“Get a life, chum”

To a person who’s moaning about how tough his life is it’s tempting to tell him, “Get a life, chum” – meaning, “Come on, live life the way it can be lived, full of challenge, excitement, creativity, learning, ideas, projects, and all the things that make a human leap out of bed in the morning ready to hit another day with all cylinders firing.”

And for many people that is the goal, so that one day they can look back on a life well lived, a life lived to the full, a life that made a difference, a life that wasn’t wasted. But is that really what “getting a life” means?

Not according to Colossians 3:4. To Paul a person has only “got a life” when Christ is his life. Only when Christ is living his life in us do we actually come alive (Colossians 2:13). Our “hope of glory” – or getting the life God had in mind for us – is only possible with “Christ in us” (Colossians 1:27).

These must be shocking statements to people who think they’re getting a life without Christ. But Christ came to this planet to show us that he alone is the source of life for us, because wherever he went things “came alive” that couldn’t come alive of themselves. He gave sight to the blind, raised the dead, and calmed raging storms in a second. Suddenly, here was a man who controlled life, gave life, and re-created life in the lifeless. Life obeyed him, life came from him, and dead life came alive again. How much clearer could it be that in him was life?

But why was it necessary for Christ to show us that? Because humanity was hopelessly lost looking for life from other sources. In Jesus’ day there were thousands of gods and idols, all of which people depended on as sources of life, just like people today who look to all sorts of physical activities and experiences to “get a life.” But none of our gods can give us life because we all start off life “dead in our transgressions,” Ephesians 2:5. No object or action of our own creation can reverse or correct that, either. But Christ did and Christ can, because we “come alive with Christ” (same verse).

And by life Paul meant being “filled with all the fullness of God,” Ephesians 3:19. This is no ordinary life we are given with Christ; it’s the fullness of God which Christ himself is (Colossians 1:19). To come alive with Christ, therefore, means coming alive with his life in us, so that we can, at last, get the life GOD meant us to have from the beginning.

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