Having just returned from England and France I am intrigued by the long-history and stories of the monarchies. In the past I have enjoyed several historical fiction books about the various kings and queens of England, but after seeing again places like Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London it becomes much easier to envision.
Similarly being in Paris and learning more about what led to the French Revolution puts Jean Valjean (of Les Mis) stealing a loaf of bread in a new context for me. Wanting to learn more I am now engrossed in the book Before Versailles from the time of King Louis XIV.
And the fact that I have a horrible cough keeping me down and it’s raining makes staying in to read when I would normally being working, working out and running errands kind of nice 🙂
But, I had to put the book down to write as this sentence struck me…
…”there was no life that was real life without the king’s presence…”
The author, Karleen Koen, was referring to life for the nobility and those in the king’s court when the king was away. Their whole world revolved around him and what he was doing. Their jobs, livelihood and moods determined by him and his whereabouts.
All school year I have been studying the book of John, which is all about seeing that Life is found only in Jesus. So this word “life” jumped out at me. How true and aptly applied this could be to King Jesus.
Apart from Jesus there is no life that is real life!
Yet we turn to all these other things looking for meaning, significance and life. Just think about how we prioritize our day; our time.
Are we investing in people or things?
Seeking to build our own kingdoms or God’s?
Do we honor him with our lips but our hearts are far from him?
The whole book of John is ordered around the key verse John 20:31:
“but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
His teaching, the miracles he performed and ultimately his death and resurrection point to the fact that He is indeed King. Yet we are like those who witnessed these things first-hand, we keep searching for something more not really believing that He is enough, that He is all that He says He is and that He alone could possibly satisfy.
Instead we turn to a multitude of idols and lies in the pursuit of happiness only to find nothing ever completely measures up. Or perhaps it satisfies for a time but then we always want more; something bigger or better.
Or maybe in an effort to be close to God you focus your energy on doing good things and behaving well in hopes that you will be worthy and that God will bless you for doing these certain things and then you will feel better. But when that too fails you are either left burned out and empty from trying or remain on the perpetual treadmill that never stops to give you rest.
True life in Jesus is different. It is freedom. It is peace. It is rest.
It means we can stop striving because he did it all.
It means we are free to fail because Christ’s righteousness covers us.
It means we can confess and deal honestly with our sin because God’s grace is always greater.
So, how do we get this kind of real life? In a nutshell, by staying connected to the Word of God and having it dwell in you richly.
The gospel is not just for the unbeliever, it is for the believer! It is THE good news we must hear constantly from the pulpit and repeating through our own minds. We can never move off it because transformation comes only by hearing the word about Christ- Who He is and what He did for you. Not law, but grace!
The more we hear that teaching and it seeps deep in to our heart, the more we will find rest and know that He is Life. To be like the courtiers of the monarchies, where His presence in our life controls us.
Then as we seek to order our lives, our priorities, our relationships and investment of time, energy and money all to His glory, something interesting happens… we feel satisfied. Because we are living out how He created us to be.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace
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