The souls of men naturally seek something which will bring rest and peace of mind, something that will satisfy and delight them. There are two ways that men go about trying to get what they are looking for. Some set before themselves a certain aim. Some seek pleasure and others profit. In religion, acceptance with God is sought. Others seek some purpose in life, but without any certainty of finding it. They try one path, then another, and though weary with seeking and never finding, yet they refuse to give up. In whatever condition you may be, either in greediness, chasing after some futile secular or religious aim, or wandering about in your foolish imaginations, succeeding only in driving yourself to despair, compare what you are aiming at, or what you are doing, with what you have already heard of Jesus Christ. If what you are seeking is like Christ or equal to him, then reject Christ as one who has nothing desirable in him. But if you find that all your life is full of foolishness and troubles compared to Christ, why do you spend your ‘money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which does not satisfy?’
Now a word to you that are young, who are full of health and strength and who are chasing after some beloved ambition or some beloved pleasure. Stop and consider. What are all your beloveds compared to Christ the true beloved? What satisfaction and happiness have your beloveds brought you? Show us the peace, quiteness and assurance of everlasting blessedness that they have brought you. Their paths are crooked. Whoever walks in them shall not know peace. So look and see that there is a fit object for you highest love, one in whom you may find rest to your soul, one in whom you will find nothing to grieve and trouble you to eternity…Why do you spend your time in idleness and foolishness, wasting your precious time? Why associate with those who scoff at religion and the things of God? You only do this because you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ. When he reveals himself to you and tells you he is Jesus the Son of God whom you have slighted and refused, how it will break your hearts and fill you with sorrow and remorse because you have neglected him. If you never come to know, then it would have been better if you had never been born. ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.’
John Owen, Communion with God, Banner of Truth Trust, p. 51-52.