Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What Is "Living" Anyway?

Something I've wrestled with in my life, particularly the past few months, is trying to understand what the purpose is behind all this "life" stuff. Some people have extravagant lives and others of us have had to work incredibly hard just to be able to look in the mirror and claim, "normal."

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I got to thinking about this lately, and realized that the definitions of "normal" and "living" I sometimes find myself reverting back to are outdated. In fact, they're plain wrong, says God. While the world wants to tell me I should be investing my energy and resources into traveling, having fun, being young, and a whole host of other, activities, God offers an alternative for this life. In order to find true happiness, joy, contentment, and satisfaction - "living life" to the fullest - God says we must suffer. Actually, he says we must die (Luke 9:23-24).

I love God and I greatly admire Jesus, but I'm a mortal man and have no possible ability to do what He did on the cross. So why should I have to suffer or die?

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Before I answer that, I want to elaborate on the reasons why I don't think I should have to. It's not fair. Why me? Why can't I just have a little bit of difficulty in life and then be done with it? I don't deserve this pain. If I was "normal," I would be able to love God even more, and love people even better. Are you seeing the trend here?

These are all lies that Satan wants me to believe to turn me back into rebellion against God through the temptation and appeal of counterfeit gods. He wants me to think that I'm not deserving of death, that God is being unfair, and that what I really need is just a good vacation in the Bahamas for a week.

The truth, however, is that I am deserving of death. That I desperately need God. And that what I really need is to die so that Christ can be alive in me. All of those voices in my head are simply trying to drown out the voice of Truth which says that the only way to real life is through death.

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So as I contemplate this while letting my mind wander back to my life and my problems, my perspective is shifting. I'm starting to see the things I thought I wanted, or if I'm being honest I thought I needed, in a different light. I don't need them. I need Him. All the time, I'm in desperate need of God's grace to run and direct my life because I'm not able. And the more broken I become, the more He causes me to become aware of my inability, the more I realize I need Him and the more I seek Him.

And so the pattern of "real life" begins here. I start the journey to my grave a wretched man. Yet through the death and life of Christ, I am resurrected into His glory, receiving the new life He gives - life to the fullest (John 10:10). The death I die daily through my suffering allows God to show His strength in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Whatever trials or challenges you may be enduring, I pray that by God's generous grace you will discover this mystery as I have and experience the joy of Christ in your life.


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