UCAN sharing: Keeping the spark
Scripture: 1 Cor. 15:50-58
10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. Jn. 10:10
Man’s life can be said to be made up of a series of experiences that maybe good and maybe not. As a person grows they naturally seek out to live in the good moments. We labor continuously consciously or not to find the things that bring us to life’s highs. These experiences are just momentary and pass quickly in to time so that we are left hungering for more. As a result we pursue the next high and the next high connecting them in a chain like manner that becomes our lives. Each moment whether it be a beautiful sunset or a delicious meal, an intimate time with a love one, a championship game all end and pass away but they are the motivation for why we live. These moments come and go but for our souls this is not satisfying to accept this truth so we devote ourselves to trying to maintain the feeling of the experience. Solomon understood this when he expressed that all we do here on earth is meaningless because all we do is trying to keep something alive that will most certainly fade away (Ecc 1:1-11). In God’s kingdom this doesn’t happen because God is not governed by time and as His children we may draw closer to him and believe in Him we can be change so that we live in the eternal.
When we think about experiences that have left us feeling wonderful we want to relive these experiences over and over again in the hope that the same feelings will be stirred up. Often though when we go back to a past experience, be it a person or place or event, we find that the experience isn’t the same. The emotional high we got the first time has faded or is absent and we are left flat and with a powerful longing for that high. This has a strong influence on how we behave and who we are. Consider a person who has a pleasant experience and then it ends. It can be something simple like going to a movie or enjoying a nice dinner but the event ends and with it so does the feed to our emotions. The person longs to remain in the state where the feelings were so good so they try to relive the moment but the experience has changed. This change motivates us to strive to grab and maintain what can’t be kept. It all becomes an endless search for consistent fulfillment that never comes.
All this is a result of man’s finiteness. This simply means we are limited in all we do. Man whether we acknowledge it or not lives for a short time and then we are gone. Because of this reality we long to maximize our time. Despite the fact that everything starts and ends we long to find continuity, meaning we want to live the happy life all the time. Consider the motivation for why people pursue and desire behaviors that use alcohol, drugs and uncommitted sex. In these behaviors there is stimulation that can substitute for something meaningful. Marketing firms know this and try to exploit our need by offering instant gratification through their products. If a person’s life is empty and the reality of it passing by is ever present then the frustration to have a meaningful life leads man to use momentary experiences to fill the emptiness. It is like a person who longs to fly but can’t so they settle for jumping on a trampoline instead. They are not flying but they can convince themselves it is good. Christians do this when we are not intimate with the Lord. Instead of God we exchange activities like attending church, ministry, worship, prayer and other good deeds that can’t fulfill like being in God’s presence.
This is man’s condition without God. We are constantly pursuing things that quickly fade away. Stop and consider some of the things you enjoy most. Don’t they begin with expectation and then doing it till an end is reached? We are constantly chasing after the next experience to satisfy our soul’s need for being yet we never get it. It is just a moment and then it is gone. Many a person has come to understand this and has decided that this life is not worth living because there is no purpose and there is no true arrival.
God defines life completely different from what we think life is. Since the life he sees is so different He had to make a way for us to receive it. It is alien to us because we are finite but God is not. In comes a hope for what man has always wanted but could never have, eternal life. It was once believed that there was a fountain of life that if a person drank from it they would live forever. There is a story that Ponce De Leon, a Spanish explorer arrived at what is now Florida looking for that fountain of youth. Whether the story is true we don’t know but it shows man’s desires to live and not die. God offers us the way. 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. Jn 11:25
Jesus’ death and resurrection made it possible for man to once again relate to God intimately. Jesus’ reconciliation work on the cross took away sin which was a barrier to our relationship with God. Now with sin pay for by Christ man can choose to enter in to a relationship with God that is personal. God states that when we receive Jesus as Lord and Savior that the Holy Spirit comes and lives in us (Jn. 14:6, Rom. 5:5, 2Cor 1:21-22, 2 Tim. 1:14). It is this empowerment that enables a corrupt man to radically change life and be born again. A truly Spirit filled and led person has the power to overcome the sin that binds them because Jesus has already done it. The person is now able to draw near to God and this leads man to walk with God.
God desires that man be with him where he is (Jn 14:3) so because man is finite and fallen God provided Jesus to make a way for man to be changed. All true believers will one day live forever in God’s presence in a new kingdom where there is no sin, death or any of things that lowers us here but also there will be no time. We will live forever and the bible emphasizes this gift over and over again. Eternity is the gift that God gives man (Rom. 6:23b). But it is not just living forever that God offers. It is having the opportunity to know and be with God forever. This is the true meaning of eternal life. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. Jn 17:3
We know that everything that God says will happen. Our hope then is the eternal life offered by God. It becomes an escape from our futile existence here. This hope is based on God’s love as shown through Christ Jesus. God the Father so strongly wants us to be with Him that he gave (Jn. 3:16). When we discard the faulty love of this world and embrace the unconditional love of God we begin to draw nearer and nearer to eternity and we have the Holy Spirit to lead us now to the Son who leads us to the Father. We can begin to experience the love that will carry us in to eternity. In this way we no longer need to chase experience after experience. We don’t have to buy in to the lies that say that what harms us is good. We can taste and see that the Living God who is life is the best and we can choose the best. This is total transformation of mindset. If we live for here we will pursue the things here but if we live for God we will live forever in true life. There can be no middle ground for it doesn’t exist. Daily we must choose whom we live for and this in turn determines how we will spend eternity.
Stop and think about the passions you have in your life. Why do you do what you do? Is it to get a momentary high that feels good or have you offered your life to God and as act of love you serve Him which means he decides what you do? Which is it going to be? Any time you want you can stop trying to keep the spark alive and just constantly live in Christ.