Summary: Paul offers us an answer to this question by his approach to the law.
Living Life to the Fullest
* In December 2007, the Gallup organization took a survey which revealed 8 in 10 Americans were (are) satisfied with their lives. In fact, almost 6 of 10 are “very satisfied” with their lives. Reading these numbers causes a person to ask this, “What exactly brings Americans personal satisfaction?”
* This question takes on new meaning when considering what the Gallup group discovered in the weeks following 9/11. During this period of time, the number of people who would use “satisfied” to describe their lives dropped to less than 3 in 10. I don’t know what this says to you, but for me it is a eye-opening reminder of how, generally speaking, Americans tend to evaluate their life based on materialistic things. And when confronted with their mortality, all of a sudden, life is viewed differently.
* It would be difficult to believe that there is anyone in this room who desires to life a “so-so” life. Most, if not all, desire to live life to the fullest. We want meaning, purpose, and impact. We want to leave our mark on this world. The question is, “How can we do it?”
* Last Monday evening, Bro. Kevin Hamm reminded us that we only have ONE life. In her 1975 song entitled “We have this moment today”, Gloria Gaither penned these words, “We have this moment to hold in our hands and to touch, as it slips through our fingers like sands.” If we only have one life, if there is only one opportunity, and if we are to live our lives to the fullest, “HOW DO WE GO ABOUT IT?”
* It is obvious from the Gallup report that most Americans have defined the “American Dream” as was done after WWII, “to settle down, get a job, and get married, a car, and a house.” Now, I’m not suggesting that anything is wrong with these goals, if these goals are placed in proper perspective. However, if we build our lives on this definition of the American Dream, when faced with the mortality of our existence may well find ourselves among the 70% who, all of a sudden, are dissatisfied with their lives. Most of us, in recent years, do not know what it is to have our lives and our lifestyles tested. An untested life is an undeveloped life.
* We have already read the first 6 verse in Romans 7 which, I believe, give us a picture of the process it takes for us to live life to the fullest. Admittedly, this does not jump out at us on a cursory reading but if we will learn this process and then personally apply it we may discover our lives taking on passion, purpose, and meaning like we have not known.
Living Life to the Fullest – Pg 2
* Don’t forget that Paul was trained as a Pharisee, so he tried to help us live under “GRACE” and no longer “LAW.” To do this, He tells us to;
1. Be Reminded about the Law. First, we must understand the law. Verse 7:1 intimates that only a person who understands the law will grasp this teaching. Think with me about the Law. I read somewhere that in the Old Testament alone there were recorded over 600 laws, precepts, and . But think specifically about what we call the Law of Moses or better said, the 10 Commandments. We find it full of (in the KJV) “thou shalt nots.” God gave us this Decalogue for the purposes of understanding right and wrong. To find and live life to fullest we must come to grips with the law. Think about what this does;
a. It Controls Us. Now look at the rest of verse 1, “the law has authority (dominion, jurisdiction, power, or lord) over someone as long as he lives?” This thought continues in verse 5, “When we were in the flesh.” Another translation says, “Living in the flesh” while another say this, “When we were controlled by the sinful nature.” When we live “under” the law, it controls us. How so? Today, you will leave this building driving your automobile. How fast will you drive going home? Well, you have that choice to make, but if you exceed the law, chances are, one of our finest will pull you over and give you a ticket for breaking the law. Traffic law controls our speed (but it is also designed for your safety-hold that thought). Now Paul raises the bar by using marriage as an example. Understand, Paul is not giving a new teaching on marriage at this point; rather he is using what his readers who understood the law already knew about marriage. Marriage, as designed by God, is still “till death do us part.” The ability of one marriage partner to arbitrarily “take off” and have someone else is against divine law. Remember, he is not teaching about marriage and divorce he is saying that the law controls our action.