DONT LIVE A SUBTRACTED LIFE
Significantly Jesus announced Himself as ‘Life to the Full.’ He distinguished Himself from those who offered limited life or death disguised as life with the words, ‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full’ John 10.10 NIV.
LIFE TO THE FULL is the life Paul lived for; the life that Paul described as ‘Christ our life.’ Jesus was not offering an empowered version of the law, moral agenda or a religion. He offers Himself as our life for the present and eternally.
I have never been a wine-bibber. And I don’t think those who enjoy a tipple are bad people. Many people resort to alcohol to smooth the jaggedness of life. At times the alcohol ends up eating them. But what most who rely on such things are looking for, I believe, is relief from emotional pain and the elixir of life. We can find relief from emotional pain and real life in Jesus Christ.
ESSENCE OF LIFE
The ‘marrow of life,’ the essence of what life really is – is the holy grail for the Believer and the non-Believer. That’s what people are looking for. Jesus named it the ‘treasure in the field’.*
The cross is the Door to life without limit. Jesus is the life without limit. New covenant living is the treasure in the field. It’s the new wineskin. It’s your unlimited life.
By new covenant life we mean union with God and union with ourselves. We have been made to live in God and now we are. Set free from separation, from defining life by rules and let off the treadmill of a perpetual contract in which we think to earn intimacy and credit with God - we now live in God and God lives in us. We live with God and are in joy with ourselves.
There is enormous satisfaction in being yourself** when the self that you are is who Jesus means you to be and who you desire to be because this is the new and living way of you becoming your real self – His life as your life.
I read a very moving anecdote recently. I man saw Jesus during an operation. Jesus said to him, ‘What have you done?’ The man began to recite his professional achievements and successes. Jesus laughed and said, ‘No, not that. How have you been doing at becoming you?’
That’s were life is. It’s love and comes from God’s love of us. He wants you to be you for your sake and in doing so it brings joy to Him. It also multiplies His Kingdom of Life.
INTO YOUR GLORY
Despite the ups and downs in what seems to be our ‘progress’ our real advance is in our state of being – in our ability to be ourselves and grace other people. Probably the most powerful form of loving is our willingness to let other’s be themselves and celebrate their humanity in the gift of themselves. We need discernment to separate sin from people striving to realise their heart. This is one of the main functions of personal prophecy – but it does not need to be formalised as a ‘gift.’ It works best as simple friendship.
Attached to the law and religion anyone can persuade themselves that they are full of grace and truth. We might claim to be non-sectarian. Nevertheless we strain out of our lives perspectives that would mean the off-loading of beliefs we think define us. We can actually cull people out of our fellowship if we think that fellowship and its essential beliefs are threatened. Sadly we can do this when the ideas that threaten us are the truth.
PURE IN HEART
Nathanial was not one of these. He followed truth and life with unremitting loyalty and was known as a person who had no guile. No double motives. There are rewards for those who have one master instead of two. This reward is that they see God, know Him, His ways and know themselves. There’s a reason why some have discernment and some have none and this is it: Purity of heart.
There are ‘gospels’ that are simply less than Christ’s Gospel and gospels that are more akin to a cult so gnostic are they in their orientation. We were never meant to live in the law either before the fall or after it had been undone by the cross. Our call is to live in God: Where He has put us. Reject law-based religion. It’s a lie and it kills life. The proof of this is what it did to Jesus and what it does to you as long as you remain contained in its stocks. Law kills many and resurrects none.
The illusion that we can be full of grace and truth when attached to the law is always an illusion. Our imprisonment in the compartments of the mind may be papered over. But it is this kind of captivity that Jesus lives to set us free from. He lives to release us from –religion and Christianity. He is here to include us in Himself.
LIFE is a myth apart from Him. Only in Him can we flourish as who we are. Thus He is called the ‘law of the Spirit of Life.’ The law in the new testament age is both a person and our interwoveness in the trinity. It’s the life and oneness of the trinity multiplies in human beings.
My daughter frequently laughs and says, ‘I just love being me!’ Richard Rohr writes of this freedom to be – this privilege of celebrating ourselves without carnality and guile.
‘You are now a living paradox: at one and the same time utterly connected to everybody else in a compassionate and caring way, and absolutely free to be your own self. Your identity comes from within. You will want to love and serve others, but you do not use them or need them to define yourself either positively or negatively. This is surely "the freedom and glory of the children of God" (Romans 8: 21). Such people know how to love you very well, because they are out of the way.’
This is both a description and an invitation to press into Christ Himself as our life without limit.
* The parable of the Sower is about a field that ignores Christ’s way to life to stick with the way of Adam and Moses.
** In the law we are insulated from God and from our real self by religion. In the law we will attempt to micro-manage ourselves and micro-manage others. When this is our mode we are a pain to ourselves and an irritation work for as an administrator.