A Full Life
We reflexively compare ourselves with others, especially our circumstances with that of others. Perhaps you would not equate yourself to Premier Wen Jiabao or entrepreneur Li Ka Shing, but would you compare yourself to friends you’ve grown up with, who have similar backgrounds and qualifications? Would you have a sour feeling inside because friends who previously had no desire for education and have lower intellect and ability than you now earn higher incomes, live in larger homes and drive in better cars? Would you feel self-pitiful and resigned especially if you’ve immigrated to Canada for many years and you life is still frequently stumbling on the edge of poverty?
“A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15) Jesus Christ reminds us here that the life of a person is not measured by the possession of a lot of material things. A full life is more important than living abundantly. Life refers to the spirit and eternal things – a question of the quality and quantity of life. Living refers to the flesh and temporary things – a question of the quality and quantity of living. If God permits us to be bountiful in our material living, we should be thankful. Even if our present living conditions are inferior to that of others, we should still be thankful. Because we have known God, and received the eternal life He has given, we should rest content and be joyful (Proverbs 19:23). The prophet Habakkuk saw the inequities of the world, a national calamity confronting him, and his people living in abject poverty. So he petitioned to God. In the end, he still trembled before God’s words and the nearness of His judgment. If we truly see the authenticity of God and the fact of the Lord’s imminent Coming, we would no longer mind the gains and losses of a temporary life.
“I have come that they (sheep, or man) may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ.” (Colossians 2:9-10) Jesus Christ tells us that the reason He came to earth was so that man would receive the life of God. If sinners turn to Him and admit and repent their sins, then God will give them eternal life. In fact the life of God is already a bountiful and glorious life. Nothing needs to be added to it, because the life of God is most holy, most perfect, most precious; all powerful, all abundant, and all sufficient. God places His perfect life into our temporary, soon-to-decay bodies, like treasures put into clay jars (2 Corinthians 4:7).
If we are unable to enjoy the bounty of this life, there may be two reasons: (1) We do not truly know Christ yet. “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3) Jesus Christ said to the disciples who had followed Him for 3 years but still didn’t know Him well: “If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him…Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." (John 14:7,9) Whether we can enjoy God’s abundant life bears a close relationship to whether we truly know Jesus Christ. (2) We submit to and appease our bodies more often, and less often to the indwelling Holy Spirit (the life of God), so that the life of God is constrained. Not only will we not enjoy the fullness of the life of God, others will also not see the fullness of the life of God in us.
Since God has chosen us and let us know the Lord who bestows life, our actions and behaviour should no longer follow the passions of the flesh, but defer to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. That way, the fruit of God’s abundant life will be manifested in our persons. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
By: Daniel To