I have a question for you:~The good life Vs. The full life

Is it possible?

Some of you may know that I have been working on my first book, and one of the (possible) themes of this book is the the “full life” that Jesus promises us in John 10.

John 10:7-10

7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

My question to you is this: Do you think that the “good life” or “the American dream” prevents/limits us from experiencing the full life that Jesus speaks of? Now, I am not talking about the camel through the eye of the needle, money loving/grubbing person, either. I am talking about (you and I) the general, middle class, average American, and our pursuit of comfort, safety and entertainment. (especially in plain sight of so many who have so little) Is it at all possible to live in this culture and experience the “full” life that Jesus is talking about?  I feel like this may be one of the reason that Churches seem less authentic with a new generation. We say that Jesus offers a “new life” and the “full life”, but the church, in many respects, seems to suffer from the same condition as the world. Do we look any different? Is this the “full life” Jesus was talking about?

What do you think? your (constructive) comments, scripture references and thoughts are welcome!

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  • Matthew Kim

    Wow! This is a really thought provoking question. I think that ‘the good life’ does indeed take away from the full life that Jesus offers. In the John 10 verse, Jesus speaks about ‘The Good Shepherd and His Sheep’ as it’s titled. I think that the ‘gate’ is in reference to Heaven, by the way it talks about the Gatekeeper opening the gate for the Shepherd, and allowing the Shepherd to enter with his flock of sheep. Those who follow Jesus (our Shepherd) may enter the Kingdom on the day of judgement because God sees His perfect Son Jesus whom He recognizes, just like the Gatekeeper recognized the Shepherd instead of the sheep. So I think the full life is actually eternal life in Heaven.
    With that said, I think that pursuing ‘the good life’ or even ‘fundamental’ stability numbs us to many important practices in our relationship with God. One main example is the lack of dependency, and in turn lack of faith people have due to their efforts to obtain ‘the good life’ or a ‘stable life.’ No matter how hard we try we have no control over anything and everything can be stripped away from us in a blink of an eye (like in the book of Job). But the way the world portrays and urges the pursuance of material things that will rot away or be stolen (like described in Matthew 6:19) distracts us and makes us dependent on ourselves and causes us to worry. Putting faith in God is to trust Him no matter what (Job 1:22). A lot of things that constitutes to ‘the good life’ really aren’t necessities but luxuries. Things like video-games, iPods, phones, the ability to go watch a movie are all things that we can give up. $14 dollars for movie is like a months wage for a Haitian. Imagine what not watching movies for 6 months can do! In (Mark 8:34-36) Jesus says that we as followers must deny ourselves and and take up our cross, to value God over our own agenda and to lose our life so that we may gain it. In the Matthew verse above, it says to store treasures in Heaven and not in this world, and that where our treasure is, our heart will also be there. So investing in God and not a worldly lifestyle will help to focus our minds and hearts on God and eternal life. It’s really encouraging that eternity is in fact eternity because it gives you a comparison between now (and the things that don’t last) and the everlasting. Like the seeds in ‘The Parable of the Sower’ (Luke 8:1-15) we have to look at the end result of eternity and seek to be strengthened by God in order to avoid the fate of the other seeds, which got devoured and consumed. I think that investing in ‘the good life’ can distract us but I’m always thankful that God provides. Trusting the creator of the universe over ourselves can’t be that hard right? :]

  • Eric Garner

    There have been countless conversations you and I have had Barry about finances and materialism, and we have never stated that it is all bad; but what our hearts and minds make of them is what determines their true value. Jesus never said to the Rich Young Ruler that having stuff was a bad thing because many items in our day are necessary. Out of the teaching Jesus taught to that young man and is still teaching today is that you must be willing to let all things go no matter their earthly value to follow him. That following him carries a value unlike no other item in this world or achievement that can scratch the sureface of what Jesus offers…the full life. You ask a great question, “what is the full life and can we have both here in the states or else where in the world with our level and demand of comfortability? I do not believe anyone will discover their full life promised by Jesus by not making Jesus the front and center of every aspect and decision made in their daily life. The world constantly is pumping into our minds to make more and to have more; but Jesus speaks about moths and rust over materialistic items, and the we are even subject to being disposed for all we are is dust. I believe the more any heart walks with Jesus through all circumstances and daily life they will begin to want less of the world and want more of the full life in Christ. I have not been happier having so little; but experiencing such wonderful times of community in Philidelphia on my missions trip. That to me was life in the full. :)

  • Eric Garner

    I’m up working on tomorrow’s Sunday school class and this is what I will speaking about. I truly do believe you cannot have your way of full life and ever experience the amazing journey of a full life by actively every day walking with the Lord. It is like eating a snickers bar before a surprise dinner your mom was cooking for you. You know it is a surprise dinner; but don’t know the contents; but there is a snickers bar tempting you as if it were better than the steak and potato dinner. We just don’t hold out long enough for the Lord to lift off the cover of that amazing dinner time and time again.

    I am just rambling; but there is such a bigger story than our story to be told. I heard this today that was amazing.

    You hear every spoken need but yet your love is greater than giving us lesser things. Wow!