Friday, November 27, 2009

I Came That They Might Have Life

And Have It To The Full.

These are are the Bible words of John Chapter 10, verse 10. He spoke this particular thought in the midst of his dissertation on being the Good Shepherd. Although the entire discourse of Chapter 10 in John's Gospel is significant, this particular clause has caught my attention lately.

It strikes me as a curious statement. If Jesus came that they/we might have life, then he means that they/we did not have life before. I believe that He means that we were alive physically, but not spiritually, in essence, since we were clearly physically alive at the time of his speaking to our ancestors. As a Christian, I can resonate with that part of it. Yeah, He brought us New Life in Him. Yeehaw! Now we're cooking with natural gas. If He ends the statement there, we are home free, and everything stays as it is, except we give our lives to Jesus. We are saved, and life goes on because we now have it.

But, He adds "And have it to the full." Look around you people. Do you see a lot of Full Life going on. Nope, me either. But, Jesus Said. Well, what did he say, really?

He said we MIGHT have life, no guarantees that we WILL have life. In fact, this is totally consistent with the concept of Free Will, where we have a say in whether we have Life or not. Choose Life, choose death. Your choice.

Jesus also instructed his disciples in Matthew 10:7 to go out and preach: "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." Well, if the kingdom of heaven is at hand, it is really close, but not in hand, meaning that you have to reach out for it.

So, if we Might have Full Life, and if the Kingdom of Heaven is real close, why are we living like this is untrue? Having lived my life like what Jesus said is untrue, even after I knew that it was true, I can tell you that it is hard to see around the blinders and through the curtains of the deception that we have all been taught in our lives. As for me, I take full responsibility for my inaction towards God in my life. I have seen enough of my sinful tendencies, as I yearned for something more.

I spent years as a project manager, eventually getting a Masters Certificate in Project Management from a programme at York University. One thing that I learned that stuck with me in that programme was important to me in the rest of my life. If a certain series of actions produce a particular result that you do not like, there is no way that repeating the exact same series of actions will produce a different result, one that you will like. Systems happen to be perfect that way.

I understand that to apply to how we live our lives. Most of my life, I have chosen to "do it my way". Frank Sinatra was a prophet. So, when Jesus says I "might have life", He was correct in my case. I might have life, but I was too intent on listening to Sinatra, so I didn't have life, at least not the life that He said I Might have. I am firmly of the belief that without Jesus in our lives there is no way that we can have the Life that he has in store for us, where the kingdom at hand, becomes the kingdom in hand.

But, once committed to Jesus, how do I get to have life to the Full? There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus saving actions of dying on the cross and then being resurrected was in itself sufficient to destroy sin and death. What is less certain is our ability to walk in that redemption. So, as Jesus also said in John Chapter 14:
16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
So, that is why I supported my friends these last few weeks as they led a Life in the Spirit seminar in Ridgetown. The problem with most people who are committed to Christ, is that they are not committed to the Counselor that He gave us when he returned to heaven. That Counselor is the Holy Spirit.

If I were rewriting John 10:10 to get the full meaning from it (for me), it would read like this: "I came that you might believe in me and what I have done and have eternal life here on earth, and if you seek and listen to the Holy Spirit, you will have that life to the full."

Of course, Jesus could not really tell them about the Holy Spirit at that time, they wouldn't have gotten it, so to put that in his Good Shepherd speech would have been contextually inappropriate, and confusing. If you read on from that passage you can see that the people were confused by what he told them in the instance, and adding more would have been TMI (too much information) to the max.

We are called to put it together, though, to use our brains to think, to use our hearts to love and hope, and to use our feet and voices to do his bidding in our lives, and in the lives of those we choose to love.

I urge you to let the Holy Spirit be your guide on a journey to Jesus Christ,

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