What Keeps Me From a Full Life (Short Version)

What’s the key to a full life? Jesus says a few chapters earlier that he came so that we might have life and have it to the fullest (John 10:10.) But he doesn’t say much about how we can have that kind of life, until now. This chapter, John 12, is about a massive conflict that keeps us from living the fullest kind of life possible.

There is an enormous conflict that occurs when our self-centeredness meets the way of Jesus. People all over this chapter are dealing with that conflict.

In our struggle to be successful, to be significant, to be right, and to be noticed by other people, we grasp at and chase after all the wrong things. Some of us are like Judas in John 12:5-6, focused on success and money. Some are like the religious leaders in 12:10, worried about our popularity, reputation, and influence. Some are like the Pharisees in 12:19, locked in to tradition and the way we’ve “always done things.” And some are like the people in 12:42-43 who are more worried about getting recognition from other people than allowing God to get any credit for anything going on in our lives. And oddly enough, none of these pursuits lead to a full life. They all come up short. They all ultimately leave us feeling empty.

But at the heart of this chapter, literally at the very center (verse 25 out of 50) Jesus shares the key to living the fullest kind of life. John 12:25 says, “Those who love their lives will lose them, and those who hate their lives in this world will keep them forever.” According to Jesus, the key to gaining full and abundant life is our willingness to lose our lives, to give them away.

Am I willing to give up my most valuable possessions and lay them at the feet of Jesus?

Am I willing to be less important so that God can be more important?

Am I willing to put aside my own agenda for the sake of other people?

Am I willing to sacrifice my own recognition for God’s glory?

These are questions we must be willing to ask and answer every day of our lives. It’s only in our willingness to get over ourselves and give our lives away that we can fully find them.

God, help me to get over myself. Help me to give my life away so that I might gain the life you’ve designed for me.

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