My Life Problem
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
When I meet with others struggling with addiction, the most common frustration is the refusal to be completely honest. The addict always knows best and in his thinking, he is just not that bad. He does not have to commit to radical change. He is not the problem, everyone else is. This is maddening as I have been there. The problem is, I still do it.
I am still convinced that I know best. I continue do what I want to do and pursue what I want to pursue. My greatest life problem is me and my pursuit of self. My best thinking and living has led me down a path of destruction, but still, I follow me. Apparently, being aware of this defect does not automatically remove it.
Even when I read the bible, I find myself thinking that I know a passage and thus, have nothing to learn from it. This was the case with today’s passage, the most well-known verse in the bible. When I read it yesterday, I felt obligated to cover it, but it did not really seem to speak to me.
In my tendency to extremes, I have always interpreted this verse to be talking about the beginning and end of the Christian life. In it, Jesus spoke of belief and eternal life. To me, this belief represented the beginning of the Christian life and eternal life represented life after death. As I have already asked Jesus into my heart as a child and as I am not dead yet, this verse is not for me, right?
Though Jesus may be referring to beginning and end, this does not mean that his words do not apply to me here and now. In the previous verse (yesterday’s passage), Jesus explained that belief meant keeping my eyes on him. Belief therefore, is not a once for all event that I did when I was five. Belief is a continual behavior that I choose to do or not to do. I choose to keep my eyes on Christ or, by default, I turn my gaze to me. This verse then, is the answer to my life problem. It is only in turning my focus from me to Christ continually, that I practice belief in God.
And what do I get when I believe in God? I do not perish but inherit eternal life. Again, this is not just about life after death. This is here and now. It is when I keep my eyes on me that I pursue (and find) destruction and death. It is only in keeping my eyes on God that I know the life He wants for me. This is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God (John 17:3). Eternal life is not just something I attain after death. It is God’s life in me now.
The Christian life is not just about choosing belief at point A and then going to heaven at point Z. It is about every day in between. The Christian life is the answer to my greatest life problem. Belief and eternal life are for today. It is only in believing and turning my gaze to Christ now that I avoid the destruction of pursuing me. It is only in believing that I inherit eternal life now.