Jesus promises us “Life”, and he said he meant “Life to the Full.”1 He really did mean this, you know. He wants it for you. And you can have it. But most of us are missing it … all of us are to varying degrees, some badly. You’re running on empty, fueled by coffee and busyness, and that next thing that has got to get done.
We are distracted, and we are missing the fullness of life in the Kingdom.
I can just picture Satan reminding his minions at each training session: “Remember guys, if you can’t defeat them, distract them.”
Distraction is an old art of war, as well as politics – even sports. I watched Lower Richland High School, coached by Mooney Player, win the SC State Championship game using distraction.
As the teams were lined up and waiting for the opening kick-off, the Lower Richland kicker and his spotter started arguing with each other. They came to blows and soon half the kicking team had piled on in a melee. The other team looked on, mesmerized, and astonished.
Then another Lower Richland player stepped over and kicked an onside kick which his teammates easily scooped up and scored. The opponents, totally distracted by the fight, missed the ball entirely.
So do we.
The casualty is our relationships, and any hope of intimacy.
Because we are distracted, we tend to try to maintain our relationships, instead of nourishing them. We do this with our spouses, our children, our parents, and others who should be important to us. What’s the difference? I think you intuitively know. Maintaining a relationship is more like checking in to check it off your check list – of things that ought to be done. Or must be done.
Maintaining is spending time with someone; nourishing is investing time in them.
You know the difference. Trust me, so do they.
We spend our energy and focus all day on work and activities, and fail to invest in our most important relationships. We spend time maintaining, but fail to invest time nourishing. Maintaining keeps us in touch; nourishing is when we truly touch. When you are maintaining you might be there, but you’re not really there.
When you are nourishing, you’re fully there, in the moment, looking and listening. Remember this: if you’re not looking, you’re not listening.
Maintaining yields conversations; nourishing yields compassion and caring. You know the difference. Trust me, so do they.
And so does your heavenly Father.
I’d like you to stop and think for a moment: Are you just maintaining a relationship with Jesus, checking in, but typically checked out? Who does all the talking? Come on, be objective here. Are you truly investing your heart when you are sharing time with the Lord?
Or are you just phoning it in, multi-tasking with God … maintaining your required religious checklist – just to feel safe you’re in with God? Ugh. There is no intimacy in maintaining. There is no nourishment. And there is no “Life to the full” without both.
Jesus understood intimacy overflows when we truly give ourselves to him, and to each other.
He encourages us to “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”2
When we nourish, intimacy flourishes.
So may you push back on your distractions, and may you then come to understand God’s desire, that “you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”3
“ …filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Intimacy. Nourishment. Life to the full. Overflowing. It takes time. It takes investing. It takes looking and listening: with your loved ones, and with your Lord.
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Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved