LIVING A FULL LIFE IN A WORLD ON EMPTY
Many of us crave the full life, the abundant life that Jesus offers in John 10:10. He says that it is one of the reasons he has come. If we were to list the reasons that Jesus came to earth, we might include:
- He became flesh to show us what God is like
- He walked the earth to teach us about what God expects
- He appeared to fulfill prophecy
- He intersected history to bring the New Covenant
- He fulfilled his role in order to take the punishment for the world’s sin
- He was born to offer salvation
- He lived to conquer death
- His original plan was to offer us everlasting life
- He became human to ensure that we could be in heaven with him one day.
- He was a citizen of earth so he could train the apostles to start the powerful, ever-expanding church.
But we need to add one more bullet point — he came that we would have abundant life. Not problem-free, perfect and easy life, but life to the fullest..
This verse stops me in my tracks. I am convicted and intrigued. Have I fully embraced this offer? Am I missing out? Am I, in essence, throwing a precious gift back in Jesus’s face?
Yes, there are costs and sacrifices associated with following Christ. Putting Christ first, denying self, putting to death anything that stands in opposition to our new life in Christ, submission, carrying our cross, responding to God’s call no matter the difficulty, and opening ourselves up to ridicule and persecution. And we would be wise to weigh those costs carefully before committing our lives to Christ.
But there are also amazing benefits that come with a life in Christ. Meaning. No fear of death. Security. Purpose. Community. Grace. Supernatural gifts and strengthening. The armor of God. The army of God. Eternal perspective. A peace that passes all understanding. A high priest that can sympathize with our weakness. A way to finally assuage a guilty conscience. A release from the constant state of stress that we are not enough or we haven’t done enough. A permanent resident-counselor that is as close as our heartbeat. A remedy for every soul-sickness. An eraser for every unsatisfied or discontented thought. Plus peace, hope, rest, freedom and much, much more.
Why would I not want to live in the very center of all of these benefits? That is fullness! This rediscovery of fullness is a cycle. For example, if we work on our family, friendships, and faith, it can lead us back to original and complete fullness that Jesus offers to us through His life. But likewise, as we intentionally place ourselves in the center of that original and completed fullness found in Christ, we will see the positive consequence of that fullness flow over into every area of our lives.
For me, one of the biggest drains on fullness is discontentment. When I find myself continually dissatisfied with life — my Christ-redeemed and faith-filled life — then I need to spring into action. Although discontentment seems like a “lesser-sin” — it seems dwarfed by the larger sins of murder, blasphemy, adultery, etc.– keep on alert!. Because in its own sneaky, stealthy and subtle way, it can drain the fullness we originally find in Christ. And discontentment brings with it a lie — that God never brought fullness to begin with.
My prayers for us this week is first, that we stop and think about the full life that God came to bring to us. Secondly, that we would evaluate whether we are fully accepting that gift and living in the middle of it. And the third is this; that we would also discover any threats or drains to this lovely life-giving gift. How can we encourage each other to live a life of fullness?!?