Who does not want an abundant life, a fulfilled life, a life that matters?
Lack of a sense of meaning and significance in life scales down from disappointment through discouragement to depression. We fall into these dark states because we buy into a lie – a lie of an exaggerated life.
We are surrounded by embellished images of life that alter our perception of reality. This exaggerated life is sold mainly through the media. And because exaggerated life is so unreal, longing for it and not being able to achieve it leads us to discontent. It makes us addicted to a consumerism of products, ideas, remedies, therapies. Someone said ‘consumerism is not about buying, it is about shopping.’ It is a constant restlessness to own more. Today’s latest fashion becomes tomorrow’s charity shop donation; today’s make up tomorrow’s imitation of the next even better one; today’s ground breaking idea tomorrow’s narrow-minded view.
Not wanting to miss out on anything, we wait for life to happen. Maybe the next job will bring me fulfilment, maybe the next career, maybe the next person I meet.
Perhaps you think there are certain things that need to be present in your life to add meaning to it; this job you need so much, this relationship you long for, this opportunity you have been waiting for… some of us are waiting for life to come to us. Some of us miss life altogether.
That is why the words of Jesus that He is the Bread of Life are so relevant today. He offers himself, our desperate wait is over, he comes to us. But we are occupied looking for other breads that may fill our ambitions and emptiness.
We see that even in the New Testament people were not searching for Jesus. They were searching for the things he could give them. In fact they created a vision of a Messiah that was based on false expectation and selfish, distorted ideas. They wanted enemy free economic bliss, not abundant life, not eternal life. Consumed with filling their bellies they could not see beyond that.
Jesus comes and says I am the bread of life. In the New Testament there are three words for ‘life’:
- 1. Bios, in Luke 8:14: “…anxieties and riches and pleasure of this life.” This Greek word refers to the life of the physical body and is where we get the word biology.
- Psyche, in Matt. 16:25: “For whoever wants to save his soul-life shall lose it.” The Greek word here refers to the psychological life of the human soul, that is, the mind, emotion, and will. It is where we get the word psychology.
- Zoe, inJohn 1:4: “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” Here the Greek word refers to the uncreated, eternal life of God, the divine life uniquely possessed by God.”
Strong’s concordance says that the Zoe life is “of the absolute fullness of life, both essential and ethical, which belongs to God, life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed.”
Wow! I want this life! I want to put away my broken toys and mature into a life that is not perishable, one that is beautifully available in its simplicity. Bread of life. This bread not even denied to prisoners in the darkest cells, so simple.
Maybe next time you pray ‘give us this day our daily bread’, instead of thinking for a measure of daily strength, peace, joy or whatever else you need, pray for more of Jesus. Maybe instead of praying for this new job, new house, new relationship or new opportunity, pray for more of Him. Daily receive him, Jesus, the means and meaning of life. This abundant life you long for so much says ‘I AM.’
Joanna has a passion for mentoring female leaders to become mentors for a new generation. She is a founding director of One Rock, a board member of Renovare UK, a lecturer with Westminster Theological College, and is studying for a doctorate with Asbury Theological Seminary. She has written a biographies on Hudson Taylor and Amy Carmichael.