A New Way of Life
Why do you think Jesus came to earth?
I ask people this question and here are the usual responses I often get:
-To Seek and save the Lost
-To reveal God to us
- To defeat demonic spirits of this world
- To die for our sins
These are good answers, and in certain ways they are correct, but none of them are the reason that Jesus himself gives in the Scriptures. You might have missed it, because its just at the tale end of a verse right in the middle of John’s Gospel, but Jesus says very clearly: “I came that you might have life and life abundantly.” (John 10:10b)
And in Luke 4:43, Jesus says, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”
In other words, Jesus came to usher in a new Kingdom, he came to reveal to us a different way of living in this world.
All of this got me to thinking, and I do my best thinking when I express my ideas through pictures. So, here are two pictures to consider:
As I consider the way I currently live, and the way that many of us currently live, I think of picture #1. We have this tendency to want to grasp on tightly to everything in our lives. We desperately try to hold on to our possessions and our rights and our ideas and we get angry or defensive when something or someone threatens any of this. And when we try to cling tightly to any of these things, there are almost always huge systemic problems as a result.
The economic collapse that took place in this country ten years ago was the result of a few powerful people clinging tightly to their blessings. And the splits that have taken place throughout the history of Christianity, are the result of people clinging tightly to their understanding of Christian Truth. Notice how the sand in picture #1 is falling out the bottom of the hand. If you’ve ever tried to hold a handful of sand like this you know that clinging tightly to it will always result in loss. In the same way, when we try and cling tightly to the blessings God has given us, something falls away; something is lost.
I think that Jesus wants to lead us into a way of life that looks more like picture #2. I'm convinced that Jesus’ desires for us to see our possessions, ideas, and rights, as blessings from God, rather than as the things that define our life. We are called to hold these blessings lightly, with open palms, and to have faith in the promise that we are defined by God's love for us. It’s clear that this is the life Jesus modeled. He loosely held all of His blessings, He gave generously when there was need, and He willingly gave up His very life, for God’s purpose and our sake. He gave up His life so that we might know God's love and discover a new way of life through Him.
May we learn to follow Jesus into a new way of life-- a life where we hold our blessings loosely and give freely to others. Amen.