– For Christians and Non-Christians –
Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper
The Bible says, “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). I have written this book to help you taste those words as sweet instead of bitter or boring.
You are in one of two groups: Either you are a Christian, or God is now calling you to be one. You would not have picked up this book if God were not at work in your life.
If you are a Christian, you are not your own. Christ has bought you at the price of his own death. You now belong doubly to God: He made you, and he bought you. That means your life is not your own. It is God’s. Therefore, the Bible says, “Glorify God in your body.” God made you for this. He bought you for this. This is the meaning of your life.
If you are not yet a Christian, that is what Jesus Christ offers: doubly belonging to God, and being able to do what you were made for. That may not sound exciting. Glorifying God may mean nothing to you. That’s why I tell my story in the first two chapters, called “Created for Joy.” It was not always plain to me that pursuing God’s glory would be virtually the same as pursuing my joy. Now I see that millions of people waste their lives because they think these paths are two and not one.
There is a warning. The path of God-exalting joy will cost you your life. Jesus said, “Whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” In other words, it is better to lose your life than to waste it. If you live gladly to make others glad in God, your life will be hard, your risks will be high, and your joy will be full. This is not a book about how to avoid a wounded life, but how to avoid a wasted life. Some of you will die in the service of Christ. That will not be a tragedy. Treasuring life above Christ is a tragedy.
Please know that I am praying for you, whether you are a student dreaming something radical for your life, or whether you are retired and hoping not to waste the final years. If you wonder what I am praying, read Chapter 10. That is my prayer.
For now, I thank God for you. My joy grows with every soul that seeks the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Remember, you have one life. That’s all. You were made for God. Don’t waste it.
March 31, 2003