Life is important so we throw a party to celebrate an anniversary. Life is important so we attend the wedding of a close friend, and smile as she receives the kiss from her new husband. Life is important so we spend hours making ourselves beautiful for prom. Life is important so we do a victory dance when Peyton Manning leads the Denver Broncos to a historic comeback win. I hope you see my point. There is meaning in our everyday lives.
The problem is too often we make life about these exciting and special moments. We let ourselves believe that the good life is found in these events.
I want to tell you life cannot be found there. The special and exciting moments are unable to sustain happiness and joy. They are also unable to infuse our lives with purpose, meaning, and love. The good life cannot be discovered in moving from one event to another.
These moments are what I would call “life enhancers.” They have the ability to help us forget the tragedies and struggles of life for awhile, but they can’t satisfy the deepest needs of our hearts. Using these “life enhancers” as the route to a meaningful life is impossible. It is like to trying to eat chocolate cream pie as the way to have good health. It can’t be done. It may be enjoyable for a time, but sooner or later it will make us sick.
Jesus said; “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep” (John 10:10-11; NLT). Jesus makes the claim in this passage that he has come to give us a good life. He is able to do that because he is the Good Shepherd.
A shepherd guides the sheep to where the sheep need to be, he protects the sheep in time of trouble, and he provides what the sheep need for life. Jesus does all these things through his life, his death, his resurrection, and the gift of his Spirit. We need to trust Jesus for life, a life that he described as “rich and satisfying”.
What does this require of us?
- It requires that we stop trying to find life in the world. If we think the good life is found in what the world values then we will not see Jesus as the Good Shepherd but as the Great Obstacle. Because of the love he demonstrated for us on the cross we have to trust that he has our best interests at heart.
- It requires that we have to surrender our lives to him. Total surrender is more that just going through the religious rituals of confession, baptism, and church attendance. It is giving ourselves over to God’s will and power so He can re-create us into the image His Son.
Holiness, which is the life Jesus promised us, is not found in avoiding those “life enhancers.” Rather holiness is found in trusting Jesus to provide us with abundant life, and in the process we discover that the “life enhancers” we enjoy are even sweeter than what we remember.
Questions to Consider:
- What makes life sweet for you?
- Have you ever been disappointed with the life enhancers of life?
- How has Jesus infused your life with meaning, purpose, and joy?