1/. Physical life
God created humanity with the capacity to reproduce and bring new life into being (Gen1:28). Our natural life begins at conception, while our age is calculated from our birth, with our earthly existence ending at death. The implication of this is that life is sacred – God gives and takes away, that is not our prerogative (Job 1:21). Thus we are not to commit murder and we should seek to protect the unborn, the elderly and disabled. Secondly, the body God gives us is the ‘container’ of our life. It is therefore to be cared for, nourished, treated with respect and not abused or mutilated. This includes taking precautions for our ongoing well-being by not subjecting our bodies to destructive substances, while eating moderately, exercising and having adequate rest, so that we are good stewards of what has been entrusted to us (and others). Our minds and emotions also need to be controlled by the Spirit who gives life and peace otherwise we can revert to the negativity of worry, self-pity and unforgiveness which also damage our bodies (Rom 8:6). Life is God’s gift to us, what we do with it can be our gift to Him. As it's into this vessel that God sends the Holy Spirit and through which we minister to others we should be purifying ourselves from all unrighteousness (1 Cor 6:19, 15:58; 2 Cor 7:1; Col 1:10; 2 Pet 3:11; 1 Jn 3:3).
2/. Spiritual life
At creation God breathed His life into us but it was choked off by sin (Gen 2:7; Isa 42:5). However, God was not defeated and He devised a plan of salvation to retrieve ‘His possession’. He gave His son’s life for us (Jn 3:16, 10:11). In His grace He offers us a new or restored life of relationship with Him (Rom 3:23,24). This is variously referred to as Eternal life, Resurrection Life or Life in the Spirit. The condition is that we "receive Him" by repenting of our sin and walk in a new way of life (Mk 1:15; Jn 1:12; Rom 6:4; 2 Cor 5:17).
It is only during our natural lifespan that we are given the opportunity to become a Christian, with our response to His offer of salvation determining whether we will spend the next life (eternity) with Him in heaven or without Him in hell. None of us knows how long our earthly life will be, for while many live to a good age, sickness can strike or an accident instantly kill, with no time to get right with God. Thus it is important now to ensure Christ is your Saviour and you are walking with Him in obedience (Lk 12:42-46).
The benefits of eternal life cannot be overstated. Jesus said “I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand” – the promise of eternal security (Jn 10:28). Our life is ‘hid with Christ in God’ – a place of blessing, security and protection (Col 3:3).
There is no need to fear. Jesus came to bring us into the experience of ‘abundant life’, to enable us to live life to the full (Jn 10:10). God is no killjoy, He wants the ‘best in life’ for us. The Holy Spirit becomes our ‘support person’, prompting, guiding, sustaining, rebuking and comforting us as we need (Jn 14:26; 15:26; 16:8-15). If we put self-comforts and personal interests before God’s will we will forfeit the opportunity to experience all God desires for us (Mk 8:34-37, 10:29,30).
To search for and gain eternal life is worth any sacrifice or cost involved (Mt 13:44-46). “The law of the Spirit who gives life has set us free from the law of sin and death” (Rom 8:2). The powerful and overwhelming love of Christ, revealed in His saving us, will motivate us to love God with our whole being and our neighbour as ourselves (Mk 12:30,31).
1/. While our salvation and subsequent entry into heaven was entirely accomplished by Christ on the cross, our rewards will be dependent on a righteous lifestyle and good works we have done on earth (Mt 16:27; 1 Cor 3:8). The things that involve our time should not be self-directed activities which eternally amount to nothing, rather we should discern and be doing what we see God doing (Jn 5:19, 9:4; 1 Cor 3:12,13). We are given only one life on earth so endeavour to use it for good, worthwhile ‘eternity lasting’ results (Mt 10:39, 16:25; Mk 8:36; Lk 9:24,25; Act 20:24).
Life on earth is a one-time opportunity – use it wisely
humanity to focus on self and the present (as happened in the Garden of Eden), oblivious to the long-term repercussions (Gen 3:1-4; Jn 10:10). Regularly there will be situations which will not gratify our desires so we must be adaptable, accepting that life is not all about us; instead Jesus should be the focal point of our whole being, for the divine exchange is He died that we might have eternal life and consequently in return we owe Him our all (Jn 10:11; 1 Cor 6:20; 2 Cor 5:15; Gal 2:20; 1 Jn 5:11).
3/. Along with the presence of the Holy Spirit God has provided a guidebook for life – the Bible. It provides nourishment for the spiritual life and it is imperative we live by it’s principles to live a life pleasing to God (Ps 119:9,11; Mt 7:24-27; Lk 11:28; Col 1:10; Heb 13:16). This implies regular reading and application to our circumstances.
4/. Baptism indicates we have made a decision to die to the old self-centred life and live a new life in Him, and this requires continual outworking in reality by our lifestyle (Rom 6:4,11, 8:1-4,12,13; Gal 5:16).
Some practical comments
1/. In one sense, life is what I am making it. Yet, in another sense it depends on the lives lived before mine, and the legacy of values, attitudes, priorities, love and identity that has contributed to my understanding of normal life. Focus on being transformed by what God can do with your life. Let Him renew your mind so you think and act as Jesus did – doing good and ministering to those under Satan’s bondage (Act 10:38; Rom 12:2; Phil 4:8; 1 Jn 2:6, 3:8). Learn from the variety of biblical examples.
2/. Be active in seeking out what God has purposed to you to do (Jer 29:11). Expect that He is able to help you to succeed and then set in place the steps to bring this into reality. Look on the positive, bright side of life. After all His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3).
3/. Although life is not the way God designed it, because sin has seriously tarnished it, how we cope with it makes all the difference. Look to Him for help to face your problems and remedy your deficiencies and thank Him for the profound difference He can make. “He who sacrifices thank-offerings honours me, and he prepares the way that I might show him the salvation of God” (Ps 50:23).
Will it be spent for ourselves, or advancing His Kingdom?
forgive. The ability to forgive is integral to the Christian life (Mt 6:12; Lk 23:34). Allow Christ to transform you and share what He has done in your life with others, praying they also will come to know Him (Jn 9:25; Act 4:20). We have been given life, to give glory and honour to God and it is our privilege and responsibility to make the most of the opportunities He gives. “Only one life, ’twill soon be past; Only what’s done for Christ will last” – C.T. Studd.
5/. Death is unavoidable and life is unpredictable. Most of us don't get to choose when or how we're going to die, but we do get to decide how we're going to live. The Bible instructs us to not live for ourselves but for God (1 Pet 2:16, 4:2). We do not know what life holds for us but we do know who holds our future. While we should commit ourselves into His keeping and for His guidance, with goals and plans we consider are directed by Him these can change rapidly, for we do not know what a day brings forth, yet in His foreknowledge He does (Prov 27:1).
Develop a solid growing faith and relationship with Christ, and maybe have in place strategies so when the unexpected happens you are not knocked off your feet, for preparation must be done before the storm comes, not during. Have a deep confidence God is in control and all things are working for our good if we co-operate with Him (Rom 8:28).