Summary: What does it mean to live life "to the full", and how do we get there?
Dare To Live Again: “Up From the Grave – Lent 2003”
April 5/6, 2003
When was the last time you felt really alive? Like all your senses were on “high alert,” your energy up, enthusiasm radiant, you felt “on top of the world?” Can you even remember the last time you enjoyed life so much that you laughed till your stomach ached, or the last time the alarm went off in the morning and you smiled when you heard it because you just couldn’t wait to launch into another day?
Or do you more often feel like life is dull, dull, dull. Insignificant. Unexciting. You find yourself hanging a poster of Ecclesiastes 1:2 on your fridge door – “‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.’” Do you feel that life is drudgery, disappointment, and disillusionment. Nothing but routine.
I’m not talking about temperament here – we all know people who are just naturally “bubbly” and seem to be really “alive” all the time. That is often a function of temperament – I’m talking about more than that. I’m talking about how you feel about your life – does it feel full and meaningful and significant and alive, or does it feel empty?
I’m also not talking about what I call “beer commercial” living. You know what I mean – beautiful people, nothing wrong, happy happy happy, fun fun fun. That is not reality, it’s marketing. It is a deliberately false image carefully designed to sell a product.
I AM talking about how you fell about your life in those quiet moments of reflection – those moments, however brief, when someone who cares about you looks you in the eyes and says, “how are you really doing?”
Jesus is Alive!
Jesus said, in John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” By “the thief,” He means of course the devil. And He contrasts the devil’s desire – to steal and kill and destroy, meaning to rob us of life and joy and happiness – with His desire, which is to bring life “to the full.”
So it is clear to me from Scripture, both here and elsewhere, that God’s desire for us is to know a fullness in life here on earth. His desire is that we could in all honesty respond to that question, “how are you really doing?” across the coffee shop table by saying: “life is good. It isn’t easy, it isn’t uncomplicated, but at the root it is good.”
If that is not your response to my earlier question, it is possible that you have been robbed of the life and the joy that God desires. The thief has slipped into your life and stolen something that does not belong to him, and has replaced the true life that God desires for you with misery and disappointment and disillusionment.
Let me clarify once again: I’m not talking about an easy life devoid of difficulties or challenges. I’m not suggesting that Jesus is here promising a life of ease and luxury and without any pain. I’m talking about how you feel about your life one step deeper: in the midst of all that is “life” here on earth – which includes challenges and disappointments and sickness and loss – in the midst of all that, are you still truly alive?
Dare to Live Again:
As we walk through Lent, towards the Easter season, we’ve been focusing on what the fact that Jesus is Alive means to us and to how we live. The first week in lent we asked, “Will you dare to believe again?”, looking at Mary Magdalene’s response to meeting the resurrected Jesus. Next we asked, “Will you dare to receive again?”, considering Jesus’ appearance to His disciples the evening of the day He rose when He breathed on them and said, “receive the Holy Spirit.” Then we looked at being free again, talking about how Jesus rose from the dead so that we could be free of all kinds of sin and free to live in Christ. And last week we asked, “Will you dare to journey again?”, finding ourselves in the Emmaus road story in Luke 24.
There is a deliberate progression: it begins with belief. Believing brings the gift of the Holy Spirit. When the Spirit comes, there is freedom. When we are free, we can journey with Jesus again.
And that brings us to today: in the journey, Jesus’ desire is that we have “life to the full.” Will you dare to live again?
Would you turn to Romans 6 with me. I want to read vss. 1-14, which talk about the life we have in God because of what Jesus did on the cross.