Wednesday, May 02, 2012

We Have Been Promised Life

A truth that is essential for us to remember is life has meaning.  It is difficult to remember this reality because the world elevates certain skills, careers, and achievements as important leaving most of us wallowing in a sense of meaningless.  We will spend our day living our lives through the achievements of others as we try to grab bits of meaning that we can.  I would bet that you have been in that place, just as I have, where you ask the question: Why am I here?

It is my belief that each and everyone of us has a purpose for our lives.  This purpose is discovered in the context of the great purpose God created humans to enjoy: to be stewards of His creation.  It is connected with the commission Jesus gave His followers: to go and make disciples.  It will flow out of our identity since it is linked to our passions, talents, and resources.  Make no mistake about it you and I have a purpose for our lives.

The apostle Paul understood that there was a purpose for his life.  This purpose is what drove Paul.  It was the reason that he endured hardships and faced persecution.  The purpose that Paul lived was to take the Good News of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles.  This is what Paul told the elders of Ephesus:
But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God (Acts 20:24; NLT).

Paul derived his sense of purpose and meaning from the call Jesus had placed on his life.  This calling caused Paul to see himself as both God’s servant and Christ’s apostle.  Those are the titles Paul used when he wrote a letter of encouragement and instruction to his student Titus.  This is what Paul writes:
This letter is from Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I have been sent to proclaim faith to those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives. This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began. And now at just the right time he has revealed this message, which we announce to everyone. It is by the command of God our Savior that I have been entrusted with this work for him. 
I am writing to Titus, my true son in the faith that we share. 
May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior give you grace and peace (Titus 1:1-4; NLT).

Being a slave and an apostle Paul saw that his job was to help Christians to mature in their faith, to instruct them on what it means to live a righteous life, and to remind them of promise of God—eternal life. Before the world began God promised that those who follow Jesus will have eternal life. What a wonderful truth to remember: God has promised us life!  Not just existence, but life, eternal life.  This reality should fill us with hope.

Remember God has promised us eternal life and not eternal existence. Eternal existence does not inspire hope. We sometimes confuse the two, but existing isn't the same thing as living.  Why would we want an eternal existence of sickness, hardship, bills, confusion, fighting, and a host of other problems that crowd our days?  We wouldn’t.  Eternal life is much more than just passing the time from one day to the next.  To fill us with hope eternal life has to be more than just existing in time and space. We need to find hope in the promise of eternal life.

We don’t have a description of eternal life in this paragraph for Paul's letter to Titus, but Paul does say that eternal life is a promise from God.  A promise is only as good as the integrity of the person making the promise.  Why can we trust this promise?  We trust God's promise because He has provided evidence of this promise.  The message of eternal life, Paul says, had been entrusted to him.  This message Paul proclaimed centered on God’s grace as found in Christ Jesus.  Remember God's promise to Israel was that He would send a Messiah and that Messiah would set them free.  Thousands of years past between God’s initial promise and the coming of Jesus, but in His timing God did exactly what He promised He would do.  Jesus is the evidence we need so we can know that God will keep His promise of eternal life.

It is important for us to reflect on the promise of God and the life of Jesus.  The difficulties of life, even the mundane routine of life, have a way of robbing us of the hope of eternal life.  We can wonder: “Where is this eternal life?  If I am a new creation, why do I still feel like the old creation?”  Reflecting on God, His Word, His Son, and His promise will reorient our lives and fill our hearts with hope.  We need hearts full of hope if we are going to survive this life of existence with our faith intact.

Point to Ponder: Jesus is the evidence we need so we can know that God will keep His promise of eternal life.
Passage to Remember: Titus 1:1-4
Prayer to Pray: Father in Heaven, help me not to surrender to the despair of daily existence, but fill my heart with hope as I am reminded of Your great promise of eternal life found in Your Son Jesus.

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