The “You only live once” or “YOLO” mentality is all about having an experience without thinking about consequences.
YOLO actually echoes something a little bit deeper in all of us: We all have a desire for our life to count. We want meaning for why we exist and struggle with the reality that the majority of life is ordinary, routine, and mundane.
“For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
‘Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.’”
- Ephesians 5:8-13
What we can accept from YOLO:
We can accept the call. The idea behind YOLO is “wake up.” YOLO and the Bible are both calling us to view the reality that we live in: that one day we will die. Our lives were given to us by God. How do we make them matter?
Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom -Psalm 90:12
What we reject from YOLO:
We need to reject the very premise that YOLO is built on: that you only live once. The reality of the Bible is that you actually live twice and that changes everything.
We have a whole new lens to look through and incredible clarity about what matters; We get to spend our days building the kingdom of God and working on the mission of God.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. - Romans 8:18
What we can redeem from YOLO:
We want to redeem the outcome. YOLO is all consuming. Christianity brings freedom from consumption.
In light of the gospel, and the fact that we have a new identity in Christ and an eternal perspective, the pressure is off. The Bible tells us that what is to come is better than anything we can experience here on Earth. We can remember that ordinary is not insignificant because Jesus is interacting in our lives and eternity awaits us.