Discover the Life You Were Meant to Live!
Have you ever looked around at your life and wondered, “Is this all there is?” Most of us look for fulfillment in life in so many ways.
Sometimes we look for fulfillment in RELATIONSHIPS. For many of us, that means love and acceptance. Who doesn’t want to be loved unconditionally? Unfortunately, too many times, friendships are plagued by disappointments and hurt. Or even worse, we may feel we have no meaningful or healthy relationships and we live life feeling alone in the midst of a crowded world.
Sometimes we look for fulfillment in SUCCESS. We have different ways of describing it. Maybe it’s climbing the corporate ladder or at least being recognized and rewarded for good work. Maybe it’s counted by the amount of money we make or the car or house we own. Success in and of itself is not so bad – but for a lot of people, even when they get to a particular stage of recognition, they find that something still isn’t quite right.
Sometimes we look for fulfillment in PLEASURE. We look to thrills and fun and hobbies as a way to satisfy our desire to experience fun and joy in life. Perhaps we’re looking for something that will make us feel better – more alive, more rested, or more at peace. And yet, many times, the thrill-seeking leads to more thrill-seeking. The in between times can feel empty and anxious.
As good as all of those things may be, they can leave us DISORIENTED to the life we were meant to live. In and of themselves, they’re not all that bad. Yet somehow, they can leave us just short of a life of significance. There’s a real reason for this.
Most often, in all these pathways to a fulfilling life we’ve talked about so far, we’re trying to find fulfillment on the “outside” of who we are: trying to present an image to the rest of the world so we can be loved and accepted, trying to find fulfillment in material things, looking for the next pay raise or the next promotion or the next thrill ride.
But let’s peel back the layers of our life for a moment and talk about who we really are. Of course, life happens in the real world. Your job and relationships and your finances are all a big part of living, but let’s leave that world behind for a moment and dig a little deeper.
At the real center of who we are is our soul. That’s the real person. It’s the only thing we take with us into eternity. The beginning of our story as humans is that God shaped us from the dust of the earth. Then, Scripture says that He breathed life into us and we became a living soul. That’s some powerful imagery! God’s breath – in us – making us alive.
This is so important to grasp here: You were created by God, even made to breathe by God. He designed you, He shaped you. And just like your body needs the air you breath to live – so your very life was made to depend on the breath that God breathes into us. We were made by God, for God, to depend on God.
But before long, we get disoriented to this Creator God and start to live life for ourselves. The Bible uses all kinds of metaphors to show us what this looks like. One place says, “All we are like sheep who have gone astray.” God longs to be the great caregiving shepherd, and yet we have wandered off.
Another place says that “those who were living in darkness have seen a great light.” Nothing is more disorienting than being in a place you’ve never been, in a pitch black room, trying to find the light switch. Ever felt like that’s how you’re living life? Stumbling your way through the darkness?
Why is it that we find ourselves “going astray” and stumbling through the darkness? Clearly, we’re on the wrong path. This is not the life we were meant to live at all. This is why you might have heard some Christians talk about people as being “lost.”
Now, on the surface, this lostness, this disoriented living may seem to be an external thing. We’ve already talked about the different pathways we take to find fulfillment in life: jobs, relationship, success, material gain, even pleasure seeking. But remember, that’s not really who you are. At the essence of who you are, none of that defines you. You are a living soul.
Chances are, if your life is broken, it’s because your soul is broken. That’s where life disorientation really begins. And if your soul is broken, then there’s only one true remedy for that.
In the story of the Bible, we see people struggling with this for centuries. They’d live their lives oriented to God in the right way – remembering that they were created by Him, for Him, and to depend on Him. But then, like all of us, they’d start drifting. It didn’t take much at first. But little by little, they’d wander way off the trail, until one day, they found themselves once again, totally disoriented. Lost in life.
So, in the ultimate rescue operation, this Creator God comes to earth in the form of His own creation. He takes on flesh and walks among us to teach us with more clarity than ever before. And not just words in a classroom or in a textbook, but teaching by example, living it out in front of us to show us the way. His name, of course, is Jesus.
Jesus says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”
After he was gone, Jesus’ earliest followers were often spoken of as living in The Way. They lived a life modeled after the life and teachings of Christ. This is what it means to stay oriented to God – to discover the life you were meant to live – living life on The Way.
One of the most profound sayings of Christ was that we could know the truth and the truth would set us free. Specifically what he meant was that if we lived out The Way, then we would experience for ourselves The Truth of what he had been teaching. And once we do, we discover a freedom that goes beyond anything we could have imagined. It’s not about knowing a lot of truthful information, but knowing by experience – living it out for ourselves.
Life. This was something Jesus talked about an awful lot.
Jesus teaches that this disoriented way of living will actually steal life from you. But here’s how he described his purpose: “I have come you that you might have life, and have it more abundantly.” Or put another way, “My purpose is to give [you] a rich and satisfying life.”
His invitation is to, “Come Follow Me.” We call it journeying on The Disciple’s Trail. A disciple is one who has put themselves under the instruction of a particular teacher. But it’s more than just classroom information. A disciple is imitating the teacher’s life and instilling and living out His values. It’s more about RELATIONSHIP. Listen to this:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 MSG
Walk with me. Work with me. Watch how I do it. We like to think of it as “apprenticing our whole lives to Jesus.” We really do believe following Him in The Jesus Way is the life we were meant to live!
So, in a nutshell, just what is the Jesus Way? We don’t want to oversimplify it, but maybe this little outline will help you make a decision:
He challenged anyone listening to him to Be Captured by His Kingdom Vision. He talked about the Kingdom more than anything else. So what is it? The Kingdom of God is where what God wants done will be done – on earth as it is in Heaven. It is the realm of His activity – where He is at work on behalf of His people. Jesus was saying that it is open and available to anyone and everyone.
He gave his followers a priority in charting their course for life when He said, “Seek first the Kingdom,” or put another way, “Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions.”
Big Point: The Kingdom of God is not primarily about the afterlife – about going to heaven when you die. It’s about the life you were meant to live in the here and now.
“So how do I get in on it? How do I get into the Kingdom?” Good question!
Jesus brought people to a point of decision. His primary way of putting it was this: “The Kingdom of God has come! Repent and Believe the Good News!”
We love this word repent. It’s from the Greek root word metanoia. It means to have a fundamental change of mind; to think about how you’ve been thinking. Rethink your life in light of Jesus’ teachings and standards. When you do, chances are, you’ll realize how backwards you’ve been living – how disoriented you are to the right Way. This is the first step in the restoration of your “broken soul.”
Speaking of “the right Way,” that’s where believing comes in. To believe in this context is more than just agreeing that something is true. It actually means more like “placing your confidence” in that truth. When you rethink your life (repent), you see that Jesus has the answers to how life is meant to be lived. You trust Him enough to put him in charge, making Him the leader of your life. Since it’s His Kingdom and He’s the King, another way of saying it is to Declare Your Allegiance.
The other big statement Jesus used in challenging people to make a decision was, “Come follow me.” To follow is more than just hooking up your car to the Jesus train. It means to actually apprentice your life to his; studying his teachings and his Ways and living a life of obedience to what you learn. Again, “Walk with Me, work with Me, watch how I do it.”
So that’s it: Repent. Believe. Declare your Allegiance. Just start Following. That’s what it takes to get reoriented to the life you were meant to live.
“So what ‘truth’ did Jesus teach? What basics do I need to know?” More good questions!
First up: Love Unconditionally. Of primary importance was this idea of agape’ love. It’s a different kind of love than most of us understand. C. S. Lewis says it means, “a selfless love, a love that is passionately committed to the well-being of others.”
Jesus put it like this: “Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
He also challenged His followers to “cast off every weight;” to not be distracted by the cares of this life or the lure of wealth. “Live freely and lightly,” He said. Live The Unencumbered Life.
He lived out a rhythm of spiritual practices, Developing a Rule of Life, showing the the way of Reformation of the Heart through exercises like prayer, solitude, fasting, and immersing our minds with Scripture.
He taught us to devote ourselves to the Fellowship of One Anothering, living day in and day out in the company of his special circle of friends, challenging us to join with brothers and sisters in Christ to provoke one another toward love and good deeds.
All along he was teaching them their actual role of life, inviting them to join the Sacred Order of the Towel. (A reference to an act of humble service when Jesus washed the feet of His disciples.) He said, “At all times and in all places, Be Different by embracing servanthood.”
And finally, He said that if we stick with this – living it out day by day, we would Bear Much Fruit: By the power of the Holy Spirit, we would influence others by overcoming evil with good, serving the “least of these,” and pointing others in the way to Jesus. His call is for us to Become His Trail Guide in the lives of others, reorienting them to the life they were meant to live. Go Make Disciples.
So how about it, friend? This is the life you were meant to live! If you’ve been feeling that your soul is broken, if you’ve felt disoriented, if the good news we’ve shared here makes sense to you, then perhaps today is the day things begin to change for you.
If you decide to give Jesus your allegiance, committing to apprenticing your life to His, then we’d love to help. We have folks equipped to walk with you on your journey, teaching you what we’ve learned and helping you to understand the truth and how to live it out. Just fill out the form below and Pastor Rodney will personally reach out and help you get started!