Living The "Zoe" Life

Dear Friends,

Do you ever find yourself wrestling over a verse or passage of Scripture? Perhaps because it's hard to understand or grasp. Or perhaps it doesn't fit with your experience.

For some months, possiby years, there has been one verse which I've wrestled with. It's this one from John 10:10b Where Jesus says, "My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life." (NLT). Other translations use words such as an abundant life, life in all it's fullness, enjoy life to the full, everything they need.

What is this kind of life that Jesus is talking about? Is it really possible to experience it ourselves? I want to share with you the place I'm at right now in my journey of understanding.

We will never fully understand all that the Bible has to teach us and sometimes we (I) will get it wrong. You may very well disagree with how I am interpreting what I read. But if it causes any of us to go back to the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to help us understand what he wants to say to us, then this can only be a good thing.

With that said, here's what I've been learning...

I think there are times when we interpret God's Word from our earthly perspective. We look at it from our 21st Century viewpoint. So, when we read about the abundant, rich, satisfying and full life that Jesus promises us, we may think it is referring to things such as good health, a successful career, a wonderful marriage, perfect kids, regular holidays, cars, other possessions etc. A life with no difficulties, no struggles and no problems. 

But the reality of our life is usually something far different. If I'm not experiencing the kind of abundant life I described above, then what's gone wrong? Has something wrong? Am I not living in faith? Am I failing in my relationship with God? Is God's promise not for me? Is he not able to keep his word?  

Does the fact that I struggle with poor health mean that the abundant life is not for me, that's it's beyond my reach? If our lives include health issues, relationship breakdown, unemployment, persecution, loss of possessions, poverty, trials etc. does that mean we cannot know what it means to have an abundant life? 

If we are searching for this kind of abundant life we will forever be disappointed. We will never know what it means to be content. We will always be dissatisfied. We will always be wanting more. Is this really what Jesus meant in John 10:10?

Or can we know the abundant life Jesus is describing despite our circumstances?

I'm no Greek scholar, but with the help of some books I have, I've learned that there are several Greek words for life. One is "bios" which refers to lifestyle, wealth, possessions. Another one is "zoe" and this is the word used in John 10:10. It refers to our spiritual life.

Lawrence Richards writes that "the principle of [this] life lifts our vision beyond our earthly existence to reveal a unique quality of life that spans time and eternity and that has it's roots in God." (You might need to read that a few times, I know I did!)

The Greek word for "abundantly" is "perissos" and means above the common, superabundant (in quantity), superior (in quality), beyond measure.

I don't know about you, but this excites me. This is the kind of quality life I want - not in the distant future, but right here and now.

This is the life which God has in himself and which he gave to Jesus as he lived out his life on earth. Jesus says in John 5:24-26 “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life. 25 And I assure you that the time is coming, indeed it’s here now, when the dead will hear my voice—the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen will live. 26 The Father has life in himself, and he has granted that same life-giving power to his Son. (NLT).

Jesus is eternal life (1 John 1:2) and he gives this life to all of us who choose to believe in him. "so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:15-16 (NLT).

This "zoe" life means that God has blessed you and me with every kind of spiritual blessing. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Ephesians 1:3 (NIV) The life he gives us is superabundant, overflowing, above the common. And it's a life God wants for us all to experience and enjoy. 

With this life from God comes:
- his grace, mercy, kindness and forgiveness
- his presence with us always; he walks alongside us; he's interested in every facet of our day; he will never leave us
- his unconditional love  and acceptance
- his supernatural joy which is not dependent on our circumstances, what we have or don't have
- the sure hope of eternal life; we know that one day we will be with God in heaven and see him face to face
- peace in every situation
- wisdom, guidance and direction
- strength for the journey
- one who is greater than anything that comes against us
- purpose, meaning and satisfaction
- and more.

Nothing and no one can take this life from us.

This "zoe" life is not dependent on what I have or don't have. It's not dependent on my circumstances, on others, my work,  my achievements or anything else. Whatever my life is right now,  I can still enjoy a "zoe" life which is beyond measure and above the common because I have the life of Christ in me. 

This is why Paul was able to write: Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. Philippians 4:11-12 (NLT).

I like the wording of John 10:10 as paraphrased in the Message: I [Jesus] came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

The "zoe" life is real, it's eternal, it's more and it's better than any other kind of life we could want or wish for.

To Think About:
This "zoe" life is available to all who believe in God. Is there anything in your life which may be hindering you from really experiencing this life as God intended? What can you do about that?

Has what you've read changed your perspective about life and how it's to be lived? In what ways may it have helped, encouraged or challenged you?

What are your circumstances right now? Whether they may be described as good or bad, how do you see God's "zoe" life in you?

If  what you read was of interest to you, then you may like to know that my book "Dear Friend...52 Weekly Devotions to Encourage, Challenge and Inspire" is available to buy from Amazon. (It's content is material adapted from previous blog posts.) To learn more, click on the link below:


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