February 12, 2019 • Life for Leaders
They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.
Two decades ago, American television audiences became transfixed by a new game show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Tens of millions of viewers watched as contestants tried to answer the right combination of questions to win a million dollars. While, for the most part, contestants had to rely on their own knowledge, wits, and good luck, they did also have three “lifelines”: 50/50, phone a friend, and ask the audience. With the help of these lifelines, several contestants managed to answer all fifteen questions correctly, thus becoming millionaires.
You and I have vital “lifelines” that help us to flourish in this life, even if we don’t win a million dollars on TV. God did not create us to live life on our own. Rather, we were made for community with God’s people and, in fact, with God himself, the source of life. I can’t think of better lifelines than these.
But everything took a major turn for the worse when human beings rejected God and his ways. Genesis 3 shows us that the vital relationships created for us were broken. Our lifelines were cut off. Thus, in Ephesians 2:12, Gentiles are said to be “excluded [apellotriomenoi] from citizenship in Israel,” and therefore severed from the people of God. It gets even worse in Ephesians 4:18, where the Gentiles are revealed to be “separated [apellotriomenoi] from the life of God.” Talk about a missing lifeline!
Of course, as created beings, we have physical life whether we are in relationship with God or not. Yet, even though our bodies are alive, when we are cut off from God, we are, in a sense, already dead (2:1). The good news is that God does not leave us in our solitary, fatal condition. Jesus Christ becomes the best lifeline of all, who, by grace, connects us to God’s own life. Thus, when, through faith, we receive God’s grace, God makes us alive with Christ (2:4).
If you’re a Christian, then you have used the ultimate lifeline. You have eternal life through Jesus Christ. This life is not just something to be enjoyed after you die, however. It is to be experienced each day as you live in conscious, consistent, covenantal relationship with God, the giver of life.
Something to Think About:
What got you to the point that you were ready to use your “lifeline” and call out to God to save you?
Are you living each day in relationship with God, the source of life? How do you experience God’s life on a daily basis?
Something to Do:
Take some time to reflect on where, in your life these days, you experience the life of God. As you think of ways God’s life is present in your life, give thanks. If you’re not sure where you are experiencing God’s life, ask the Lord for insight and clarity about this.
Gracious God, thank you for the “lifelines” you have given me. Thank you, most of all, for the gift of life in Jesus Christ.
Even as I have entered into your life through Christ, may I continue to live in your life each day. May I remain connected to you in my thoughts and feelings, in my words and actions. May my life be energized by your life in me. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary:
People Fall into Sin in Work (Genesis 3:1-24)
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.