Church Army - Inspire March 09 - Brimming with hope
KOFO BAPTIST looks at what it means to live life to the full in Christ
Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be filled with joy? Not your average everyday joy, but a certain kind of renewable joy that comes as if from a spring, never ending, always on auto top-up?
Have you ever thought about life and what it would be like without the stress and hassle that has become commonplace in many hearts? If instead of the frustrations, heartbreaks and disasters, life brought a kind of rich abundance, one that ignites a fire from within; that brings calm in the storm and brings encouragement when hope seems far away?
Have you ever loved and failed miserably at it? Reached for something and watched it slip from your grasp? Cried out and choked as your anguish fell on deaf ears? Have you ever striven for glory only to be defeated by another? Yearned for recognition but no-one noticed?
We may have experienced these things at one time or another. While the people who dominate our news seem to have it all together, living unblemished and near-perfect lives, the reality for many of us is that life is not a bed of roses.
Many know only too well the sting of the economic and spiritual state of the country. Divorce is on the increase and the state of youth culture often makes us despair.
So what does Jesus have to say about this? In John 10:10, Jesus tells us that in the midst of whatever we have to face, he is there to give us life to the full. The life he talks about is not a promise of physical wealth and riches, a ticket to fame or a bulletproof guarantee that there will be no more trials and tribulations.
The life he talks about is a life in him; one that delights in light, love, hope, freedom, knowledge and understanding. He talks about a relationship, a friendship, a kinship, a bond, and he reminds us of the importance of living a life that is rich in all things to do with God.
When people do not know who Jesus is and do not develop a strong relationship with him, things can easily fall to pieces. Jesus says those who want life to the full can pick up their cross and follow him.
To know and love him is to live life to the full. “Seek first the Kingdom of God and all its righteousness and everything else shall be added unto it” (Luke 12:31).
Jesus promises an extraordinary life, sparkling with colours and filled with hope. So much hope, that you can live every day knowing God holds your life in his hands and is completely on your side.
God will use anyone, shape and mould anything for his glory but he needs a willing heart to work with. When we live out of our own strength, then life can be dull and meaningless. Challenges can become heavy weights around our necks and storms may bring the world crashing around our ears.
When we really walk with Jesus as if our lives depended on it, and because our lives do depend on it, then we will see that life to the full in Christ is beautiful and worth every single word of promise the Bible talks about.
Church Army’s Life to the Full appeal asks us to consider praying for and financing Church Army Evangelists. They share the gospel in a variety of situations to help people discover just what it means to follow Jesus and enjoy a new life – a life to the full.
Whether it's working in community centres, on the streets, in youth groups, with homeless people or with new parents, Church Army Evangelists share their faith in everyday situations with people who need to know about the love of Christ. Evangelists such as Louise Yaull, ministering in a local GP surgery in Sheffield and Tim Hyde setting up a new form of church among the tower blocks of Weston in Southampton – these are just two of hundreds of Church Army Evangelists working right across the UK and Ireland to bring the good news of the gospel to those outside the reach of church as we know it.
- You can find out more about how Church Army is working by visiting www.churcharmy.org.uk/people where you can view a short film about our Evangelists and their work.
- You can find out about the Life to the Full appeal by visiting www.lifetothefull.org.uk or calling us on 0208 309 3519 to make a donation.
HOW TO HAVE LIFE TO THE FULL
You cannot have life to the full if you don't know the Son of God who gives abundant life. Pick up a Bible and find out why he is so important. Speak to a Christian friend or pastor about any questions you may have.
Following Jesus is not a microwaved route to overnight success. It is an act of love, done out of obedience, no matter what the cost.
Love is not a feeling, it is a verb, a doing word. If we say we love God, then we need to live like he exists.
Whose report will you believe? The world that tells you that you can't, or the God that tells you that you can.
This is a key element of faith. You cannot serve a master you cannot obey. If you want him to be Lord of your life, then you have to learn to obey him, even when it means denying yourself the things you think you can’t live without.