It might surprise some Millennials to hear that one of our generational battle cries is fairly old school.

The popular acronym YOLO (you only live once) has captured the hearts of many an emerging hedonist (and not the Christian kind). It wrests the minds of thousands with the tyranny of the urgent, motivating a kind of desperate restlessness to squeeze the last drop of pleasure out of these quickly fading days. YOLO is imprisoning a generation with a familiar lie exposed by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:32: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”

But YOLO is a mask worn by an ancient despot. Who doesn’t remember his previous disguises? He has had other aliases. You may remember him as carpe diem, or more recently, “the bucket list.” He has gone incarnate in figures like Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray or Robin Williams’s portrayal of professor John Keating in Dead Poets Society. He ensnares would-be servants of the true King by holding out fleeting satisfaction and vaporous rewards.

How should Christians respond to these lures? As adopted heirs to the throne over all creation, we can laugh in the face of such puny promises. How silly it must seem to be offered the thimble-sized cup of three score and ten years for worldly delights compared with oceans of full-joy pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11).

Learning from the Devil’s Playbook

So that we are not deceived, let us examine together our captor’s strategy. What makes the YOLO mantra such a trap? How does it make us slaves?

When we believe that the only pleasures available to us are those we can wring from the fabric of our short lives, time becomes our greatest enemy. As the ranks of each passing year close in on our fragile village of pleasure seeking, a chaotic frenzy erupts in our hearts and minds. Regret and gloom drive the captives mad:

“I can’t believe I’ll never get to see Italy!”

“What if I never find a husband or have children?”

These are the kinds of melodies that earworm their way into prisoners of the bucket list. They haunt casualties of carpe diem captivity.

On the Third Day

Without a distinctively Christian hope, we are doomed to suffer under this maniacal monarch in one form or another. But as Christians, we believe in a glorious resurrection! Secured by our elder brother, who settled the question once and for all that we don’t only live once, Christians hope to follow our trailblazer into an eternal inheritance.

Just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:27–28)

The hope of all those eagerly waiting for Christ’s second coming is to be saved from the great judgment that evaluates what we did with the time we were given.

For those who are saved from this judgment, we will receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken (Hebrews 12:28), and a city that is to come (Hebrews 13:14). But what kind of lives does this hope produce? Quite contrary to bucket-list victims, it produces lives that, like our Savior, go outside the camp (Hebrews 13:13).

Brothers and sisters in Christ, you have been set free from the slavery that panics to hoard all of the honors and riches of this world, thinking that in them you have eternal life and legacy. You cannot keep them anyway (Matthew 6:19). You are free to spend all of your strength and wealth and time to point others to a joy richer and more lasting than anything YOLO can offer.

Give What You Cannot Keep

To riff on Jim Elliot’s famous phrase, he is a fool who keeps what he can give, and loses what he cannot earn.

YOLO offers the false promise of “eternal life” by acquiring stuff now. It says, “If somehow I can acquire enough social media followers, photos at historic monuments, or accolades at the workplace, I can achieve a sort of immortality.” Only the fool thinks he can earn eternal life by holding onto things.

“He is a fool who keeps what he can give, and loses what he cannot earn.”

The deeper problem is that eternal life is never gained by our efforts. Your legacy will not save you on the Judgment Day. Instead, Christians are set loose to give freely because we have been given everything. Eternal life is a gift from the Resurrected One, and so all our dying (giving) in this life is empowered by the Spirit of the Crucified One.

We spend our lives as resurrection-seed, knowing that no bucket list will ever compare to the glorious New Creation waiting for us on the other side of the resurrection from the dead.


Full author ryan shelton

Ryan Shelton (@SheltonRyan) is a graduate of the Worship Pastor Concentration M.Div. at Bethlehem College & Seminary. He lives in the Chicagoland North Shore where he serves as the worship director of Winnetka Bible Church.

Reference:You Only Live Once? Get Free from the Tyranny of YOLO www.desiringgod.org/articles Source: desiringGod.org


Reformed Theology and the Mission of God in the 21st Century is the theme of the World Reformed Fellowship 4th General Assembly meeting in Sao Paulo, Brazil March 23-27, 2015.

Plenary speakers, gospel preachers, worship leaders, workshop teachers, and discussion facilitators will be gathering from around the world for this 5-day global conference being sponsored by MacKenzie University and the Presbyterian Church of Brazil. Church leaders will be focusing on “Critical Issues Facing the Global Church.” Countries represented include Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nepal, Northern Ireland, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, Uganda, USA, etc.

Plenary speakers include (in order):

  • Sam Logan: World Reformed Fellowship International Director
  • Luder Whitlock: History of World Reformed Fellowship 1
  • Paul Gilchrist: History of World Reformed Fellowship 2
  • Christopher Wright: The Langham Partnership
  • Doug Birdsall: The Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization
  • Thomas Schirrmacher: The World Evangelical Alliance
  • Ligon Duncan: The Gospel Coalition
  • David Baer: The Overseas Council
  • Christine Schirrmacher: The Challenge of Islam 1
  • Stephen Tong: The Challenge of Islam 2
  • Diane Langberg: The Abuse of Women
  • Jim Gamble: The Trafficking of Humans
  • Boz Tchividjian: The Sexual Abuse of Children in Religious Environments
  • Phil Monroe: Ministering to Victims of Sexual Trauma
  • Flip Buys: The Prosperity Gospel
  • Sheryl Haw: The Biblical Response to the Poor
  • Steve Childers: The Vision for Global Church Planting

Live Streaming and Recording

Although registration is closed, Mackenzie University will arrange for live Internet streaming of all Assembly plenary sessions (with the possible exception of Dr. Christine Schirrmacher’s presentation on Islam). Mackenzie University will also record (audio only) all plenary sessions.

Frame Book Cover Volume 2Good news! Dr. John M. Frame’s Selected Shorter Writings, Volume 2 (P&R) has just been released.

Dr. Frame has distinguished himself as a prolific author and one of America’s foremost theologians and philosophers—significantly shaping the thought of Evangelicalism today. Many of today’s most influential Christian leaders and authors, like Tim Keller and John Piper, readily acknowledge the significant impact John Frame has had on them. He is also a dear friend and colleague who has significantly shaped my theology, life, and ministry for many years.

Although widely known and deeply respected in church leadership and academic circles for decades, his works are now, finally, becoming more known to the general public.

After publishing his massive (1276 pages), award-winning Systematic Theology in November 2013 he began following the tradition of John Calvin (Tracts and Treatises),[1] Jonathan Edwards (Miscellanies),[2] B. B. Warfield (Selected Shorter Writings),[3] and Herman Bavinck (Selected Shorter Works),[4] finishing his writing career by publishing “everything he’s always wanted to write but hasn’t” in his Selected Shorter Writings.

Frame’s Selected Shorter Writings Volume 1 was published in March 2014. The second volume was published this month by P & R Publishing. This volume (384 pages) contains 26 short, pointed essays summarizing some of Frame’s central (and a few peripheral) ideas about Scripture, theological education, theological method, apologetics, ethics, and the church, along with some essays regarding some interesting personal reflections. Frame’s Selected Shorter Writings, Volume 2, begins with:

“Inerrancy: A Place to Live,” one of Frame’s shortest and clearest presentations of this aspect of the doctrine of Scripture. This essay is complemented later in the book by

“Let God Be True: Scripture and Certainty.” Other essays include

“Why Theology Needs Philosophy,” (presaging Frame’s epic History of Western Philosophy and Theology),

“The Academic Captivity of Theology,” (Frame’s highly controversial evaluation of the traditional model of seminary training for pastors),

“The Demise of Systematic Theology,”

“The Heart of the Atonement,”

“The Bible on the Problem of Evil,”


“Two Levels of Divine Blessing,”

“What Denomination Should I Join?,”

“Worship That Pleases God,”

“My Exceptions to the Westminster Standards,” and (just for fun)

“Triperspectival Dieting,” and much more.

As in his first volume, in volume 2 you’ll find a wide array of important topics written in Frame’s inimitable style of clarity and robust charity. You’ll learn new ways to apply the Scriptures to real life and ministry (“Theology is application!”). And along the way you’ll be inspired and challenged as you mine the riches of these winsome and provocative essays.

If you’re interested in learning more about the life, theology, and ministry of John Frame, I’ve written these 4 brief blog posts I hope you’ll find helpful:

Coming Soon: The 100 Books That Have Most Influenced John Frame’s Thought by Frame and Childers

[1] John Calvin and Henry Beveridge, Tracts and Treatises of John Calvin (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2004).

[2] Jonathan Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 13, The Miscellanies: A–500, ed. Thomas A. Schafer (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1994); vol. 18, The Miscellanies: 501–832, ed. Ava Chamberlain (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000); vol. 20, The Miscellanies: 833–1152, ed. Amy Plantinga Pauw (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002); vol. 23, The Miscellanies: 1153–1360, ed. Douglas A. Sweeney (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2004).

[3] Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield, Selected Shorter Writings, ed. John Meeter (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2001).

[4] Herman Bavinck, Selected Shorter Works (Portland, OR: Monergism Books, 2011).