Jesus’ promise of abundant life can trip us up if we view it through the lens of our world’s values. If we think of abundant life as an individual experience of security, wealth, and instant gratification, we miss Jesus’ point entirely, and we will be sorely disappointed by our faith. But, if we can break free of this self-centred, short-term, “quick-fix” view, we will discover something far richer – a life that connects us more deeply with God, others, and our world, and that brings well-being to all through the values of simplicity, service, and sacrifice. It is easy to see that this offer of abundant life is costly and goes against the culture of our society – and this is why the Scriptures warn us against taking our faith lightly or responding to Jesus too easily. If we are to live as true followers of Christ, we need to count the cost and embrace the daily call to take up our crosses.

In a world where the instant and the immediate are valued over the lasting and the long-term, embracing a lifetime of learning to live the Jesus way can be hard to conceive of, let alone to do. But, as we choose afresh each day to value God’s Reign above our own small empires, and the short-term rewards of our world, we move deeper into union with God, and our whole frame of reference slowly changes. Then, over time, our lives begin to reflect the life-bringing grace, compassion, and justice of Jesus – and that is good news for us and for those whom our lives touch.

This week we will be seeking to count the cost of following Jesus, while opening ourselves to this alternative life of God.

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