I have interacted often with men and women who feel something is missing from their faith. Perhaps they want to go deeper or desire to feel connected to Christ in the everyday moments as much as they do in Bible study or at a church service. These interactions are always wonderful because of their personal, tender, and conversational nature. As such, this new series of blog posts will focus on the topic of abiding in Christ through a different, more personal format..
In this series, each post will be framed as an email correspondence to a friend who is seeking to get ‘more’ out of his or her faith. My hope is that by exploring this topic as a conversation, you will resonate with the message as deeply as if it were a letter addressed to you.
To: Friend Seeking More from Faith
From: Doug Nuenke
Subject: Life as it was Meant to Be
I was excited when you mentioned you want to talk with me about the kind of life God intends us to have. Your comment that you’ve “seen and known many people who claim to be Christian, yet have a wide variety of character and lifestyles” is a common observation. Over the years, I too have felt a disparity between the life of faith as it was meant to be, and life as it actually is. I’m hopeful that our conversations will bring some clarity for both of us.
I am convinced that an extraordinary life is available to us. Jesus’ followers used three different words in Greek that all can be translated to “life” in English. The first word, psyche, speaks of the substance of life every human being possesses – an idea we would call the soul. Every person is a living and breathing soul. Beyond mere physical existence it is our soul that makes us truly alive in a different way than an oak tree or a farm animal. How we choose to live will dictate the quality of that life. As you have pointed out, the quality of some people’s lives seems more like a farm animal’s than a human being’s! And that’s where the other two words come into play.
The two other words, in a way, speak of two distinct qualities of life.. Bios is the word for physical life. It speaks of our physical existence on planet earth. It is Bios life that we share with trees and whales – we are living things who have two states of existence – alive or dead. Zoe, on the other hand is the word that Jesus used to describe the fullness of life intended for us by God. It is a word used often by Jesus to describe life in relation to Him. Our souls, or the substance of our lives (psyche) will either be engaged in just living out our days in this world (bios) or will live in fullness of life (zoe) as God designed and made possible through Jesus.
At the heart of the question “Is there more?” is the longing for zoe life, a life of vitality and fullness. Unfortunately, as you’ve noted, many people are just existing in a bio life – breathing, eating, working, and sleeping one day at a time – till they one day stop breathing! I sense from our interactions you are interested in more than that. I know I am.
I have so much more to say about the practicalities of a zoe life, but this email is already getting long and I must run. In our next correspondence, I would love to explore the element of choice as we pursue the fullness of life.
Until then, take care my friend.