What is the Way to Real Life?: renunciation and realization with Jesus Christ

Celtic Cross

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.
Show me the wonders of your great love,
you who save by your right hand
those who take refuge in you from their foes. (Psalm 17:6-7)

Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:37-39)

To take refuge in God through Jesus Christ is to forsake all other “lives” so that we might truly live in Him. The things and people we associated with those other “lives” are radically revalued in light of absolute allegiance to Christ as well as the absolutely more true love found in God through Him.

We find that all other lives were not really life as be behold the glory of the Lord and step forward to follow Jesus. “The old has gone and the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17) “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3).

In our daily lives, we begin the day—and continue through the day—with renunciation and realization. By faith we renounce our selves as king and realize that God is King. We renounce our will for the day—whether good or evil—and realize God’s will for the day, which is supreme. We renounce our approach to others—whether well-intentioned or wrong-intentioned—so that we might hear and follow (realize) God’s approach to others. We die to ourselves, our possessions, our relations, our dreams—whether we evaluate them as good or bad in light of God’s revealed truth—that we might live to God in Jesus Christ. We live toward His ideal life for our, our relationships, our possessions, our dreams, not our own.

First the cross, then the crown. First renunciation, then realization. This pattern defines our living minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years. Any other way is not the Jesus way and, therefore, is not life. But here, in this way of the Cross, we will find what Jesus promised: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

||40days|| week six: live

The||40days|| journey of Lent has taken us along the road of acknowledging difficult things in our lives, turning from them, listening to God’s voice, and then following Jesus, our Leader. This week, we continue the journey with a focus around the theme: ‘live.’

At times, it might be easy to mistake the journey of these ||40days|| as only difficult or painful. We might be tempted to view confession, repentance, and sorrow as ends in themselves. But that is not Jesus’ way. Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost in order to bring us back into life with God. We hear Him say these very powerful words:

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10, NIV)

Following Christ moves us through self-denial into deep and true life.Read More »

The Pursuit of Happiness?…or the Good Life?

“What ever happened to the pursuit of happiness?” asks a recent Starbucks ad for the mint mocha frappuccino.

Not too long ago, I was out of town with my family, visiting some extended family. They live in a small town that has been overtaken by big city dwellers seeking a personal pleasure island. After seeing what was going on there, my answer to Starbucks is that the pursuit of happiness is alive and well, not to mention as misdirected and pointless as ever.

I couldn’t help but think about the American Dream of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I thought of the tendency to satisfy our longings with things like money, sex, and power. I thought of our endless banal hunger that is at its core an all-consuming egoism.

God, set me free, please, from this dead-end of unhappy ‘happiness’.

What is ‘happiness’ anyway? It would be good to either redefine it, recapture its meaning, or cast it off altogether for something better.

‘Abundant life’ might be the better thing. Maybe ‘the good life’ is even more true for our ears today. “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full,” Jesus said (John 10:10). That’s what I’m after.

So, Jesus, lead me in the way eternal by stripping my soul of its false pursuits in Your life. Search through my inner thoughts, memories, and motivations to bring pure and right ways. You are the gate I want to enter through. You are the good shepherd I want to hear, know, and follow.