As we announced last week, we're launching our FIRST series today!! Be sure to check out our post from last week to learn why this matters and how we believe One Beautiful Life is God's idea.
For this series, we'll be building on the idea from Choice to Choose, as with every step we take, we have three choices before us.
Just as a road has two ditches on either side, our life and the choices we make can look the same way. The life Jesus calls us to, one that stays on the road and out of the proverbial ditch, requires faith and obedience.
Due to sin existing in this world, there will always be tension in every step. We have a real enemy who is against our faith. So in each moment, as we are responding in one of three ways, two of them are against God and what He desires.
You can also think of it as a bike. Each ditch being a pedal. While maybe you could make it a little way just using one foot, you have to be honest and realize you're not going anywhere and in a matter of time you'll end up exhausted or falling over.
But when you can balance between the two extremes, you'll begin to gain traction
You'll begin to see this play out as we go through defining and redefining each word in our new series. We'll start talking about the two extremes. Then we'll have a second post to discuss what it looks like to walk the narrow and faithful way amid the two extremes.
You must come back after a Monday post because one could easily be offended just hearing the two extremes and thinking we're saying both sides are wrong. We’re not here to tell anyone they are wrong, but to help point out the extremes and then look to tension Jesus calls us to.
Because we're all about digging deeper, we don't want to give you all the answers up front.
We want you to think deeply, engage with the content, and develop for yourself what you believe because our actions are directly influenced by what we believe.
So here we go! Kicking off our first series with the word: Life.
We're all intimately connected to the word life since it applies to us all.
However, we can live as if this word doesn't apply, going through seasons or years to come to a point you realize you weren't fully living life. It’s only when we step into life, we recognize that we weren't living it.
That's because there are two components to the word life.
The reality we are alive and breathing
The quality of the life we are breathing.
When it comes to the first component, the dictionary defines life as the "State of which natural functions and motions are performed." "The quality that distinguishes a vital and functional body from a dead body."
So if you are alive and have life, your body can function or have the capability to be renewed. Life ends when this is no longer an option.
So the first extreme is that this life is all we have -- there is no eternity.
Believing that once life begins and there is function (which is a debated topic in society) we have life and continues until our heart stops beating.
The actions that result from this belief play out in several ways.
One is an increase in awareness so we can make the most of life. Learning all the life hacks, and drinking all the green juice working to manipulate life to gain days to live longer since this is all we have.
Or maybe it looks like living life to the fullest, which can be indulging in whatever we feel like or desire. Moderation not being key in this case.
Resulting in hopelessness when longevity fails, or satisfaction stays out of reach. When the brokenness of the world becomes too much to bear, it can only result in depression and hopelessness. While in our youth it can be easier to avoid this reality, when life happens, such as a cancer diagnosis, or a fluke accident that takes the life of a loved one, the fact that we only get to do this once becomes harder to avoid and we are faced with the reality we really aren’t in control.
This mindset can take place for the Christian as well. Just because we believe in Jesus who says there is an eternity, doesn't mean we will live as if we believe it. There is a difference between saying you believe in eternity and believing in eternity.
Which leads to the other extreme, believing there is an eternity. Each religion has a different answer for this. It could be reincarnation, alternate heavens, or even for the Christian who believes in Jesus for the sake of fire insurance. There is no desire to know God, but a focus on doing what is needed to guarantee the best eternity. No genuine desire for faith or obedience.
The motivation here is still control. We see this from the religious leaders in Jesus' day. They were so focused on doing all the right things they didn't realize they had life right in front of them.
Especially for the Christian, this one can seem like the better option of the two. But this belief still keeps us off the path that God desires and has designed. God doesn't give us a spirit of fear, which includes living in fear of eternity.
Which leads us to the second component of life. Because our every action is fueled by what we believe, then in many ways we can say that our actions equal our life.
The problem here is that we go wrong by equating these actions with value. We look at what others have accomplished and then consider their life either more or less valuable than others.
Sizing everyone up in a way.
We do this at any social gathering where we meet new people.
Meeting someone for the first time and asking early on, "what do you do for a living?".
And then reserving your approval and acceptance until you learn what it is.
"Oh, you are just a stay at home mom," disregarding the immense value this person has for the love and stewardship of their family. Or it's the, "Oh, you're a CEO, that must be such an amazing career," equating their value from the dollars they bring in each year and admiring their quality of life because of what they have accomplished.
We begin to remove value from people when they don't fit our definition of what a good life should be — disregarding the less attractive person — not being interested in the person who doesn't have an impressive career. Or even worst thinking the life of someone who is disabled isn't worth much because they don't operate in the way we think one should.
And to be quite honest, in many ways, how we define this word, will directly impact what we believe when it comes to the current pro-life/pro-choice debate. While it in no way can be boiled down to this being the main issue, it is also the belief of what life means that results in the ways in which people choose to vote.
We want to think this word doesn't have that great of an impact and try to get through life with the, "you do you" philosophy. But what we believe about this word has a direct impact on how we live.
While we have all the verses we want to share right now and to be able to shout loudly the heart of Jesus in this space, we want to end our first day with the space to consider what you believe before we seek to give you any answers.
We would love it if you shared in the comments below a way in which you tend to lean to one extreme or another. And maybe ending this post in this way doesn't tie a pretty bow on things as you would have hoped, but we would encourage you to sit with Jesus and ask him what he'd like you to maybe see for the first time in regards to this word.
God is a God of upside-down living, so at times it can look backward to what we think it should. We'll dig more into that on Thursday. Until then, we'd like you to consider the following questions:
When it comes to the word Life, what comes to mind.
When do you believe life begins? How do you think about the end of life? Do you consider that very often?
How does living aware of this word and the ways we can go to the two extremes change the way you think about it?
Which of the two extremes do you tend to fall into? Living like there is no eternity (even if you're a Chrisitian) or as if there is one, but you're terrified to consider it.
What do you believe God has to say when it comes to the word life. Any verses? Examples? Truth you want to cling to in this in-between place?
We're so excited for you to come back for our next post that digs into what God has to say about this word and how we can redefine it, so we walk the road with Jesus in faithful obedience!
With love. In Christ.
The OBL Gals