Monday, September 23, 2013

Do You Exist or Do You Live? and the Soli Deo Gloria Party

Welcome to Soli Deo Gloria!  This group exists to empower women to authentically share their hearts.  Want to learn more?  Click here to find out ways you can be involved here.  Before you leave, take some time to visit a new friend.  If you decide to link up, be sure to stop by your neighbor's place.  We want to make sure everybody at this party feels a little love!
Do you exist or do you live, friend?

The Greek word for "made" in verse 3 is "ginomai" and means to "bring into existence."  In the next verse, we find, though, that Jesus {the Word} holds life.  The Greek word for "life" is "zoe."  While the dictionary would lead us to believe that "existence" and "life" are the same thing, the Bible makes a clear distinction.  Even our worldly connotation eludes to a difference between existing and living.  The idea of truly living brings to mind a person who is actively engaged, present, and a willing participant in what happens within our walk on this earth.

John's distinction is clear: Jesus moves us from mere existence to life.  And what kind of life does He bring?  One of everlasting abundance, filled with richness and satisfaction (see John 3:16 and John 10:10).

But here's the thing: having this satisfying life is a process.  Yes, we can give our life to Jesus, ask Him to move into our hearts, forgive our sins, and direct our paths.  When we do this, we are assured of our salvation.  But there is something more here than just a ticket to Heaven.  This eternal life doesn't start when we physically die.  It starts now.  There is a daily surrender, a {sometimes hour by hour} decision to ask Jesus to take all the bazillions parts of our lives and make them His.  This eternal life He's talking about, it's God's life.  Throughout the Old Testament, God is described as eternal and everlasting.  Eternal life, then, is that life which God lives.  And while our life while on earth won't be perfect as God is perfect, we have access, through our belief in Jesus, to some of the serenity and power that belongs to God.  I can't say for sure about you, but I want that power and serenity in my life daily, not just when I've passed through this world onto the next.

Who commits their lives to Christ understanding the fullness of what it means to die to themselves, to surrender all control, to live for the glory of God and not the glory of man?  Not me.  I didn't have a clue all the work God was going to have to do in my life to help me experience life at the fullness of which He designed me to be able to live it.

And I'm still not there.  Because there are days I take back what I was at some point determined to leave at the cross.  I still covet control.  I still seek the approval of man.  I still use worldly pleasures to satisfy places in my soul that were meant to be filled by Him.  When I take back (or neglect to surrender in the first place) these parts of my life, I choose existence instead of life.  I choose to settle for the best I can muster up as opposed to the treasured gifts He longs to give me.  And I usually do this because I don't understand or think I know best or I'm afraid of the process I'm going to have to go through to get those treasures.

But just as a seed has to crack open its shell to allow space for roots and a stem, I need to shed my own self-protective armor so I can allow space for Jesus into breath into me.

The best example I can give in my walk is when I surrendered Craig's porn addiction to Jesus.  There on the bathroom floor, I realized I had been merely existing -- relying on worldly ways and my own ideas that might "fix" my husband.  It wasn't until I gave up that He was able to show me how to live in my marriage.  And living meant trusting, praying, believing, and hoping -- all really hard things to do in the face of betrayal, self-image issues, and fear.

Even though they were life-giving things, brought by Jesus, they were still my daily choice.  There were some many days which I did not choose them.  And I fell back into existence until I was ready to let Jesus in again...and live.

What would have happened to me, my marriage, my children, had Craig and I not allowed Jesus to show us how we needed Him to actually change our lives into ones that God designed for us?  What would have mere existence looked like in my marriage?  Sure, my salvation still would have been secure (I asked Jesus into my life in 6th grade), but I probably would have lived in my own worldly hell until I got to the other side.

John's point is this: We don't  have to live separated from God's life while we walk this earth. We have access to His peace, His power, and His riches this very day.  Why wait?  Or why choose to live in some areas, but merely exist in others?  Our lives here will never be perfect, but there is a fullness that is waiting for us to take.  But in order to receive this fullness of life, we have to surrender all our areas, all our relationships, all our jobs, all our concerns, and cares, and circumstances. To get all, we have to give all.

What parts of your life or your heart are you withholding from Jesus?  Where are you merely existing instead of truly living?  Can you imaging making space for Him in those places?

Linking this on Monday with Michelle and Jen too!
Are you new here? Welcome! We'd love to shower you with some love and encouragement, so if this is your first time linking up, will you put "I'm New!" as your caption under your linky picture? Want more info on what this sisterhood is all about? Click here.
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  1. There's a lot of depth in this post, Jen. I understand in my head that the life of Jesus is mine to live in the now, but in my heart, I don't always believe it. I want to connect the two more and more though, and the gap is getting smaller. Thanks for yet another reminder that it is a possibility to live our zoe life in the here and now, not just in the afterlife after we die physically.

  2. Jen: this is an awesome post. As passionate as I am about the term coming alive you know this post was speaking my language. Thank you so much for the sweet reminder tonight. I love the ZOE life! I love you

  3. Jen, I will echo Ms. Lisa....there's a LOT here. So profound. I appreciate that you share with us out of your own discoveries and challenges.
    I especially liked this line," I choose to settle for the best I can muster up as opposed to the treasured gifts He longs to give me."
    Oh, how our Father has much to give as we continually, DAILY, minute by minute give up those not-God things that get in our way.

  4. In the book Interior Castles, St Tereasa talks about how as we move closer to the center room which is where God is - there are times we still move to the outer rooms of the castle - even outside sometimes - and that took a lot of pressure off me to always be moving close - never 2 steps or 2 rooms out. I think God recognizes that - and He has such compassion and patience with us. You have given all of us a feast of encouragement with your post. You talk about believing, praying - hoping - and,yes, that makes ALL the difference in how I survive the daily:)

  5. Jen - Looks like we've brushed upon a similar concept this week...the need to give all compartments of our hearts to God. Oh how easy it can be to leave parts of our lives sealed shut like an iron door locked tight forever. But what freedom we can have, when we come to Him...give Him the keys...and say, "in this are too, Lord, you may enter!" Thanks for a great post Jen! Always love your vlogs & the Soli De Gloria party! ~ Jen

  6. Wow! Thanks Jen! Very thought provoking, awesome post! I've been a Christian since I was a child, but this is really making me think!
    "And while our life while on earth won't be perfect as God is perfect, we have access, through our belief in Jesus, to some of the serenity and power that belongs to God."

  7. "I want that power and serenity in my life daily, not just when I've passed through this world onto the next." yeah. that.

  8. good words to ponder and what a lovely prayer: To get all, we have to give all... So often I need several days on retreat to really see what i am still clinging to in order to give it up. Something about the craziness of daily life causes me to miss those things.

  9. Great post! I'm linking up today about Our Faith Journey {I posted the wrong link at first by mistake - please feel free to remove the recipe! Sorry!!}

    1. Chelsey, I'm going to leave it because maybe, just maybe, someone needs your recipes, too! :)

  10. I believe this was a turning point in my faith life 10 yrs ago, when I realized I was tired of just existing and getting. I was determined how to learn what it meant to live fully alive in Christ and not just try to get through one more day in my own strength. What I think I've learned is that it's a life long process of surrendering and trusting and remembering how faithful He is. I'm thankful for the hard times, they show me when I've been relying on my own strength to get things done instead of God's .

  11. Love these deep truths, so want to live and not exist, to take hold of the life that is mine in Christ...because that is exactly what He wants. He's not holding out on us....He's is holding out to us.

  12. May we surrender to Him utterly & completely! Thanks for the beautiful post & for hosting & God bless!

  13. Dear Jen,
    Amen..yes, when we surrender to God's love daily, then we can live in His peace glad God has made these truths alive in you, my friend :)


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