How to Live in High Definition
How to Live in High Definition
It was back in 1966 when England last won the football World Cup, yet I can still remember the moment. As children, we were watching the match on a black and white television set. We could never get a very good picture; it was always fuzzy and going into lines. We were quite happy with it since we did not know anything different. One day, we discovered all it needed was an aerial! Suddenly, we found that we could get clear and distinct pictures. Our enjoyment was transformed.
Now, not only do we have colour television, we can get high definition (HD). There are no fuzzy lines or distortions, and it produces a richer, bolder and more vibrant picture than ever before.
Rather than black and white, or even colour, Jesus offers you high-definition life. There are two Greek words for ‘life’. The word ‘bios’, from which we get the word ‘biological’ means the condition of being alive rather than dead – mere existence. The other word ‘zoe’ means the full, abundant, spacious, open-hearted, richness of life that Jesus speaks about – a life of fulfilment and purpose. This is life in high definition.
Enjoy the High-Definition lifeProverbs 11:19-28
The book of Proverbs sets out two paths: one leads to ‘death’ (v.19b); the other leads to ‘life’ (v.19a). The path that leads to death is the path of evil (v.19b), perversity (v.20a), wickedness (v.21a), meanness (v.24b), hoarding (v.26a) and trusting in wealth (v.28a).
The path that leads to life is for those who are righteous (vv.19,21). You are ‘righteous’ through your faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:22).
In this passage we see a description of what this life is like. It is not mere existence. It is high-definition living. It means enjoying God’s delight (Proverbs 11:20b). It is a life of freedom (v.21b). It ‘ends only in good’ (v.23).
When you are generous, you are ‘enriched’. When you ‘refresh’ others, you are ‘refreshed’ (v.25).
This does not mean that life is without its difficulties, challenges and suffering. But ultimately, you will be crowned with blessing (v.26b). You will find goodwill (v.27a) and will ‘thrive like a green leaf’ (v.28b).
Lord, thank you that you give me the righteousness of Christ by faith and put me on a path that leads to life.
Encounter Jesus dailyJohn 5:31-47
If we fail to see that the Bible is about Jesus and a relationship with him, reading it can easily become a dry, academic and arid activity. Once you understand that it is all about Jesus, and you see that studying the Bible is a way to grow in your relationship with him, it becomes the source of life (v.40).
The way to find life is to come to Jesus. On numerous occasions, especially in John’s Gospel, Jesus refers to this life as ‘eternal life’ (for example, v.39). Eternal life comes from this relationship (v.40). It starts now and goes on forever. It is the high-definition life.
How can you know that Jesus really is who he says he is? As if in a court of law, Jesus calls four witnesses, as evidence, to support his case.
- The first witness Jesus calls is other people – in particular, John the Baptist (vv.31–35). John came as ‘a witness to testify’ (1:7). Today, there are more witnesses than ever before (over 2 billion) pointing to Jesus.
- The second witness Jesus calls is his own life work. This is a ‘weightier’ witness than the first one – it is the ‘very work the Father has given me to finish’ (5:35), which culminates in the resurrection of the crucified Christ who cries out on the cross, ‘It is finished’(19:30).
- The third witness Jesus calls is the Father’s direct testimony (5:37). You too can experience his direct testimony today through his Spirit in your heart (15:26).
- The fourth witness Jesus calls is the Scriptures. The whole Bible is about Jesus and about coming into a relationship with him. Jesus says, ‘These are the Scriptures that testify about me’ (5:39). He says, ‘Moses… wrote about me’ (v.46).
It is possible to ‘study the Scriptures’ but miss the whole point. Jesus says to religious leaders, ‘You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life’ (vv.39–40). Every time you study the Bible, expect to encounter Jesus.
Even though there is ample evidence about Jesus, ultimately coming to him is an act of the will. And some, Jesus says, ‘refuse to come to me to have life’ (v.40). Why would anyone refuse?
Some are not willing to put God first in their lives (v.42). Others are more concerned about what people think than about what God thinks (v.44). Still others simply refuse to believe in spite of the evidence (v.47). ‘If you believed, really believed, what Moses said, you would believe me. He wrote of me’ (v.46, MSG).
Jesus touches our fundamental sin. We are continually seeking honour, glory and admiration from one another – seeking our own glory (v.44).
Do not worry about what other people think. What God thinks is what matters. Encounter Jesus again today and enjoy the full, abundant, spacious, open-hearted, high-definition life which Jesus offers.
Lord Jesus, today I come to you – the source of life. As I study the Scriptures, may my heart burn within me as I encounter you.
Examine the biblical examplesJudges 7:8b-8:35
Gideon is listed in the New Testament as an example of someone who lived ‘by faith’ (Hebrews 11:32–33). He, therefore, received a foretaste of this ‘High–Definition’ life.
Gideon knew the Lord, who spoke to him and told him he was going to give him victory over the Midianites (Judges 7:9). Gideon ‘worshipped God’ (v.15) even before he had won the battle. This demonstrated his faith and inspired the others.
Such was Gideon’s faith that he went into battle with only 300 men – each with a torch in one hand and a trumpet in the other (‘leaving no chance to use swords’, v.20, AMP). Faith and confidence was not in themselves but in God, who gave them a great victory.
Whatever battles you are facing today, put all of your confidence and trust in God instead of in your own ability to cope. Like Gideon, resolve in faith to worship God ahead of the battle and walk with the boldness that comes from God-confidence. Whatever God has asked you to do may seem impossible for you, but it is not impossible for him.
Learn from studying the example of Gideon:-
- Wisdom in dealing with criticism
When ‘the Ephraimites asked Gideon… “Why didn’t you call us when you went to fight Midian?” they criticised him sharply’ (8:1). Gideon dealt with this criticism with great charm and tact. He said to them, ‘What have I accomplished compared to you?… What was I able to do compared to you?’ (vv.2–3a). And we are told, ‘At this, their resentment against him subsided’ (v.3b).
On the whole, people want to be valued for what they do. They want to be included in God’s plans. Criticism may flow from a person who is feeling underused or undervalued. Once the Ephraimites realised that Gideon valued them and rated them highly, their criticism subsided.
Sometimes, I forget the wisdom of this example. I respond to criticism in the wrong way. But I have been struck by how often, if we go to people and say, ‘I need your help’ (in effect, ‘what have I accomplished compared to you?’), their criticism subsides.
- Determination when exhausted
‘Gideon and his 300 men, exhausted yet keeping up the pursuit…’ (v.4). There are times in life when we feel exhausted. Most often it is wise to stop, rest and get refreshed. But there are some occasions when you just have to keep going. Presumably, Gideon’s strength came from the fact that the Spirit of the Lord had come upon him (6:34).
The life of Gideon is an inspiration. But there is also a warning. After his great victory, he became overconfident and failed to consult God. He thought of a nice idea and went ahead. It turned out to be a disaster. He made a golden ephod that became ‘a snare to Gideon and his family’ (8:27).
Although Gideon, like us all, was a fallible human being, he is listed in Hebrews as one of the great people of faith. Yet, you are better off than Gideon: ‘God had planned something better for us…’ (Hebrews 11:40). You can enjoy an even better life than Gideon. You can enjoy full, abundant, spacious, high-definition living by faith in Jesus.
Lord, thank you that I can enjoy ‘high-definition living’, life in all its fullness, through faith in Jesus. Please give me, today, wisdom and energy through the power of your Holy Spirit within me.
It is not a good idea to ask for a reward for doing God’s work. This ended up being a snare to Gideon and his family. Also, I’m not sure that all his wives and his concubine did him much good either. It is sad that, after all he did for God, Gideon did not pass on the ways of God to his children and the next generation. We need to finish well.
Verse of the Day
‘A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed’ (Proverbs 11:25).
Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.
Scripture quotations marked (AMP) taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org)
Scripture marked (MSG) taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.