This is why you are alive

As we begin this ordinary day most likely we are focused on just ‘getting things done,’  going to work, earning a living, tending to the needs of our body, communicating with others. And underneath it all, every now and then, the question comes to us – “But, why?”  We may not even ask it consciously, but we do try to answer that longing for meaning in many different ways.

Some are achievers, constantly pushing for the next award, a bigger office, some mark of success. Some look for pleasure – seeking that perfect meal, planning for a vacation. Others accumulate ‘stuff,’ building their investment accounts, buying an impressive vehicle, getting a larger home.  Will an award, a moment of pleasure, another possession satisfy us?  Truthfully, no. Though we might find momentary happiness in those things, eventually they will lose their luster and leave us hungering for more.

Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, tells us that no matter our status, regardless of our situation, we can know purpose – “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:6-7, NIV)   I live, as do you, to give praise, glory, and honor to God.

Understanding those words requires a radical shift in perspective in life. Instead of being focused on ‘what makes me happy,’ those who want to glorify God must give themselves away and choose to live outwardly focused. Jesus said it simply – ”‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39, NIV)  This is a difficult concept for us, trained as we  are from our childhood to seek self-fulfillment.  We are deeply committed, even if unconsciously, to a radical individualism.

Jesus’ call to surrender and humility makes the Gospel all but incomprehensible to many people. They hear the words but the concept seems foolish. “How could I possibly be a happy person if I chose to live with less, to readily forgive others, to seek the good of others over my own desires, if I live as a ‘servant?’ 

I am a follower of Jesus for more than a half century and still find myself questioning that call.  My natural impulse is to care for Jerry. The appeal of ‘doing my own thing’ and building my own little kingdom is still present in me! That is why I need a Savior, One who will give me grace, who will lead me to life, Whose Spirit will live in me to reveal the way to life eternal. I hasten to add that when I willingly and humbly respond to His invitation to love and serve, I do find amazing joy and sense God’s purpose for my life. 

As we approach the celebration of the Incarnation, remembering that God came to us, a Baby born in an animal shelter, identifying Himself with the least and the low, may we turn to Him and receive the life of the Spirit.

Let’s pray for faith to accept Him, to let the Spirit change us from the inside out.  And, as we love Him and others, we will discover the promise that Jesus made – “life more abundant!”  (John 10.10)

The word from the Word is one of those passages in the Scripture that is familiar. Step beyond the familiarity today and meditate on the invitation. Ask God to turn you around, to give you eyes to see His purpose and plan, that you might live in His joy.   Here it is –

Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had.
Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God.
He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form.

And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross.

Because of this, God raised him up to the heights of heaven
and gave him a name that is above every other name,
so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11, NLT)

Lord, teach us to live to give You praise, glory, and honor and so find the purpose for which You made us.  Amen

(Video of this blog at this link)

O Come All Ye Faithful

O come all ye faithful
Joyful and triumphant
O come ye O come ye to Bethlehem
Come and behold Him
Born the King of angels

O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
Christ the Lord

Sing choirs of angels
Sing in exultation
O sing all ye citizens of heav’n above
Glory to God
All glory in the highest

Christ the Lord
You are the Lord

Yea Lord we greet Thee
Born this happy morning
Jesus to Thee be all glory giv’n
Word of the Father
Now in flesh appearing

You are the Lord
You are the Lord
You are the Lord

We’ll praise Your name forever
We’ll praise Your name forever
We’ll praise Your name forever
Christ the Lord

Glory in the highest

Chris Tomlin

© 2009 sixsteps Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

Vamos Publishing (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) songs (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

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