A couple years back, I found myself in a serious conversation with someone about life, dreams, purpose etc. but the most significant part of that conversation was when the person I was having this discussion with asked me if I was alive or if I was living. Until that moment I never knew there could be such a difference between the two, and for the first time in my life I began questioning what living really meant. I was impacted to such an extent that for months after I kept asking myself if I was existing yet another day, or if I was truly living every moment I was given. It doesn’t seem like a serious question until you begin to understand the distinct difference between the two – and today we are gonna get real deep so sit tight and read carefully!
Living means so much more
As most would define it, to be alive, is to simply exist. You are here yet another day breathing; with a heartbeat, and blood flowing through your veins. You are part of this world simply occupying space. You get up daily to pursue the goals and aspirations that are expected of you to pursue in hopes that you somehow find fulfillment for yourself, and approval from those around you. Without realizing it, life simply becomes a predictable routine – until one day, you wake up and realize that you never truly lived, you just existed.
However, when you discover the true meaning to living you realize there is so much more to life than what you think you are built for. You begin to see yourself outside the box that everyone around you tries to fit you into. You no longer wake up each day for a routine, but you wake up each day anticipating and looking forward to the new heights you will reach, and victories you will taste. You stop living your life through the dreams and visions others have for you, and boldly step out in the person you were made to be – a unique individual with a unique task.
Discover what it means to live
So how do we discover what it means to live? There are countless books written by great authors, and many theories formed out there which all claim they have discovered the true meaning of life. Perhaps, many have motivated you and even made you feel good. But before I proceed, I want to make it clear that what God has led me to share with you today is not here to serve you as a motivational speech so that you walk away feeling good for the moment. Rather, I want you to be exposed to the word of truth that will transform your life. I know “transform” is a very strong word, but I use it confidently because that’s exactly what happens when you believe in the power revealed through the word of God.
So let’s dive in! John 14:6 is a verse I want to use today to highlight four important points that have answered this question for me. It’s a very common verse that has been said many times, yet it holds a great secret. In this verse Jesus says these famous words: “I am the way and the truth and the life“.
1) ‘I AM’: The first and most important acknowledgement that needs to be made, is in these two words: “I am“. Names not only have specific meanings, but they are also used to identify someone specifically, or their specific characteristics. In this case, the Greek word I am (eimai) is a very intense way of referring to oneself. There is sense of ultimate authority that is translated, and is equivalent to saying “I myself, and only I, am”. There are many times in which God uses the same intensive form to identify himself as the one and only, to those whom He would encounter, for instance in Exodus 3:14 God tells Moses “I AM WHO I AM”. This I AM has always been, and will always be. He is eternal and everything within and outside of time belongs to Him. There is no beginning or end to Him, and everything that does have a beginning and an end exists only through Him. In other words, before life began, before time began, before you came around, HE ALWAYS WAS and He will continue to be even after you pass, and even after time as we know it stops. When you begin to understand that He is an eternal being, you begin to realize that life and everything within it only begins through Him.
2) ‘The Way’: The second important declaration He makes is the assurance that He is the only way. But what does that mean? A way is a path, a particular route – but to what? Ever really wondered what He is telling you He is the way to? The verse obviously states that He is the way to the Father, but let’s go a little deeper into this. When we talk about living life of wisdom, discernment, love, forgiveness, discipline, guidance, peace, joy, purpose, etc. we are looking for a route to take. In order to live such a life, we need to follow a particular path. For instance, if you want to live a life of wisdom then you need to seek a source of (a way to) ultimate wisdom. If you want to live a life of discipline, then you must find ‘someone or something’ that will discipline your ways and character. If you want to live a life of forgiveness and love, then you must look at the ultimate and most perfect example of forgiveness and love. Regardless of how you’re living your life there is always a path that you are on, a route you are taking. So when Jesus says, “I AM the way”, he is simply saying “I know the way to this life you are trying to live, so follow me and by doing so, you will find everything that you need and are looking for to really live”. There is only one standard of living acceptable to God, and that standard is found in the ways of His son Jesus.
3) ‘The Truth‘: He doesn’t just speak truth, but HE IS the truth. What does this mean? In order to understand Jesus’ claim of what He means when He says He is the truth, there needs to be a correct understanding of what ‘truth’ means (which to be honest, can be a bit complicated in our society today since everyone has a distorted definition to truth). But to keep this brief, when Jesus says “I AM the truth” He is making the claim that He is the ultimate truth – the definition of truth – the ultimate reality (we will dedicate a separate blog post towards examining this further).
4) ‘The LIFE‘: I can sit on this point and write pages after pages, but there is no need to confuse you and complicate things with heavy sentences. So – I’m going to communicate this with you in the most candid way possible. The reality, and simple truth is that HE IS THE CREATOR OF LIFE. The very first page, and first sentence in the bible begins with a sentence that describes exactly what He did first: “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. The FIRST thing God tells you about Himself is that He is a creator. And the thing about God is that what He does, is also who He is. So for instance He does not only love, but He Himself is love. He does not just give joy, He Himself is joy. He does not just bring peace, but He IS peace – You get the point? Therefore, if He is the creator of life then life itself is found only within Him. Yet, the problem with so many of us today is that we take this gift of life, but we don’t want to abide in the One who gives life. As a result, we are never able to fully live life because we are constantly chasing after other sources to feel alive. We are looking at our dreams, our wishes and desires, our accomplishments or our careers, or our education to find that sense of fulfillment. Imagine wanting to be alive, but not wanting to rely on oxygen to live, how can that ever be possible? Yet, that is exactly what we are attempting to do when we separate ourselves from the source of life, in order to live life. Jesus said “I AM the life” and in that He is not just telling you that He is your source to your spiritual life, but that He is your ultimate source in also living your physical life. John 10:10 Jesus says “.. I came that they may have life, and life ABUNDANTLY”. He desires for you to truly live in such a way, that even you haven’t yet imagined for yourself.
So, let’s conclude: I know you have had A LOT to read and digest, but this is the kind of richness that is stored up and waiting to be absorbed by us when we take the initiative to really study Him through His word. We can now agree that the first step towards truly living is acknowledging and understanding the one who grants us life, the one and only ‘I AM’ Understanding that in His eternal being, our very existence is found. When we fully recognize Him as our source for existence, then we can follow His route – His way, towards not only understanding Him even better, but also towards understanding how we can live this life in the most and purposeful sense. In these four words of the verse we broke down, Jesus reveals and makes great declarations of Himself as the great “I Am,” the only path to righteousness, the only true measure of righteousness, and the source of both physical and spiritual life. In Him, the way of life, the truth to life, and reason to life is found. When we have grasped this, then we have discovered what it really means to live, and have finally stopped simply existing.
Personally speaking, my greatest sense of inspiration to truly live, came when I understood this. I say this because the quality of life begins to change when you challenge yourself to understand the One who has given you this life to live. This is not some charismatic blog geared towards pushing God on you. As I mentioned in the beginning, my post today is not here to serve you as a motivational speech or to make you feel good. My only purpose, is to share with you truth that has inspired me to live, in hopes that it will inspire you too!
See you next Monday!