[forthright] How to Get a Life

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From: "Forthright Magazine" <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2008 20:39:08 -0300
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: FINAL PHASE

How to Get a Life
by Randal Matheny, editor

   Note: This article was written in a simple
   style for The Voice of Truth International.

"I need to get a life!" People get frustrated with
their lives or feel things are not going the way they
should. They sometimes express their frustration with
the above phrase. It suggests that one can go out and
buy a new life. Or switch it out as you would replace a
car part or a piece of equipment.

You cannot snap your fingers or clap your hands and
make a new life appear. A magician cannot wave a magic
wand so that a life will pop out of a hat. Nor will you
find a new life in the next box of cereal.

What does God's Wonderful Message say to a person who
really wants to "get" a life?

First, your desire must be more than a mere wish. Your
frustration with your life as it is must motivate you
to decide to change. Desire is not decision. Feelings
of frustration or sadness about your life do not mean
that change will occur.

Jesus knew that. He came for this very reason. He said,
"I came that they [all people] might have life, and
might have it abundantly" (John 10:10, NASV).

We can have this new life only if we are willing to
give up the old one. It's a tough decision, but a
necessary one.

Second, know what life is. It is not getting rid of
problems. It is not acquiring wealth and material
possessions. It is not doing less work and finding more
time for recreation.

Real life is defined for us. It is called eternal life.
In the gospel of John, it is described, "And this is
eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true
God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent" (John 17:3).

This life is called eternal because it shares the
character of God. It is both quality and quantity. It
is eternal because it is life with God.

Third, you cannot get a life, as the phrase suggests,
but you may receive it. Man's efforts to build a life
are futile and useless. We receive this life with God
when we are born again (anew) in baptism (John 3:3,5).
"[T]he Son also gives life to whom He wishes" (John
5:21).

Our obedience to the gospel means that we reject our
own attempts to produce a satisfying, lasting life in
order to be blessed with the free gift of living with
God.

Fourth, a life is built one thought, one word, one
action at a time. We do not stumble suddenly upon the
right kind of life or wake up one day and discover we
are exactly what we would like to be.

Jesus says that those will live forever "who did the
good deeds to a resurrection of life" (John 5:29). Paul
tells us that salvation (a synonym for God's life) must
be "worked out" or developed because God is working in
us (Phillipians 2:12-13).

Character is the sum of our thoughts, words, and
actions. God's character is produced in us when we
think like Jesus, talk like Jesus, and act like Jesus.

Don't try to get a life. We all need life. But we can
only receive it from the hands of Jesus Christ. He
said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John
14:6).

----
Read this article online, write your reaction, and
read others' comments as well. Click here:
http://www.forthright.net/final_phase/how_to_get_a_life.html

Want to read a bit about Randal's life and work? Check
out this link, where he reports on his latest efforts:
http://randalmatheny.com/2008/02/25/churches-note-gains-and-losses/

You can help get the word out. Here's how:
http://www.forthright.net/editorial/lend_a_hand.html