I love fast food.
It’s not politically correct to admit, but my affinity for greasy, salty food trumps healthy fare any day of the week. A friend once joked with me that the only vegetables I eat are the pickles on my burger. I noted that I always ask for “no pickle” when I order. Touche!
While French fries have always had a magnetic pull on me, lately they have been on the menu even more frequently than normal. A certain fast food chain has a special contest in which you can collect game pieces with each order in an attempt to win prizes. This adds an even greater level of interest to my combo meal. If I win, there is material gain; if I lose, I still get the food. Talk about a game with no downside!
A relationship with Jesus can be understood in much the same way. If you place your faith in Jesus for salvation, you get it. He gives you the gift of the Holy Spirit to live inside you, and there is promise for “abundant life” (John 10:10).
Most of us would define an “abundant” life in terms of material success. A full life might have a terrific house, multiple cars, a stylish wardrobe and all the toys and glitz we could enjoy. But such definitions of “abundance” are off-target. They are like the game pieces on my combo meal — potential upsides that are enjoyable but not crucial to the main attraction.
The promise of faith is not material blessings but spiritual fulfillment. This abundance is based on what God does for us. We get a life full of the qualities He imparts, such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. We get a personal relationship with the one who created us. Such a life is certainly appealing. It is the spiritual equivalent of a double bacon cheeseburger — the main attraction I truly want.
Make it a point to look beyond the blessings of life and search for the real gift. You’ll find that Jesus provides true abundance and satisfaction (with absolutely no cholesterol).
— Steve Howell oversees adult education ministry at Tonganoxie Christian Church.