . God's way. Be a person who shines with the wonder of a life gambled on what is good, right, holy, honorable, and respectable. Above all, give God the glory. God gave you this life, and God won't steer you the wrong way.

Y.O.L.O., L'Wayne. Y.O.L.O., Drake. Y.O.L.O., everybody.

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