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.
[John the Baptist]
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. It’s definitely not about what you might think of as “religion.” Certainly there are morale standards we need to live by, Jesus makes that clear. But this is 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
Sin is missing the mark.