The pursuit of our best life is a motivator that affects us all, whether we acknowledge it with a hashtag, or simply hear its low level buzz in the background of our mind, we are bound to carry the burden of such a great expectation. Live your best life.
Well tell that to 2020.
How does one live their best life in isolation? When their job vanishes overnight? When their smile is now hidden by a floral patterned mask? How do you live your best life when you can't take that vacation you've been working so hard to get to? When your college campus looks like your laptop on your kitchen table? How does one manage to live their best life when every norm has seismically shifted? How do you live your best life when the stresses of such a tumultuous season of humanity has stripped you of the energy to even move from your bed each morning?
The pursuit of the perfect life is exhausting just to think about. And just when you think your winning, someone knocks you down. Or more commonly, we mess it all up somehow. How do you live a best life when you find every step you take toward it is second-guessed, publicly shamed, and torn down by the cancel culture grown between the polarizing groups of the overtly offensive and the easily offended?
Paul in his letter to the Philippians deals with the pursuit of perfection, the notion of a best life, head on. Hear what he has come to understand and wants to pass on to this early church:
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
This friends is the good news. The good news of Jesus Christ is that you and I are most fully alive when we give up our own pursuit of perfection, and take hold of the One who has graciously taken hold of us. Living our best life is entirely predicated on our giving up. Jesus, full of love and compassion, faithful to the call and heart of our heavenly father, embodying the manifest presence of the Spirit – Jesus has gained for us what we could never grasp for ourselves.
Jesus did not come to seek and consort with the fabulous
For millennia people have sought out God. They have worked to improve, to impress, to win over God to their cause. But Jesus did not come to seek and consort with the fabulous. Jesus was not convinced to squeeze all of his divine nature into the form of humanity so that he could bring his stamp of approval to your best life. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. There was no perfect best life that compelled Jesus to come. Love alone compels God's perfect pursuit of each of us and all of us.
You and I are not built to bear the weight of pursuing perfection, but we have been perfectly pursued.
This is good news.
This post is an excerpt from Pastor Kyla's message on September 13th. You can watch it in our video library here.