Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Good Life

We all know there is importance to everyday life. One of the ways we know that life is important is because of the different emotions we feel as we experience different emotions. 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 have get together with our family to make memories. Life is important so we go to Kinnick Stadium to cheer on the Hawkeyes. I hope you see my point. There is meaning in our everyday lives.

The problem is that we make our lives these everyday events. It is through these events that we try to discover the “good life.” I want to tell you it is not possible. These things are ultimately unable to give us the purpose that we need, and in the end they themselves lose their meaning. The “good life” cannot be discovered in moving from one event to another.

These events are what I would call “life enhancers.” They have the ability to help us experience life to its fullest. Using these ‚ “life enhancers” as the route to a meaningful life is impossible. It is kin to trying to eat chocolate cream pie to good health. It can’t be done. It may be enjoyable for a time, but sooner or later it will make us sick.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:10-11; ESV)

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. The reason Jesus can offer us the “Good Life” is because He gave His life up for us. Jesus great love, demonstrated by His death and resurrection, proves His good intentions.

Looking at our lives we may wonder how we can get in on this “Good Life” Jesus promises to people. In this passage Jesus uses the illustration of a shepherd and his sheep. As I thought about that illustration I discovered two ways Jesus gives us the “Good Life”.

The first way is that Jesus guides us. Jesus leads us to green pastures and quiet waters, in short He provides for our needs. Following Jesus is more than trusting God to meet our needs. Following Jesus means to participate with Him in ministry. We will discover the good life, not only when we trust God with our entire lives, but also when we do the work Jesus has led us to do.

The second way Jesus provides the “Good Life” is that he puts us in a protective pen. A shepherd puts his sheep in a pen to protect them from predators and thieves. Jesus gives us his commands to protect us for the pit falls and dangers of life. We want to see Jesus’ commands as restrictive, preventing us from having the “Good life”, but the truth is the opposite is true. God’s commands are not restricting. They are freeing. They are designed go help us live life to the very best. Jesus wants us to have a full life, and His teachings protect us from the mistakes that keep our lives from being good. When we disobey God, we miss out on the full life He wants to give us.

My challenge to you is this: Find the “Good Life” by following Jesus’ lead and remaining in the protective care of His commands. Trusting Jesus makes the “life enhancers” even sweeter.

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