It was once thrown at me, by an ill-informed youth that didn’t know me, that “You Christians don’t know what you are missing”.
As someone who has experienced a certain amount of the (if you will pardon the cliche) ’university of life’, had I chosen to respond, I could have assured him that I did know exactly ‘what I was missing’ and was more than happy to pass on it for what I believe to be a better and more fulfilling end.
I feel like I have indeed, not just been ‘snatched from the jaws of death’, but also ‘snatched from the jaws of life’.
Let me explain what I mean by ‘snatched from the jaws of life’.
Some of it is explained in this video.
To say I was snatched from the jaws of life, I am referring to being directed away from the mundanity of the everyday, saved from being obsessed with and consumed by the things and ways of this world, this ‘life’.
I’ve not yet met anyone who, being completely immersed in consumer culture and obsessed with the things of this current life, is fulfilled and happy. It seems that the more you indulge your appetite for things and the more you consume, the bigger your appetite for it becomes.
My encounters with mortality and a car effectively snatched me away from being absorbed in consumerism and the constant rat run of bigger, faster, newer, more comfortable. They opened me up to something bigger and more permanent, something more fundamental.
The ancient Greek language had (amongst others) two specific different words for life – psyche and zoe. Psyche being the breath of life or the soul – the thing that means we breathe, live walk, talk etc., and Zoe being the spiritual realm of life, or ‘absolute fulness of life’ – something beyond the tangible living animate objects of humanity that we are.
This Zoe is the life that God opened my eyes to. Very quickly, I came to the realisation that if I chose to ‘miss out’ on some of the ‘delights’ on offer in this life, then there was a life available more colourful and more exciting than I’d ever imagined. And it wasn’t even something I had to chase and reach out for, that no sooner did I get my fingers on it, then it would slip through them and dissolve into ashes or rust.
FatFace – the clothing brand – has a catch-phrase “life is out there”.
FatFace are wrong! Yes, I know what they mean and there is a lot of fun to be had from extreme sports etc. but when we look at some of the words of Jesus in John 4:14, FatFace are very wrong.
“Those who drink the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Life isn’t out there, life is in here – that’s the Zoe life – the absolute fullness of life, the active and vigourous life, real and genuine, beginning at the point of acceptance of Christ and going on from that point continually, eternally, constantly.
That’s something that I don’t want to miss out on, maybe I should have replied to the young lad “you non-believers don’t know what you are missing”.
Jesus says in Matthew 16:25
“Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”
The life to lose in this situation is the psyche (both instances of the word life in this verse are the word psyche) but I believe Jesus is saying that if you lose the psyche for him, you will find the Zoe. And the zoe is much more important, much longer lasting and much more fulfilling.
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.