Love of life. A picture of a woman in a field of flowers. The flowers in the photo indicate a kind of life, but there's another life, a spiritual life, that we can look forward to. Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

That “If we have a love of life and want to enjoy it, we should not say evil things or tell lies” (1 Peter 3:10). I believe that people who love life say God’s words because God’s words are eternal life. 

Now, it appears that loving life is wrong. Scripture says that “whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it” (Matthew 16:25). The Bible also says “anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25). 

So is there a contradiction in God’s word? How can a person love life and hate life simultaneously? Should a person love life sometimes and hate life at other times? Do we need to balance our love and hate for our lives? Should we have neutral feelings about life? 

The balance of the world

The world devalues the decisions we make. The world thinks there’s always a healthy balance of things. Oh, how the world loves to put things in a balance! Too much stress or anxiety, according to the world, is never a good sign of mental health. The world says, “Do not take life too seriously.” “Don’t fear rejection,” the world says. “Relax. You’re too hard on yourself. No one is judging you that seriously.” “Stop worrying so much about what you say,” the world says. What eternal damnation the world offers as rest! By relaxing standards and the seriousness of life, the world says we can enjoy life. 

But does not the Scripture say “be alert and of a sober mind so you may pray” (1 Peter 4:7). Pray for what? Christians pray “For everything with thanksgiving to let their requests known unto God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). Thus, for Christians, prayer and clear-mindedness lead to peace of mind. It is higher to think of “love life” here, to mean not only life in this world but eternal life.

How do I love life?

The question, “How do I love life?” is not a general question about temporal life. This question asks “do you love the possibility to live forever?” This is the question the world does not ask. The world does not want to ask this question. It only seeks peace, calmness, and enjoyment in this world. The world enjoys and loves and wants others to enjoy and love life temporarily. 

It is, however, higher to enjoy and love life that lasts forever. We are talking about two lives. One is temporal. The other is eternal. How better is it to enjoy eternal life? Loving life in the temporal sense requires us to rest our standards. A temporal love requires us to decrease our passion to balance ourselves out. How balance is not the key! An eternal love of life requires us to watch and be alert (1 Peter 5:8). It requires us to grow our passion so we are lopsidedly anxious about the fate of our soul. It requires us to do something—not speak evil or tell lies. An eternal love of life allows us to rest in someone else’s rest (a place of peace between humans and God). 

So we read that you are to “rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind so you may grow up in your salvation” (1 Peter 2:1-2). And we read that we are to “Take to heart all the words God has solemnly declared to us because they are not just idle words. They are your life. By them you will live long” (Deuteronomy 32:47).

Eternal Oriented

Therefore, for the eternal-oriented, God’s words become the sustainer of life. To love life eternally is to increase eternally. The eternal love of life is not like the temporal love of life, which is to decrease life. Such a decrease is the reduction of an eternal perspective. If people attempt to increase their love of life temporarily, they will become exhausted. However, when people’s love of life is eternal-oriented, they no longer perform for other people. They perform for God in a non-exhausting marathon (Isaiah 40:31). Does it not say that his “yoke is easy and his burden light” (Matthew 11:30)? One shouldn’t relax his or her performance for God. 

The Christian knows that to take life seriously and be anxious about his or her words is the only way to live. “Yes, I fear rejection,” the Christian says. “But I fear the rejection of not my peers but my eternal savior, Jesus Christ.” The Christian knows that the only way to enjoy and love life is to say that Jesus is Lord and Savior (Romans 10:10). Relax? “No. I can’t relax. I must stay alert for my salvation and say the words of Jesus Christ,” the Christian says. Christians know, as they stress about their salvation, they are not missing out on more important things. “A fulfilled life,” the Christian claims, “is an eternal life!” “I cannot rest with my knowing that I could burn in hell,” the Christian adds. “Salvation comes only by professing faith in Jesus Christ.” 

One should see his or her love of life as eternal. Consequently, when people see their love of life as eternal, they don’t relax but become vigilant in what they say and do. They take life more seriously. Therefore, to enjoy and love life eternally, one must take life serious enough to stress over what they say.