This blog deals with issues pertaining to natural dignity and worth that all humanity deserves under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It deals with topics pertinent to Christian living and faith.
“Our once great western Christian civilization is dying. If this matters to followers of Jesus Christ, then we must set aside our denominational differences and work together to strengthen the things that remain and reclaim what has been lost. Evangelicals and Catholics must stand together to re-establish that former Christian culture and moral consensus. We have the numbers and the organization but the question is this: Do we have the will to win this present spiritual battle for Jesus Christ against secularism? Will we prayerfully and cooperatively work toward a new Christian spiritual revival ― or will we choose to hunker down in our churches and denominationalisms and watch everything sink into the spiritual and moral abyss of a New Dark Age?” - Mark Davis Pickup
Friday, January 15, 2016
SEIZE ETERNAL LIFE IN THE HERE AND NOW
Jesus' prayer in the 17th Chapter
of John is often referred to as the
High Priestly Prayer. In verse three we
read "Now this is eternal life,
that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus
Christ." In the past, I have plowed through this verse without giving it
much thought. I missed so much. In his Book
JESUS OF NAZARETH, PART TWO: From
the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection, Pope Benedict XVI commented about this verse:
Life' is not -- as the modern reader might immediately assume -- life after
death, in contrast to this present life, which is transient and not eternal.”Eternal
life" is life itself, real life, which can also be lived in the present
age and is no longer challenged by physical death. This is the point: to
seize "life" here and now, real life that can no longer be destroyed
by anything or anyone."
This is important for people like
me who are chronically ill. Eternity is not bound by time. Perhaps the Apostle
Paul was touching on this truth when he wrote, “Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For
to me life is Christ, and death is gain.” (Philippians 1.20-21) He seized life
to serve God. We can too, even though our lives may be broken.
Whether I live or die, Christ is
with me. Through my relationship with Christ I no longer merely exist. No! Even
in chronic illness and disability I have begun to live more fully than ever
before. My eternal life has already
begun. Eternal life consists of knowing the one true God through Jesus Christ.
As we draw nearer to the Master we begin to really live. Again Pope Benedict:
"Because I live, you will
live also", says Jesus to his disciples at the Last Supper (John 14.19),
and he thereby reveals once again that a distinguishing feature of the disciple
of Jesus is the fact that he "lives": beyond the mere fact of
existing, he has found and embraced the real life that everyone is
seeking." (Jesus of Nazareth,
God is accessible to you and me
through His only begotten Son. That is why God sent Christ. Through faith we
have eternal life
(John 3.16). This is not a future possession – it is a real
possession beginning here and now.
As people draw nearer to that
which is eternal, eternity becomes clearer; as they draw nearer to the Holy One
they become more holy and sanctified ... set apart for God.
Christ said we are to be perfect
just as our Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5.48). But how can someone
imperfect and flawed like me become perfect? From the preceding verses in this
passage of Matthew, I think Jesus was referring to how we love. God is love.
Jesus said, "I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I
have loved you, so
you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my
disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13.34. Cf.
Matthew 22.36-40). It is through love that Christ draws closer to his followers
and makes them holy as they grow in His love. It is through love that his
followers give their greatest witness.
has opened to me new understanding of Divine love.
suffering we are presented with a stark choice: We can rail against it and let
it make us angry and bitter. By doing this, we fall short of our full humanity.
Conversely, we can choose to surrender our pain to God and pray Father take
away this cup, nevertheless not my will but Your will be done.” By
relinquishing ownership of our agony, we begin to transcend beyond ourselves and
truly become children of God. We can begin to move toward perfection within
either cause a man to bow and submit to God or stiffen his neck and curse God. Think
of the two thieves crucified with Christ: one cursed Christ in his agony and
lost his chance for eternal love; the other asked in his pain that Christ would
remember him and won a place in paradise. Christ's perfect love offered through
suffering brings many to glory (see Hebrews 2.10).
(and sometimes fail) to give my lesser suffering to Christ as a vehicle for my
sanctification – a purifying fire to bring me forth as gold to be offered to
What is your pain? Give it to Christ. You can
transcend your agony into a new freedom “to seize "life"" here and
now -- real life that can no longer be destroyed by anything or anyone.”