Here’s something you don’t hear very often: I absolutely love New Year resolutions. I probably shouldn’t anymore - I’ve crashed and burned with my eat right, get organised, read the Bible every morning, get off Facebook, listen more, be patient with the kids, haul derriere to the gym resolutions more often than I care to remember. But I can’t seem to resist the freshness of a new year. I love wiping the slate clean and starting anew.
So, when I was challenged to come up with just one word for 2016 instead of a set of resolutions, I was slightly overwhelmed at first. But, then, it started to make sense. Who actually remembers their resolutions from January of last year? I’m not raising my hand, for sure. Remembering just one word, on the other hand? That was do-able. Even for someone with the memory span of a groggy goldfish.
After some praying and a short search, I landed on my word for 2016: Alive. Along with it came one of my favourite verses, John 10:10: "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
Life to the full.
It reminded me of my little 6-year-old diva who routinely tries to escape meals by claiming she is, “Sooo full!”
Jesus comes to give us life. He invites us to the banqueting table of life abundant and free and infinite. And, often, we go, “No thanks, I’m sooo full.”
So, why do we resist the fullness of life that Christ promises us?
We’re not hungry
Of my two kids, one can inhale a stack of pancakes in a nanosecond and make a handful of bacon disappear before you can say “Abracadabra!” The other one, as I mentioned earlier, stares at her pancake like it’s a specimen from a Science experiment. She then attempts to negotiate a deal with the pancake maker.
Pancake maker swings between extreme maternal distress (Will this child ever eat?) to sheer amazement (Who in the world doesn’t like pancakes? And BACON?? You’re pulling a fast one on me, right, kid?). Finally, most of the child’s pancakes gets tossed in the trash.
That’s uncannily similar to how we’re wired. We don’t recognise that we’re hungry. We’d rather not admit our need for God and our utter dependence on Him. And we miss out on the fullness of life He offers.
We fill up on empty calories
I’m picking on my little one here, but one or two Oreos before dinner and there's no room for real food. We, too, are pros at finding temporary fixes - preoccupations that are fancier and faster than ever.
CS Lewis likens us to “an ignorant child who wants to go on making mudpies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."
We are way too thrilled with our mudpies. Accomplishments in our careers, a new 55” inch flat screen, marrying the perfect someone, a meal at the restaurant where it’s impossible to get reservations are all wonderful things but when they crowd God out, we’ve let the thief steal our infinite joy and life abundant.
We think we know what's on the menu
To continue my analogy, my dear little person glances at certain food and decides that she doesn’t want to risk it. “That looks too spicy,” she often declares. Or, more creative excuses: “It’s going to be too chewy.”
Too often, we put God in a box and decide what He can and can’t do. We don’t believe that the life He gives us can be abundant, free, boundless and exciting. But Psalm 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Once we taste of Him, we know that nothing else can even come close.
We’re too dressed up
To be fully satiated in Christ, there is only one criterion – that we come hungry to the banquet. Yet, it seems to go against everything our culture teaches us. We’re told we need to dress for the occasion, we’re told to bring flowers for the host, or at least some apple pie for dessert. But, with Christ all we have to do is show up!
We don’t have to wear the designer labels of our achievement or effort. I love Colossians 1:12 where is says that Christ has “qualified” me to share in the inheritance. As subversive to the culture as it may be, we invest zero effort. Zero. He did it ALL for me.
At the end of 2016, I want to be fit, organised, prayerful, unplugged, and healthy. But more than anything, I want to be alive, with the fullness of life that only Christ offers me.
Photo Credit : Unsplash