Dead end jobs, contentious relationships and a lack of money; everyday there seems to be some new crisis cropping up that steals our joy and keeps us stressed out and looking to throw in the towel. Far from living the full, abundant life that Christ promised, we live our lives frustrated and depressed, angry and broken. We love Jesus and believe everything He told us, so where is the peace we thought He’d bring? It is at this point that many will actually turn away from their faith or become marginalized Christians who only give lip service to their Christianity. This isn’t what we bargained for, so we throw up our hands and walk away from the kingdom of God in search of the comforts of this life and the promise of the American dream. How tragic; this should not be the way for followers of Christ. We claim to believe in the power of His resurrection and the wisdom of His direction, but we live lives that are dispassionate, weak, and characterized by aimless wandering.
We will find the peace and direction we seek when we return to seeking the object of our innermost desire. We will find rest when we cease striving and purpose when we surrender. Christianity is a great paradox, a dichotomy of perplexing proportions. Put simply, it makes no sense to our common understanding. Therein lies the beauty; we only win when we lose, and we gain only when we release all that we have. As long as we are living for our own dreams and aspirations, we will continue to meet with failure and frustration. When we commit our lives to Christ, we surrender all that we are in order that He might glorify Himself through us, and recreate us in the image He originally designed us to have. Our old ways of thinking and our past activities are now over; we must agree to develop new habits, thought patterns and purpose for our lives. As we begin to seek a life lived fully for Jesus, our true passions will be stirred and fed by His Spirit. Life will begin to take on its full flavor and zest.
The key to a life well lived is to live solely for His purposes. We cannot expect to find joy and contentment by promising our life to Him and then spending the rest of our time on earth trying to wrestle it back. Jesus invites all to come to Him, but He forces no one. If you do not want to follow Jesus, walk away and try things on your own. Let me know how that works out for you. Apart from Jesus you cannot ever fulfill what you were designed to be. You may achieve a modicum of success in your career and live a life that is full of pleasure and possessions, but deep inside there will remain a hunger that cannot be fed. We are spiritual beings created to live in communion with our Spirit Creator. Without an open line of communication with God, we will never find true peace, true joy or lasting happiness.
Following Jesus is not a way to rid ourselves of every trial and problem we face. As long as we live on this fallen planet, the compounding effect of generations of sin will ensure that our life is far from peaceful or without complication. We must recognize that external forces can do nothing to damage our eternal soul. If we will live our lives wholly focused and committed to Jesus, we will find inner peace, a spirit of rest, and a joy that wells up from within and can’t be contained. When you begin to feel stressed out and overwhelmed, it is a fairly good indication that you have lost focus and taken your eyes off of Jesus. The surest way to overcome a bout of discouragement is to focus on Jesus by confessing your shortcomings and thanking Him for His love and the blessings in your life. Another foolproof way to pull oneself out of the doldrums is to get up and go serve someone else for no other reason than the fact that Jesus loves them. We cannot be focused on, or acting in service to, Jesus Christ and continue to be discouraged. He will always grant us rest and give us a sense of purpose. Do you want to live a life of passion and significance? Remember your commitment to God; throw off your selfish pursuits and desires, live your life with the singular purpose and focus of obeying and reflecting Jesus Christ. Without Christ there is no life, there is only death. Only by following Jesus and obeying everything He instructs us to do will we be able to live a life that is fully alive.