Jesus is the meaning and the purpose of life. I want you to meditate on that statement for a moment… take it in, digest it. We have previously studied on how without Jesus, life is empty; this is not an over-exaggeration. People who follow after other things may experience a type of joy for a season, but it is not the true joy that can be found in Christ. I use the term “true joy” because I can tell you from my own life there was a time before I knew Jesus, that I experienced something that I thought was happiness, but it always left me feeling empty. There was a secret sadness, an internal pain that I could never quite fully define. I simply knew that there had to be more to life than what I was experiencing.
Furthermore, Jesus is also the strength of life. This means that Jesus is the source of effectual power that manifests, sustains and maintains life – we know this from Colossians 1:17. Yet this is more than just a grand theory or a pleasant idea for believers to ponder. This is in-essence, the key to unlocking true life in Christ. If we fail to understand the truth that Jesus is the center and supplier of life, then we will continue to life apart from that life, wondering and wandering from one thing to the next with no direction and no source. Is it possible for a believer to miss-out on the abundant life of Christ? Oh yes! So today, we will be studying in detail how to life in new life in Christ Jesus.
As we begin our study today, we must begin with what many people mistakenly make the center of their life: the human heart. Many people believe that the waves and passions of their heart are actually the leadings of the Holy Spirit. They use phrasing such as “the spirit prompted me” or “I felt god leading me.” Then when things don’t work out they way they wanted, they are left dazed and confused, and some become angry with God and disillusioned with the faith and some fall away as a result.
Turn with me to Proverbs 4:20-27:
“My son, attend to my words; incline your ear to my sayings.
Let them not depart from your eyes; keep them in the middle of your heart.
For they are life to those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
Put away from you a fraudulent mouth, and perverse lips put far from you.
Let your eyes look right on, and let your eyelids look straight before you.
Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established.
Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove your foot from evil.”
We see in verse 20 a call to listen up! Pay attention! We have here two separate instructions: Attend to my words and incline your ear to my sayings.
Inclining our ears has to do with listening to the the voice and guidance of God, while attending to his words, has to do with studying deep into the hidden mysteries that He has for us. Both are important, because if we study deep and understand God but never listen to Him, then it is of no benefit; and if we always listen for Him but never understand because we do not study, then it is also of no benefit.
In verse 21, we are told to not let the words depart from our eyes and to keep them in the midst of our heart.
Now some may wonder how this is even possible. But it’s not as strange or as hard as we may think it to be. For example: Have you ever been working at your desk, but your mind was really savoring the thought of relaxing at home? The idea is one of being somewhere in body, but being somewhere completely different in your mind. It’s possible to go throughout your day and be spiritually focused on Jesus the whole time… and unlike worldly distractions, your work can actually be blesssed by such a focus (Joshua 1:8).
The next verse goes on to tell us that these instructions regarding the importance of listening and studying the Word of God is actually for our benefit; and no small benefit either – They are life and health!
Now something very interesting and telling is in verse 23. Right after telling us about the importance of listening, study and focus on God’s Word, this verse immediately tells us to Guard our heart with all diligence. It is our charge to guard our own heart. To be a steward of it and to keep it from wandering to the right or to the left as the following verses of 24 through 27 say so plainly. Why do you do the things that you do? What is the motive or the reason behind it? You are the steward of everything that you do. What is it that you allow to drive you? What is it that give energy and life to your day? This verse of scripture here tells us that the issues of life flow from the heart. What kind of life are you experiencing? It is a life filled with divine purpose and divine joy? Is it a peace flowing with the peace of God in Christ Jesus? Or is something else seated in the midst of your heart? Only two people really know what is in your heart, you and the LORD.
I like to observe the behavior of people… and as a minister I get that opportunity quite often, especially on Sunday. Let me just say that you can usually determine who has their focus on Jesus just by watching their behaviors, demeanor and attitude. Believers should never come to church just because it’s Sunday, or because they feel that they must, as if it were a duty or obligation. Believers gather together because we are of like faith, and more than that, because we are in love. In love with Jesus, and also in love with one-another. And as we gather together, we are further encouraged and strengthened so that we manifest more of Jesus in our lives. That’s why believers gather, and that’s why this ministry exists as well. All of this ofcourse, stems from the inward motivation of the heart. Without this inward desire and hunger for more of Jesus and the relationship with Him, church becomes just a dead ritual in a long line of empty human traditions; all the while missing the real reason and the Spirit at the center of it all. Just as in the Bile, there are a lot of people who can spend their entire lives around Jesus – so close that they could touch Him, but still manage to miss Him… and that includes pastors as well.
Psalms 118:24, says this:
“This is the day which the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Before I get out of bed in the morning, I purpose in my heart that I will rejoice and be glad in the day. Why? Because it is the LORD’s day. He made it, and He owns it. The driving motivation for my day is not centrally focused on me, but Him. I can rejoice in the day knowing that my LORD owns the day. And because He loves me, I know that He has already given me favor and victory in the day before my eyes even opened. In Deuteronomy 31:8, the scriptures say that the LORD will go before (in-front of) you and also that He will “be with” you. So I am confident that before I even awake, that the LORD has already gone ahead of me each and every day, and also that He walks with me (side-by-side).
Speaking of waking up from sleep, you know there is one main reason why you woke up today, right? God’s Grace and mercy woke you up. And God didn’t wake you up today primarily so that you could enjoy the world… although it is a secondary blessing to enjoy life and God’s creation. However the main reason why He woke you up today, was so that you can enjoy Him, and experience the divine relationship with Him and manifest more of Him in your life; and through Him, you will enjoy all of life. You see my dear friends, it is the power of Christ within you and flowing through you that enables you to manifest and truly live. Without Him, all of life will be dark and empty.
Jesus did not suffer and die on the cross so that people could recite a sinner’s prayer and get to Heaven one day. Jesus also did not suffer and die on the cross just for us to be world-consumers and pleasure-seekers.
No, He suffered and died on the cross so that we would fulfill our divine destiny given to us by God from the moment that He predestined us and called us, to be conformed to the image of Jesus and manifest Jesus (Romans 8:29).
We have a very high calling in Christ, and it’s when we fail to guard our hearts as we read in Proverbs, that we forget this truth, we take our eyes and our focus off of Jesus and we live way below our divine standard in Christ. God has literally given us His Kingdom and more than that, He has given us His Holy Spirit – the very same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwells within us. The very same Spirit that the Bible says quickens even our mortal bodies (Romans 8:11). And yet today we have believers who actually accept being sick and feeble, and claim that it’s God’s will.
Worldly people will come up with all kinds of reasons to doubt and say things such as “It would be great if God did this, but I can’t count on it.”
Believers rather, have Biblical hope, a confident expectation of God’s Grace and power and love for us, which never fails. While the world constantly says to never get your hopes up, the Bible says raise your hope, because hope is the anchor of faith and we have a God that does far more than we can imagine. Turn to Ephesians 3:20:
“Now to him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,”
This power that works in us is the energy, strength and ability of Christ manifested in us through the Holy Spirit. We are the body of Christ, we are made to express and manifest His presence to the world. We are destined to shine with the fulness of His Glory. Now are you beginning to see how very short we come when we become depressed, discouraged and distracted by the factors of this world?
Let’s take a look at Isaiah 12:2:
“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.”
The first word, Behold, meaning Look and See! It is when you take an honest, real look at the truth of scripture and see that God is your salvation, that you will be able to trust and not be afraid. And when you place your trust in Him, that is when you will discover that He is both your strength and your song. Jesus is both your sustaining energy, and your source of joy. He gives power and strength to your life and places a song in your heart every day. With Him, weakness has no place, depression has no place and victory is guaranteed.
Lastly today, let’s read 1st John 4:9:
“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.”.
Notice that this verse does not say that we live for Him, but it says that we live through Him. Jesus becomes our identity. Today when God the Father, looks at you or me, He does not see us in our sins, but He sees the righteousness of Christ Jesus on us. This life is not about us, but all about Jesus. We can accomplish nothing on our own, not even church ministry. Many people in the church let ministry work and church service take the place of a real relationship with God, and it amounts to nothing. Even preaching is worthless unless it is done through Jesus with the strength that He gives (1st Peter 4:11).
Jesus truly is the meaning, purpose and strength of life. As we guard our hearts and stay focused on Him, we will experience not only true divine peace and joy in this life, but also a confident expectation and a future hope, as well.