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The 12 Days of Easter, Day 4: The Life Which I Now Live

Easter 6

Day 4: The Life Which I Now Live

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Galations 2:20

live1[liv]

verb

1. to feed or subsist (usually followed by on or upon):

2. to dwell or reside (usually followed by in, at, etc.)

3. to pass life in a specified manner

 

As we consider the verb live in the passage above, we see that as followers of Jesus, we don’t have to live out our lives on earth in our own strength. Rather, it is Christ who actually lives in us. The Greek word for live is zaoExploring its meaning gives us amazing insight into what kind of life Jesus means for us to have. According to the Blue Letter Bible, zao means, “active, blessed, endless in the kingdom of God.” It also means “living water, having vital power in itself and exerting the same upon the soul.”

During a recent vacation in Florida, I was riding with a cycling tour group. I could feel the sweat trickling down my head as I huffed and puffed my way to the next stop. Not accustomed to the heat and humidity, I felt my energy slipping away with each pedal. I finally made it to the break area and guzzled a bottle of cold, fresh water. My energy and vitality and desire to make it to the finish ramped back up, and I hit the trail again.

Too many of us are trying to live our lives without our spring of Living Water. We are huffing and puffing our way through jobs, callings, and relationships without tapping into our spiritual source of strength. Everyone has times of tiredness, but if we are not experiencing any active, powerful, blessed times of  walking with God, then we need a fresh drink of Living Water. Perhaps we are quenching the Spirit through sin, or we are just forgetting to ask God to fill us with a fresh breath of His Spirit. When we live by faith in the Son of God, He gives us strength and power for the journey.

point to ponder

Are you living in God’s strength or your own?

prayer 

Lord, we pray for your Living Water to infuse us with strength. Help us to live our lives being filled with your  Spirit and equipped for service. Grow our faith in You as we walk together. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

previous posts

Day 1 : Breath of Life

Day 2: The Life

Day 3. Eternal Life

 

live. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/live (accessed: February 23, 2015).




Four Words of Jesus That Change Everything

bigstock-Jesus-Lord-Emmanuel-43421104What does it mean to be blessed or to live a blessed life?

I was pondering that myself the other day after reading a section of scripture in John 13. Verses 16 and 17 say the following:

I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them (NIV, emphasis mine).

Jesus had just finished washing His disciples’ feet as a demonstration to them of how they should serve others, when He finished up with the statement that “you will be blessed if you do them.”

I stopped on the word blessed and considered it. I’ve always thought blessed to mean something good bestowed on me by God. But I was intrigued to look at the meaning in more depth.

The first two definitions in my Webster’s New World College Dictionary tell me that blessed means “1. holy, sacred; consecrated; 2. enjoying great happiness; blissful;” That seems about on par with what I’ve always thought.

But to truly understand the meaning, it makes the most sense to explore the Greek word  for blessing that is used in verse 17, which is makarios, so that’s what I did.

I wasn’t disappointed at what I found. 

My Keyword Study Bible explained the nuances of the word in this description:

“Biblically, one is pronounced blessed when God is present and involved in his life. The hand of God is at work directing all his affairs for a divine purpose, and thus, in a sense, such a person lives coram Deo, before the face of God.” The definition went on to state that blessedness also means sharing in the life of God and participating in the kingdom, and it includes all of these things: forgiveness, freedom of conscience, the Second Coming, the Holy Spirit, heavenly rest, and moral and spiritual purity. Even in suffering and pain, we can still be blessed because God’s purpose is behind it, ensuring that God will bring good out of it for us and glory to him.1

That’s a lot of meaning to meditate on from one small word.

Of all the insights the Greek word gives us, I have to say I’m both entranced by and scared by coram Deo, or living before the face of God. That implies so many things. To live before God’s face is a close, intimate relationship. It is comforting to know that God is right there living life with me each and every day. He’s there to guide me, love me, grow me, and comfort me.

It also means that I’d better ditch any thoughts I may have about just skating by on certain issues, actions, or attitudes. I’ve always understood that God knows everything about me, but when I ponder coram Deo, it attaches a whole new weight of intentionality to my life. I’m truly living before the face of God, so I want to do it right.

What does that look like for me?

Well, an initial thought concerns being more purposeful in how I spend my time. Are the things I’m reading, saying, spending my money on, exerting my energy on, dreaming about, and planning for — are these things, things that I feel good about living coram Deo? Do many of them benefit or serve others, like the example Jesus set for us, or are they only for my own good?

It’s a question I need to answer.

Before the face of God. It changes everything.

1 Zodhiates, Spiros, Th.D. Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible, NIV. Chatanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1996.




Small Things

And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” And there was evening, and there was morning —the fifth day. Genesis 1:20-23

Have you ever stood in amazement over God’s creation?

Maybe it was something massive and overwhelming that made you stop and stare, like a mountain or the Grand Canyon. I like to ponder the small things too. The absolute beauty and intricacy of a butterfly just takes my breath away. A butterfly will let you stand close enough to watch him unfurl his proboscis to sip sweet nectar from the flowers. But you need patience.

Jesus calls us to

                                      slow

                                                             down

                                                                                        enough

to notice the beauty God has surrounded us with in nature. Today, stop. Look around you. In what small thing do you notice beauty?