Many of us connect eternal life with life after death, something that happens after we die. Paul offers a powerful vision of eternal life now: a life rooted in gentleness, love, endurance, and faith. It is a life seeking to love as God loves and to walk in God’s ways, following Jesus into the world. He describes this as the life “to which you were called and for which you were made.” This, he says, is eternal life.
Eternal life is not only some other plane of existence after we die. It means living the depth dimension of the now. Eternal life means expanding our field of vision to see the bigger picture of God’s life moving in us and others, a life that is bigger and more permanent than our immediate circumstance. Paul says this is abundant life, eternal life, living squarely in the presence of God right here, right now.
To make his point, Paul contrasts eternal life with a picture of a painful life. He describes a life never satisfied, chasing more and more, inevitably empty and broken. We can easily be “trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” Echoing Jesus’ parable in Luke, Paul warns against mistaking affluence for abundant life.
Abundant life is not built on the stuff we buy, our bank accounts, our appearance, or our status. These are the world’s marks of a successful life. Jesus offers much, much more: eternal life that we start living now, rooted in love, full of energy and vitality that cannot be destroyed by changing circumstance. This abundant life—walking with God, loving as God loves with gentleness, faith, and endurance—is your truest and eternal life. The life “for which you were made.”
O God, open my eyes to the eternal life before me right now, your abundant life in me. Amen.
While Jeremiah is in prison, God tells him to buy a field. This transaction shows that in the future, life will return to normal. It is an “enactment prophecy,” where a prophecy is given through actions instead of just words. The psalmist rejoices in the protection that God provides to the faithful. God is a fortress, a covering, and a shield. Paul admonishes his readers not to fall into materialism. The love of money, not money itself, is the root of all kinds of evil, and those obsessed with it build their hopes on shifting sands. Jesus tells a parable about a rich man who has fallen into that very trap. Only after death, when it is too late, does he realize his mistake.
Read Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15. How do you live as if God’s promises were already true?
Read Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16. How do you turn toward God with hope in times of darkness?
Read 1 Timothy 6:6-19. Whether you have few or many possessions, how do they get in the way of your following Jesus?
Read Luke 16:19-31. God knows each of us by name. Do you know the names of the persons in your community who have obvious or internal unmet needs?
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