Living the Life! A term that used to be very popular with such phrases as, ‘living the life of Riley’. Today it’s sort of morphed into, ‘living the dream’. It’s just the world’s imitation of real life in Christ Jesus.
We’ll look at that today!
Note from Kip…
I’ve got it made!
No I don’t have all my bills paid and their always seems to be more month than there is money. I have bumps in the road and challenges that have to be met on a daily basis.
However, none of that really says anything about ‘my life’. So much of the things that transpire over the course of a life is common to all. The odd things out really aren’t all that odd if you’re looking at the grander scheme of things. We need to consider just what our life’s ambition is and then work outwardly from that to address the common confusion that impacts everyone.
So just as a tree has a center and all of it’s growth is wrapped around that center year after year, so is our life.
For the follower of Christ Jesus this is an easy thing to get a fix on, I must be in Christ, and Him alone.
Identifying the Center
It isn’t all that difficult to identify what is the center of our lives. Whatever it is will find everything else orbiting around it in our thinking, in our planning, in our behavior.
It’s a natural thing that whatever it is that we focus on we become more and more bound to.
For many that are not bound to Jesus, that may be religion, family, friends, a job, or a leisure activity.
I want to make a clear distinction here. I intentionally singled out Jesus from being lumped in with religion here because there is a distinct difference between having a relationship with God (Jesus), and practicing a religion. Huge difference actually.
Religion at the Center
All the religions of the world are man’s attempt to seek out a greater deity, through A precieved practice. You do these things and that will happen. Put forth effort here and you might get there, where ever there is. The two things you’ll come to see with all religions:
- It is humanity attempting to seek god.
- It involves doing something to realize it.
The problem is that in all you do, you will fail to ‘find’ god.
With a religion as the center of one’s life then everything you do is predicated upon the pursuit of that which is required to ‘qualify’ you to have the opportunity to find that which you seek. Never mind that this is a falsehood, predicated on human engineering. If you’re going to pursue a religion, that is what you must do and no matter what you do, it will be in vain.
Other Things at the Center
The rest of the list that I put out, are also substitutes for what should be at the center.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying family, your job, and your pastimes are bad things, but they don’t belong at the very center of our lives. If they have become that center then we’ve moved them there not because they need to be in the center, but because that spot is missing what should be there, Christ Jesus!
If anything other than Jesus is at the very center of our lives then despite it being good in every way, it isn’t what belongs there, and in the long term can and will be destructive.
Moving to the Center
You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.
Psalms 16:11 (NLT)
If you really want to ‘live the dream’ there is a way. It’s putting Christ at the center of your life. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life“. It wasn’t flowery prose, it was Him pointing to where life really begins. It is where life began, in Him!
We talked briefly about religion and how having a religion at the center of our lives is different than having Jesus at the center. The point I made was the two principles of religion were us seeking god and doing something to achieve that.
What makes a relationship with Jesus different are these factors.
- It’s God seeking us. The tables are turned. He is pursuing us!
- There is no works we can do, no procedure or practice we can align with that will bring us to Jesus. He comes to us, when we invite Him into our lives and respond to His Love for us, by loving Him in return.
The result of placing Him at the center, is that we find life! We find the life we all seek.
You see how very different Jesus is from a religion? He is pursuing us. His Love and Grace is actively seeking us out, calling to us, to come to Him, because we don’t need to qualify to be His we just have to accept His gift of Grace.
For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.
Psalm 149:4 (NIV)
What About the Rest
The rest just falls in place with Christ at the center.
Family, Friends, our job, our leisure activities, every bit of it falls into a priority that is aligned by the center of our lives in Jesus. Our relationship with our spouse, our family, our friends all dramatically change in a positive way when we love them through the prism of Christ’s Love for us. This is because we are not only the receivers of this love, but we are the the transmitters of His love to others!
“You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden.
No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house.
In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14-16 (HCSB)
It starts at home, and flows out from there to our friends, our relatives, our work.
Indeed, we have all received grace after grace from His fullness, for the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
John 1:16-17 (HCSB)
When Christ is the focus of our lives there is no pursuit of god because God lives in us. And that is really what life is all about.
How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked or take the path of sinners or join a group of mockers!
Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night.
He is like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears its fruit in season, and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.
Psalms 1:1-3 (HCSB)
Life begins at the cross! Life begins with Jesus and living our lives through Him.