Tempted by the Ultimate
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10 NIV)
Many people think of Christianity as a restrictive worldview. After all, we have the ten commandments and hundreds of other Old Testament commands, not to mention many commands that came from the mouth of Jesus and his apostles. Our individualistic culture is dominated by the idea that one needs to do whatever is in one’s heart. “Be true to oneself” is the defining mantra. So, let’s grant that it is restrictive but ask what’s so bad about being restrictive? I suppose the thought is that if we strive to live by the prescriptions of Christianity, then our lives will be rigid and constrained. We would lose our freedom to live the way we want to live and nothing is worth the loss of freedom.
However, Jesus said that He came to give us life to the full, life more abundant. How could restriction ever lead to abundance? To see this, let’s think about the decision that faces every professional athlete at some point in his career. There is no doubt that for an athlete to be successful there has to be enormous sacrifice. The athlete must restrict his or her life from the normal activity of others to practice his or her athletic craft. But my guess is the athlete does not think that his or her life is rigid and constrained when he or she achieves success in his or her respective sport. In fact, the athlete has gotten to do things that only a few others get to do. There is a sense in which the restricted life has produced a greater freedom and along with this freedom comes greater pleasure.
C.S. Lewis once said: “Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” (The Weight of Glory)
All would agree that living an upright life is difficult and it is filled with temptations. Today, be tempted by the Ultimate. Don’t settle for the mud pies. Dr. Travis Dickinson is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Christian Apologetics at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and is the grandson of the late Pastor Bill Raws.
Keswick, America’s (2012-12-13). Real Victory for Real Life Volume 2 (Kindle Locations 4170-4189). . Kindle Edition.
Think About This: Remember: you are not fighting for victory, but from victory, for Jesus Christ has already defeated Satan! —Warren Wiersbe
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them. Proverbs 11:3