Three Ways to Do Life

Photo by Tobias Lindman (CC BY 2.0)
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.
To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
-Romans 11:36 (HCSB)

There are three ways to do or approach life: Without God, through God, and with God.

Without God

When I view life on my own, it is just me versus all the challenges.  Many good things might happen to me, but I am left to my own means of trying figure things out and navigating life.  If I live this way, as a believer, then the Lord is distant.  I believe the Bible, but the words are not very much alive.  

When I live out life on my own, with God far away, my life story ends up being one of discontent.  I look at life through my heart, with a degree of Bible in the mix, and I end up with a dirty lens, because only God's heart gives me the clear application of his word.

Through God

A much better way to do life, is to see life through God.  When I look at God or God in Christ, it is easy to get lost, and that is a good thing.  Like the song says, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus..."  The world and all the trouble in it, grows strangely dim when I look upon him.  

Looking at everything in front of you, through the lens of God in Christ, is the way to live.  Now, when life gives me a question, I don't need to try to 'figure it out', but I get to ask God about it.  All my wants, needs, desires, hopes, dreams, and plans are mediated by him.  No question is too small or to big, and nothing is hopeless, to God.

When I see life through God, I am continually affected by God's vision.  I am transformed, or rather, find myself in the stream of a life-long process of transformation.  When I see him and see what he sees, I am transformed.  

And, God is big on choice and personal volition.  We are called to have faith, and genuine faith is tested and acted upon.  If you believe, you will do and what you believe will hold up to the test, or you get a re-test.  Certificates of completion are only handed out after our lives here are through.

I need to say "yes", "alright", "I receive it", or "amen" continually, to the transformational process.  There is always the danger of seeing, but not being seen, or knowing but not being known.  Hiding is not living.  Just as a wedding does not make a marriage, so also believing does not make a follower.  We must learn to be married and we learn to be disciples and disciples are learners and followers.

With God

When I approach life through God's vision, then I am ready to live life with him.  I can begin to learn to do what I see the Father doing.  I can not see unless I have had the eyes of my heart transformed.

A question to ponder is, how did Jesus approach life, before his traveling ministry years?  He lived in a family and he worked at a job.  He was known in his hometown.  He probably attended synagogue services.  Perhaps he had friends.  

When I ponder his life, I want that life in my life.  I want to live a life with God, the way Jesus did.  Before his ministry began, at age 30 (Lk. 3:23), for those 30 years, Jesus of Nazareth had a life with God.  He lived with his family, some of whom did not get him (Mk. 3:21), when he began his ministry.

Jesus showed the way to have a life in God and with God, and sent his first disciples, and every disciple since, to live that life (Jn. 20:21).  The question becomes, "Have we (you and I) been sent?"  Jesus sends us on his mission in the world.  Today, we're it.  Sounds scary, but remember that that is why Jesus sent the Spirit of God, to empower us.

Having been found and saved by Jesus Christ and making him Lord, we now can live through him, with God.  And that has always been the plan for the Christian's life.

Beware of Fake Christianity

Some people espouse a life with God, but not genuinely through God.  They applaud the principles of God, like technologies to be harnessed for a better life.  They preach and teach happiness, enjoyment, success, health, well-being, and a 'winning life'.

They might also preach about doing good, fighting world hunger, and saving the earth from mankind's ravaging.  We must go into the whole world and give everyone clean water and safe shelter.  "Kumbaya", can become a song of humanism, that is a theology that dismisses the idea of evil and sin, and bypasses the cross of Christ.

Beware of bypassing your cross.  Beware of avoiding death to self.  Beware of living a pseudo-christian life that is not mediated through God, where you end up in the absurd life of 'using God', rather than letting God live through yourself, who has been surrendered to Him.

There is only one path to God, to a life with God and that path is through the cross:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.  I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing. -Gal. 2:19b-21 (HCSB)
Some have said that in our western societies, we are so full of consumerism; that as Christians, we approach the Christian life that way.  We consume, like Costco members.  We pay the dues and have the card.  We shop and benefit.  We go there and bring it home.  We tell other people sometimes that we are members, especially if they mention it first.

But, that is not a good analogy of how the Christian life is supposed to be lived.  Not even close.  He gave his all and we give our all.  Jesus submitted his whole life to his Father and we submit our whole lives to Jesus.

The Life I Now Live, I Live By Faith In The Son

The way it works with him is all or nothing.  Men and women invented, and are still teaching, the 'half-way' commitment life-style.  Taking up your cross, which means signing your personal death warrant daily, is not an option only for 'super-saints', like apostle Paul.  It is a requirement, for each one of us, if we want to be a part of Jesus (Matt. 16:24, Luke 9:23).

If you are a Christian, then all of you, and everything you have, belongs to Jesus.  You are living on the mountain (Matt. 6:1) where he teaches you that God is taking care of you and living through you.  The life with God is founded upon and lived on the words of Christ (Matt. 7:24).

Jesus gives a dire warning that there will be people who pretended to live through and with God that he never knew (Matt. 7:23), who even have the audacity to claim him to others.  It turns out, that the most important thing, is your personal, intimate, honesty to God.  The authentic life we live in God springs from that.

Jesus taught us to live a life wholly surrendered to God.  We let go of everything and hold onto him.  There is no other way.

The goal of the Christian life is to live by the faithfulness of the Son of God.  It is personal.  He in you and him through you.  You in him.