Jesus said “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
What is life? Do you get it? Is your life sometimes shambolic, messy, meaningless or lacking in direction, real joy and peace? Do you fear death? Do you wonder how your life measures up to the fullness Jesus talked about? It will take you about 4 minutes to read this page to find out what life is about and how you could have the most of what God offers in life.
The bible teaches that there are three essential parts to life.
1. Eternal life
2. Holiness (living by God’s law)
The first part of life is eternal life and this a free gift from God received by faith. God gives eternal life to all who believe in his Son, Jesus Christ.
Jesus was put to death on a cross to take the penalty God promised for breaking his law and rebelling against him. Without faith in Christ you cannot have eternal life, because the death penalty is either taken by you or by Jesus in your place.
Jesus said “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” John 3:36
The second part of life is obedience to God’s law. God knows best what people should and should not do and so the person who thinks about and delights in the law is blessed.
God’s law does two things. First, it teaches people what to do and what not to do. When people don’t obey God’s law the bible calls this sin. When you sin you must look back to Jesus on the cross as he died to take away the penalty for your sin. As you do this you will love Jesus more for what he did by dying for you and grow in your desire to stop sinning by obeying God’s law.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:1-3
The third part of life is wisdom. Wisdom is the God given ability to receive, discern and understand the structure, order and purpose of God’s world and to act appropriately in within it. Wise people are generally good at relationships, running businesses and gaining practical knowledge.
Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. Proverbs 3:13-14
God’s purpose for you is to make you a complete person. Complete in your faith in Christ, complete in your obedience to God and complete in your wisdom of how to live in God’s world. You may possess any combination of the three parts to life to varying degrees.
The life diagram above will help you to work out which parts of this life you possess at present and so what you need to do to have life to the full. Here are some explanations to the life diagram starting with the outer circles.
1. The immature Christian. You have eternal life by trusting in Christ but your life is a shambles and relationships are strained or difficult.
2. The legalist. You are very moral but do not know why Jesus had to die and you make people uncomfortable by your high standards.
3. The capable hedonist. You get on well in the world, you have lots of friends and do well at school or work, perhaps you run your own business. You blow out at weekends and perhaps don’t mind the idea of people taking drugs or having sex outside marriage.
Moving in to the overlapping sections of the diagram.
4. If you have faith in Christ and the keep the law but are not wise you are a fundamentalist. You do not relate well to people outside your church or Christian sub-culture. You don’t understand the way the world around you works and so appear weird to people you meet.
5. If you say you are a Christian and think deeply about the way the world works and relate well to people but are uncomfortable talking about the law, especially when it comes to sex, you are a liberal.
6. If you are the sort of person people want as their good neighbour. You are easy to get along with and someone who would never dream of doing anything to upset his neighbours. You have wisdom and morals but no faith in Christ and so no eternal life.
7. The centre of the diagram is the complete person. You have faith in Christ’s death for your sin. You are sorted with God and look forward to eternity with him. You know the law and seek to live it to the best of your ability. And you are soaked in God’s wisdom, so you relate well to everyone in the culture God has placed you in. You do well in the world of business, education or whatever you turn your hand to without compromising your faith or obedience. You are a complete person and a light for the goodness of God in Christ. You would make a good church leader.
If you do not think you fit anywhere on the diagram then the bible gives you a warning. God calls the person with no fear of God, no wisdom and no obedience to the law a fool, a dangerous nuisance to society.
To have life in all its fullness you need to move toward the centre of the diagram. No one alive will ever occupy the centre ground. Jesus is the only person who every lived who was perfectly obedient to God’s law and perfectly wise. People like me and you can only make it our goal to be more wise, more obedient and more filled with faith in the cross of Jesus. Then we will enjoy life in all its fullness as God meant us to.
I hope you made it to the end and that you think it was 4 minutes well spent. I hope above all that you will have life in all its fullness.
If you are left wondering what life is about, the simplest way I can explain the heart of faith is to repeat what a wise man once said: “Until sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet.”