Friday, April 23, 2010

Sweeting Life

We all know that 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 spend hours making ourselves beautiful for prom. Life is important so we jump up and down when Paul Pierce hits a last second shot to beat the Miami Heat in the playoffs.  I hope you see my point.  There  is meaning in our everyday lives.
The problem is that we these special moments the central part of what our lives are about.  We tell ourselves that  is through these events that we are able to live the “good life.”  I want to tell you it is not possible.  These things are ultimately unable to give us the sustained joy, peace, and purpose our lives are to have, and in the end they themselves lose their meaning.  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 kin to trying to eat chocolate cream pie 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 Him 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 see Jesus not 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.

Which leads to the second requirement, we have to surrender our lives to Him.  Total surrender is more that just going through a religious ritual 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.

We don’t need to go to the extremes of isolating ourselves from the world, but we need to put the “life enhancers” in their place. Instead of trying to find the “good life” in the important and special moments of life turn to Jesus, who is your true life, so those special “life enhancers” can sweeten that life just a little.

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