What is life all about?
Jesus said that He came to give us an abundant or fulfilling life (see John 10:10). He is implying that there are other kinds of life we can live. Maybe we could describe one as an average life. Or maybe a boring life or a miserable life. The list can go on and on but my goal is to imagine what the abundant life is all about. Jesus’ promise to give us an abundant life is really quite amazing!
Jesus also said that the thief is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (see John 10:10). The devil will steal and kill and destroy a person unless that person finds refuge in walking with the Lord Jesus. However, only being protected is like playing baseball and getting only to first base; just hiding away in the strong fortress of God’s protection is a limited life. It is safe but it sounds limited and probably lacks luster.
At age 30, Jesus is called into His messianic ministry and His life becomes very busy and exciting. The challenges of having followers, dealing with Jewish leaders who quickly begin to hate Him, healing the sick, casting out devils and many other issues kept Him busy. So the question remains, “what did Jesus define what an abundant life to be?”. Jesus certainly did not live a boring life!
In His teachings, He shares about having a meaningful, purposeful, joyful, and eternal life (see John 11:25). We also have the Apostle Paul adding to the concept in Ephesian 3:20: “Jesus is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, and He does it by His power, a power that is at work within us if we belong to Him.”
Jesus came to give us His Spirit, a holy Spirit. A Spirit that gives life. A Spirit that gives us a holy or whole or complete life. This includes a spiritual life. A fulfilling life must have this spiritual component to be complete or balanced.
This balance keeps in check our human tendency to be greedy and lustful for material things. Basic materials things are needed for our survival such as food, coverings, and shelter. Jesus even taught us in Matthew 6:25-32 that we should not worry about what we will eat or wear. He mentions here that we should seek the values of the Kingdom of God and God’s righteousness. I would simply define righteousness as “doing the right thing.” Seeking after material things in life is not enough to have a fulfilling life. Our hearts need more than these things.
Our perspective on life needs to change from only being material. A true abundant life consists of an abundance of love, joy, peace, and the other fruits of the Spirit. It contains an eternal mindset and therefore our interest is in the eternal and not just the temporal.
What do we hope for in this life? Does buying an expensive luxury item really give us lasting joy? We need to ask ourselves how we can grow spiritually and find what Jesus is promising.
If we look back to the writings of Peter in 1 Peter 2, we see that fulfillment comes from coming to Jesus (our Living Stone) and being connected to Him and His people (other living stones). We are called to be a community that serves Him by offering spiritual sacrifices, not physical ones. Sacrifices were offered to gods in the house of the gods, typically. Now the house of God is a house of living stones, or people. A flesh and blood house.
If we receive this identity as living stones, we can find a deep fulfilling life. People need the basic material things of life and also a community and a calling to be balanced. Those aspects of a fulfilling life are a part of following Jesus as a living stone.
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