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“How do I waste my life?” said no one ever to cast a shadow on the earth. Every moment of life, in both the Christian and secular world, is meant for something. Every life, priceless. Every breath, precious.

Many ask, “How might I make every day count?” or ask, “What does a purposeful life look like?” How do we measure a purposeful life? Wealth? Influence? Friends? Family? Followers? Likes? Promotions? Education? Talent? All these are fleeting.

How, then, can I know that, long past my death, my life was worth something to someone? How can I know it wasn’t wasted?

In order to answer these questions, the last being the most critical, I’ve come up with a new question. This one question could change anything from your mood today to even your life going forward. In preparation to revealing this question we must understand what a wasted life looks like, the anatomy of it, if you will.

First, a wasted life consists of a lack of purpose. I’m not talking about those things you thank God for every day; it has to be something deeper. It has to be something you wake up longing for, something you would gladly die for. Psalm 73:26 reveals God as our source of life-giving purpose: “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” This is purpose.

Webster’s dictionary defines purpose as “The reason for which something exists”.  Why do you exist? What is your purpose? If observing a wasted life, you would find zero purpose, zero passion.

Second, the anatomy of a wasted life would be nothing without secret sin; those hidden hooks in your life. Is it gossip? Addiction? Lying? What is your secret, relentless disobedience to God Almighty? Should you let them become a foothold, your life will surely contain not only wasted time but wasted potential as well.

Ephesians 4 instructs us not to give the Devil such a foothold. Secret sin is the breeding ground for a Christian pitfall in the sense that you yourself will be a pitfall to other believers. Absent confession time equals a wasted life.

Next, the wasted life lacks entirely in servitude and sacrifice. One who bears the weight of living a wasted life lives only for themselves.

Oh what joy, what purpose we feel as we serve others! To lay down your pride, pick up the cross and die for those around you – it’s not always death in the physical sense. On the contrary, it’s often a death to your social status, your bank account, your personal time or even your health. When we find value in life outside of us, we find a purpose worth living for.

Lastly, the wasted life must retain bitterness. True forgiveness is a far off idea to the wasted-lifer. Total absorption of maltreatment is expected. Nothing ever releases from the pain, and nothing ever enters the heart again. Once wrong has been done, the one who lives a wasted life must hold on forever. But to seek forgiveness… this is where we meet at the foot of the cross. There, and only there, do we find wasted lives turned into whole, purposeful life!

What is the illustrious question? Put simply, plainly, and reflectively… Are you wasting your life?