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The true meaning of life. These three perspectives show where you can find real life, real meaning…

Various Authors

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Have you ever felt there must be something more? Something beyond merely existing? The following are some straightforward accounts that offer opinions about life and God's role in it.

The Meaning of Life: Being Fulfilled — by John G.

Real LifeMaybe you've heard about the guy whose life goal was to climb a certain mountain. When he finally reached the top, he was terribly disappointed. There was nowhere else for him to go, and something was still missing in his life. It's like the pro football player who gets depressed after winning the Super Bowl.

My university experience was a lot like that. By my senior year, I had achieved everything that people were telling me would bring me fulfillment. I was in a fraternity and other campus organizations, had lots of fun partying, made decent grades, and spent time with attractive girls.

Everything that I wanted to do and achieve while in college happened. And yet, I was still unfulfilled. Something was missing.

Of course, no one knew I was feeling this way about life. On the outside I didn't show it. Maybe some people even wished their lives were more like mine. But they didn't know how unfulfilled I was on the inside.

The summer after my last year in school, I heard someone reading a passage from the Bible. I had heard parts of the Bible recited before, and had read a little bit of it, but for some reason this time it sounded completely different. I was astounded. Like never before, I realized how true and relevant the Bible is.

It was as if God was trying to get my attention... but I still didn't want to let him in. I kept thinking about how my life would change and how my friends would think I was weird. I was frightened. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized (no doubt, with God's help) that choosing Him over anything and anyone else makes sense and is the right choice.

What happened next is difficult to describe. I can only put it this way: I discovered that God Himself is the source of true fulfillment. My experience is not unique. It's what He impartially offers anyone who seeks Him in the way He wants. He said (and still says), "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty."1

Of course, life still has its ups and downs, disappointments, and struggles. But what gives life true meaning is God Himself – knowing that He is alive and real, that He is the Reason for my existence, and that truly finding Him is what it's all about.

The Meaning of Life: Being Accepted — by Robert C.

Real LifeGrowing up, I remember watching The Wizard of Oz on TV. Maybe you remember the story. Dorothy and her friends go to the Wizard of Oz for help, and instead are greeted by an angry, frightful voice that demands a near-impossible task for proving themselves: obtaining the wicked witch's broom.

So much for the wonderful Wizard of Oz.

When I was growing up, God, to me, was a lot like the Wizard of Oz. I thought he was mean and short-tempered and that he actually knew very little about me. The few images I saw of him in church as a child made him seem distant, other-worldly, unreachable.

His death on the cross -- a constant image -- I understood as a great sacrifice, but one he seemed to do reluctantly. What really counted with him, I thought, was how well I behaved, and how well I lived up to his standards.

If I was ever going to be accepted by him, I needed first to prove myself worthy. As you can imagine, God was not a great figure in my life. Wonderful was not a word I used to describe him.

Then, in my freshman year of college, all this changed. The curtain was pulled back. For the first time in my life, someone showed me in the Bible -- a book I'd always thought was full of a lot of smoke -- who God really was.

He was not angry or mean -- just the opposite. He was loving and compassionate. He knew I was incapable of living a perfect life and of ever keeping his standards. So, out of his great love, he became that perfect human being and met those standards for me.

Jesus Christ, I learned, was not my example, he was my substitute. I wasn't supposed to imitate his suffering, but to take advantage of it.

In his death on the cross -- which I discovered he did willingly -- my sin and my failures were judged. On the cross, God demonstrated his great love for me. It was there he accepted me.

As the Bible says, "God made him [Jesus] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."2

Real acceptance, I discovered, lies in the someone new behind the curtain. I challenge you to pull it back and discover him for yourself, and to consider his offer of acceptance and forgiveness.

The Meaning of Life: Finding Purpose — by Marilyn A.

Real LifeFor years I searched to possess a core meaning to life. Some overriding, motivating perspective. And I wanted it to be an approach, a philosophy, that would prove reliable no matter how difficult the situation.

Every few weeks I would "try out" a new philosophy, drawing from a classical or existential philosopher, to see if their approach made sense.

It was disappointing. They raised all the right questions about life, but with no viable solutions.

Eventually I came to agree with this statement from Dr. David Aikman:

"Each of us has a purpose, a reason for being here, that no one else can tell you, but you can find out from God."

Dr. Aikman was a news correspondent with two post-graduate degrees, fluent in six languages, and an expert in Russian and Chinese history. He had been an atheist, as I currently was during my years of searching.

Dr. Aikman further commented, "When I heard the words of Jesus [in the Bible], it seemed to me he was speaking to my heart, and he was saying, 'I am the way to life. If you follow me and do what I say, your life will change.’ I can promise you, anyone who takes that first step toward Jesus Christ will have a very exciting life."

For many months, I looked into the evidence for God’s existence and Jesus being equal to God (which Jesus clearly claimed). I eventually responded to what Jesus offers everyone and asked Jesus to come into my life.

Acknowledging God, talking to him out loud, meant I was deliberately leaving atheism. My prayer was, “I ask you to come into my life. You may do with it whatever you’d like.”

That seemed appropriate to me. I immediately had many questions: what God thought of life, what mattered to him, how he thinks we should live, etc.

For answers, I began reading the Gospel of Matthew, one of the four biographies about Jesus’ life in the Bible.

I soon realized it was never a workable philosophy of life that would satisfy my search. Instead, I saw Jesus talking about his love for us, his invitation to be led by him, that it is a relationship with him that brings us to experience peace, to know truth, to have meaning.

Oddly enough, none of this was possible without great cost to Jesus. I didn’t realize this at first. All I was focused on was the fact that God exists, Jesus is God, and I could know him.

How to Find the Meaning of Life

Real LifeAs I read about Jesus’ life, I also read about what he did for us. To start a relationship with God, all I had to do is simply believe in him and invite him into my life. That is all he requires.

However, for God to offer that to us, he needed to take care of our sin, because it was standing between us. Out of love for us, he did the unimaginable.

Jesus took all of our sins on himself, dying on the cross, so that we could be fully forgiven.

“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty of our sins.”3

We now can come to him and be fully accepted by him.

Anyone who chooses to believe in Jesus and repents of living apart from him, begins a relationship with him that lasts eternally.

“…the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”4

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”5 Jesus offers to guide you in what’s true, and as you trust him, he will lead you into “life, more abundantly.”6

A farmer puts a yoke on a stronger and weaker ox, keeping them together. Jesus used this analogy to show the friendship he offers us.

He said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”7

This does not mean that life suddenly becomes easy and void of problems. You will still have struggles, still endure the hardships and difficult situations.

But instead of going through them on your own, Jesus offers to walk through life with you, available to guide you, give you wisdom, and know his love.

He offers to come into our lives, as our closest friend. It is a remarkable offer to know God. Jesus invites us:

Real Life“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in…”8

Here is a suggested prayer to invite Jesus into your life:

“Jesus, I want a relationship with you. Forgive me for my sins. Thank you for dying on the cross for me. I ask you to come into my life right now. I want to know you and go through my life in friendship with you, learning from you, desiring to obey you and be guided by you. Thank you for your love for me and for entering my life right now as you promised you would if I asked. I look forward to knowing you better. Amen.”

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Footnotes: (1) John 6:35 (2) 2 Corinthians 5:21 (3) Romans 3:23,24 (4) Romaans 6:23 (5) John 14:6 (6) John 10:10 (7) Matthew 11:28-30 (8) Revelation 3:20

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