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Are you FULLY alive?

December 16, 2004

John Eldridge writes:

The glory of God is man fully alive. (Saint Irenaeus)

When I first stumbled across this quote, my initial reaction was . . .
You’re kidding me. Really? I mean, is that what you’ve been told? That
the purpose of God—the very thing he’s staked his reputation on—is
your coming fully alive? Huh. Well, that’s a different take on things.
It made me wonder, What are God’s intentions toward me? What is it
I’ve come to believe about that? Yes, we’ve been told any number of
times that God does care, and there are some pretty glowing promises
given to us in Scripture along those lines. But on the other hand, we
have the days of our lives, and they have a way of casting a rather long
shadow over our hearts when it comes to God’s intentions toward us
in particular. I read the quote again, “The glory of God is man fully
alive,” and something began to stir in me. Could it be?
I turned to the New Testament to have another look, read for
myself what Jesus said he offers. “I have come that they may have
life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). Wow. That’s different
from saying, “I have come to forgive you. Period.” Forgiveness is
awesome, but Jesus says here he came to give us life. Hmmm.
Sounds like ol’ Irenaeus might be on to something. “I am the bread
of life” (John 6:48). “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has
said, streams of living water will flow from within him” (John
7:38). The more I looked, the more this whole theme of life
jumped off the pages. I mean, it’s everywhere.
Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life. (Prov. 4:23)
You have made known to me the path of life. (Ps. 16:11)
In him was life, and that life was the light of men. (John 1:4)
Come to me to have life. (John 5:40)
Tell the people the full message of this new life. (Acts 5:20)
I began to get the feeling of a man who’s been robbed. I’m well
aware that it’s life I need, and it’s life I’m looking for. But the offer
has gotten “interpreted” by well-meaning people to say, “Oh, well.
Yes, of course . . . God intends life for you. But that is eternal life,
meaning, because of the death of Jesus Christ you can go to heaven
when you die.” And that’s true . . . in a way. But it’s like saying get-ting
married means, “Because I’ve given you this ring, you will be
taken care of in your retirement.” And in the meantime? Isn’t there
a whole lot more to the relationship in the meantime? (It’s in the
meantime that we’re living out our days, by the way.) Are we just
lost at sea? What did Jesus mean when he promised us life? I go
back to the source, and what I find is just astounding.
I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living. (Ps. 27:13)
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left
home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of
the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in
this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.” (Luke 18:29–30)

Jesus doesn’t locate his offer to us only in some distant future
after we’ve slogged our way through our days here on earth. He
talks about a life available to us in this age. So does Paul: “Godliness
has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life
and the life to come” (1 Tim. 4:8). Our present life and the next.
When we hear the words eternal life, most of us tend to interpret
that as “a life that waits for us in eternity.” But eternal means
“unending,” not “later.” The Scriptures use the term to mean we
can never lose it. It’s a life that can’t be taken from us. The offer is
life, and that life starts now.

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 16, 2004 5:32 pm

    My brother is Vance Durrington, probably in some computer-related department since his dissertation was on networking. His wife also works there in the education department with reading as her specialty, but she kept her last name. Her name is Jeanne Swafford. Cool bit of news regarding her: she was baptized last weekend.

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