Majoring in Life
The Christian life is meant to be an abundant life through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Scripture passages in this lesson are linked to this page for easy access.
Lesson 30: Jesus, Your Major for Life
(Entering into abundance)
Text written and copyrighted © 2002 by Manfred Koehler. Used by permission. All rights reserved.)
You've chosen the right road, of that you're sure. It's a narrow one, with deep ditches lining both sides, but the sky shines brightly, and road signs mark the way, so you're fine. You walk along joyfully, enjoying the scenery, reading the signs. This is a great road.
But the signs begin to multiply.
It's gradual at first—an extra sign here or there, full of directions on how to walk the road before you. You pause to read each sign, then move forward, determined to follow the growing list of guidelines. You really want to travel this journey well.
But the signs keep coming.
You watch little men feverishly constructing large billboards, all in a rush to finish before you pass by. Where the billboards stand completed, men in gray suits frantically beckon, each pointing to his sign. Some begin to yell, insisting their notice, their warning, is more important than the rest.
You listen, you read, but you can no longer absorb.
Where the signs once stood well back from the road, they now hover close, leaning with menace, muscling each other for more space. The shadows they cast block out the sun. Once lovely scenery is now smothered in a web of posts, arrows, and broken-down placards.
You're still convinced this is the right road, but the journey is no longer joyful. You sit down, one foot dangling into the ditch. You cover your ears and close your eyes. You need a rest.
At the very best moment, his hand touches your shoulder. You open your eyes. His smile greets you. His other hand offers to lift you to your feet. You feel the scars as you stand, convinced you know this Person, suddenly most aware that you want to know him more.
You continue your journey with him beside you. You ask him about all the signs.
One by one, he points out the necessary ones, the ones he himself ordered. He explains their meaning, the good things each sign holds in store. These few road markers move back to their proper place. And as he speaks, the other signs—the useless ones, the scary ones—slowly fade away.
The sun shines again. The scenery is more beautiful than ever. Your joy returns.
This is a great road.
Rules Versus Relationship
What comes to your mind when you think of the Christian life? If the answer is, Rules, rules, and more rules, you're not a happy person. If, on the other hand, your heart's response is, Abundant life through a relationship with Jesus, you'll be enjoying the journey.
In all likelihood you're somewhere between the two—right there with the rest of us. Some days the Christian life appears difficult, seemingly not worth the effort. On other days you're excited about Jesus, ready to go wherever he sends you and to do whatever he asks.
Here are a few things to consider so that those hard days are kept to a minimum:
Jesus' expressed goal is to give you abundant life.
"I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10).
When you consider that Christ created the universe, it is an awesome thought to realize that his current great purpose is to enable you to enjoy real life.
One of the best things you can do to join him in that effort is be quick to admit when life is miserable. Jesus, I know you want me to enjoy life to the full but it's not working right now. Can you give me a new perspective? Where have I taken a wrong turn? Bring me back to abundance, please. A sincere prayer like that is something Jesus never tires of. It's his job to answer those prayers.
Jesus himself is your life.
"When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory" (Colossians 3:4).
It is wrong to think of God sending down one-a-day multivitamin dosages of "life," as if life were an entity in itself, dispensed in little bottles. Jesus is your life. When you ask for more reality in your spiritual life, God will respond by giving you more of his Son. So every time you pray, God, I'm not experiencing abundant life, expect to receive a fresh view of Jesus.
Death opens the door to more of Jesus' life.
"We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body" (2 Corinthians 4:10).
God uses the difficult things in life to reveal where ugly self still takes center stage. While taking you through the sometimes painful process, God reminds you that self has no right to call the shots, that you're dead, and that true life is in Jesus.
Don't resist or try to escape what God seeks to do. Allow God to teach you what your death with Christ means, so that you may enjoy more of his life (Galatians 2:20).
Obey Jesus as a friend.
"You are my friends if you do what I command" (John 15:14).
Don't divorce Christ's commands from your relationship with him. Cold obedience to a list of written rules is a joyless existence. See yourself doing what you do because your best friend has asked it of you. Then do it with your whole heart. There's no better way to say, "I love you, Jesus" (1 John 5:3).
For true freedom, shackle yourself to Jesus.
Satan continually pawns the lie that freedom is found only through complete independence from others. In the ears of many a college freshman, he whispers, "You're away from home now, so the chains are gone. You're free to do what you want. Have at it." But true freedom is found in these words from Jesus:
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30).
Whatever your major in university or college, your major for life is Jesus.
"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead" (Philippians 3:10-11).
If you wholeheartedly walk the road with him, Jesus will take you from infancy to maturity, from mediocrity to excellence, from folly to wisdom, from sin to service, from misery to joy.
From Death to Life
If you'll let him, Jesus will take you from death to life. This isn't about the body and breathing. This is about your spirit and the quality of your earthly existence. It's about abundant life.
I want to know Christ. Study him long. Learn from him well.