Column: Life and death and … life

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“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” – Jesus, John 14:6

Life – human life, that is – can be large or small. Joyful or joyless. Purposeful or purposeless. Faithful or faithless.

Typically it’s some combination of all that, laden with hopes, fears, aspirations, successes, failures, wonders and surprises. God’s love is life’s greatest component, Satan’s hateful trickery its worst. Our great challenge as humans is sorting out the things of God that lead to life, and the things of Satan that lead to death.

It’s not always an easy call. We are taught in today’s world to nurture and revere our inward-directed passions amid a culture that increasingly equates freedom with irresponsibility and irreverence, and assigns God a station of irrationality and irrelevance. The ironic, life-diminishing, misdirecting, incomplete, self-centered, message is everywhere: “Life is what we make it.”

In our busyness to “make it” in life, we are systematically directed to replace the source of love and life, God, with the foundation of sin and death, Satan. It usually doesn’t feel like that’s the choice we’re making because Satan is the purveyor of earthly comforts; he’s a fan of man and an enabler of our appetites – power, money, sex, whatever. It just so happens that his goal is to leave us with Godless, eternal death.

One of Satan’s great tricks is to encourage us to replace God the Father with “god the other.” Worship the earth, worship power, worship money, worship your family or worship a political stance, a choice, a sports team or an academic cause celebre. “God the other” provides no eternal promises, no salvation from sin, no participation in divine glory, no relationship with God the Father and no rest in the Kingdom of God. “God the other” offers a single end-game, one goal, and one outcome – death.

Not that the temporal overcoming of human discomfort with technology is a bad thing; who doesn’t like fast travel, modern healthcare, instantaneous communication and air conditioning? How easy it is to mistakenly pursue comforts as an end in themselves – which makes comfort a god – rather than understanding that the God of all comforts is the exclusive purveyor of life everlasting.

Why is life everlasting important? Because God’s glory is important, which makes the life God gives us important, which makes all the choices we tender regarding this life important. Life is so much bigger than what we see; and death is so much worse than we can imagine. Christ is the way to join God in His life.

The choice is ours, but Jesus is telling the truth.

Walters (rlwcom@aol.com) thinks life is overlooked as a gift from God.

What was the purpose of Jesus Christ being born in our world? How does the giving of His life affect the recurring death, darkness, and hatred that exists today?


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