The voice of our culture, world, and heart is this: “Life can be found in you.”
Life can be found in a new car. Life can be found in a promising career. Life can be found in a beautiful family. Life can be found in the gift of many friends. Life can be found in free time. Life can be found in partying. Life can be found if I just reach this goal. Life can be found in another drink. Life can be found in Netflix. Life can be found…fill in the blank that your heart runs to most.
This is the hamster wheel of the world. Running on this lie, “I can find life here”. Making no progress and expending all energy, we run and run in order to find life around us. Not only is this for those who have nothing to do with Jesus. This is for those within the Church. Those who attend a service every Sunday. Who say all the right things and know all the right answers. We all are prone to wander and we all have little dalliances with the world that we are drawn to. We hop onto the hamster wheel with the best of them. Consider that Jesus did not say these words to a big crowd but to his twelve disciples. His closest friends and most devoted followers. Their Savior knew their proclivities for searching life in the here and now. John, His beloved disciple, wrote of Jesus:
“All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.”John 1:3-4
As many times as it has been said we must keep saying it because we are a forgetful people. Life is found in Jesus. Meaning that all breath, vibrancy, youthfulness, energy, adventure, joy…all existence is found in Him. Not outside of Him or inside ourselves but in Christ alone. Solus Christus. Christ alone. Your head is nodding in agreement. But let’s all take a step back. Are we functioning like this? How are we walking according to this truth? Are we in step with the gospel? Is the cadence of your life right now one that reflects how Jesus himself walked?
If this is true, that all life is found in Someone other than ourselves or those around us, then we must reckon with what this imposes upon our lives. We must let the truth bear heavy on us first before we try and convince others of it. I need this word just as much as the person next to me. I am tempted to cling to this world as if it is life. Today there will be many opportunities presented to me that will tempt me to compromise. What this world offers is not strength but weakness. Every indulgence weakens the strength of our grip that holds onto Life.
Holding onto this promise of our Lord means letting go of much. Find your life here—enjoying as much as you can that it puts before you— and you will face inevitable loss. Lose your life— placing all hope for your whole self upon the whole Christ— and you will face inevitable gain.
It is a truth we hear often. My fear is that we will read and agree without transformation. This is the primary way for us to continue on a lifeless path and join in with the rest of the world on the wearisome hamster wheel.
Perhaps, we should start small and begin with these questions.
Where am I searching for life in this world today? Where do I need the grace of God to lead me back to the cross and renew my desire to walk in step with Christ? Answer the first question and you essentially answer both.
When we stray from Life we are miserable. The glorious truth is that the grace of our Lord stays with us in our straying. There is no path we can take where His grace cannot find us again. No winding road Christ cannot straighten. Yet, it is the little foxes that ruin a vineyard (Song of Solomon 2:15) and it is most likely the little voices— cleverly promising life to you— that are hindering your communion with God. Jesus said that His sheep will hear His voice and follow Him. Are you following His call to life?
Lord, help us to see that all Life is found in you. Give us the grace to fight against unruly desires that lead us astray. Give us faith that goes beyond the sinful feelings and proposals we encounter. Give us more of Christ, who is our life. Help us see the joy of surrender again. The joy of living a life of cruciform. The world tells us this is the pathway to boredom and sorrow. Let Your word be the loudest word in our hearts. Let Your truth be proven to us over and over again. Convince us of Your surpassing beauty. Convince your people of the Life found in You, once more. Let us start today in the place You have shown us. We hold onto Your hand of grace that leads us back to You every time. We praise You for Your faithfulness when we are faithless. We praise You for a love that leads us away from the anxious ways of this world and into the peace of Christ.