4 Ways to Experience the Fullness of Life
Shrink wrap was a genius invention.
The scientific brilliance behind it is that it always shrinks down to the exact size of whatever it has been wrapped around.
Whether it's a piece of beef jerky or a boat in winter storage, the plastic molecules contour to the shape of the item to preserve and protect it.
Sin has a similar effect to shrink wrap, but not in a beneficial way. On the contrary, our sinful hearts cause damage by shrinking our life down to the size of selfish desires.
In the process, we hurt other people and miss out on the abundant and joyful life that God has available for us.
Think about it:
Husbands and wives, how many opportunities do we miss to deepen our relationship with our spouse because we shrink wrap our marriage down to the size of our selfish demands?
Moms and dads, how many opportunities do we miss to mold our children's souls because we shrink wrap our parenting down to the size of our selfish comforts?
Friends, how many opportunities do we miss to minister to others because we shrink wrap our relationships down to the size of our selfish preferences?
Neighbors, how many opportunities do we miss to be a light in our communities because we shrink wrap our lives down to the size of an selfishly enjoyable and risk-free schedule?
Is it wrong to enjoy comfort and have personal preferences? Not at all! But at times, these become idols in our heart, and sin shrinks our life down to the size of these selfish idols.
So how do we break free from the shrink wrap of sin and experience the fullness of life that God offers?
1. Think Long Term
C.S. Lewis wrote, "If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were those who thought most of the next ... Aim at Heaven and you will get earth thrown in."
If the entire length of our lives on earth is but an infinitesimal blip, we would do well to make daily decisions based on ten thousand years into eternity, and not in the moment of here and now.
2. Look Out the Window
When I was in seminary, my classmates and I would drive through a destitute part of Philadelphia every day. We were so proud of ourselves to be having robust conversations about doctrine and ministry.
It wasn't until I looked out the window one time to see broken houses, cars and people. I was filling my brain, but I had a shockingly uncaring heart! We would do well to look out the window and be grieved by the pain and hurt of others.
3. Remember What You Deserve
If you take credit for what only God's blessing could provide, you will find greater delight in being served than serving, and you will have a vigilant eye to how others are treating you.
We would do well to remember our plight as sinners and God's free gift of mercy on our life. It will keep us humble and grateful, excited to give more than receive.
4. Use Different Senses
God designed us to be physical people and placed us in a physical world. It's not wrong to enjoy the created world. But through faith, we would do well to define our lives more by what is unseen than by what can be heard, felt, touched or tasted.
Do you see any effects of shrink wrap in your life? I know that Paul Tripp is daily wrestling with a heart wrapped up in momentary, self-centered, entitled and physical desires!
But we're not left alone. Grace gives us a desire for a clean heart and provides us with resources of help to break free from the shrink wrap.
When we do, the energy of our life will be expended on something much bigger, more beautiful and soul satisfying!
1. Think Long Term: Think of a decision you made recently that would have been altered if eternity was in view.
2. Look Out the Window: Who is one person in your life right now that you treat with too much insensitivity?
3. Remember What You Deserve: Think of a specific way that you can serve instead of demand this week.
4. Use Different Senses: How can you use your enjoyment of the created world as an opportunity for ministry?