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The "Fully Loaded" Lifesyle
There is nothing quite like that ‘new car smell’—the nectar and aroma of the gods of leather, luxury, and excess! Suppose you arrived early at the car dealership, carefully selected the car of your dreams, went through the whole purchase process, only to drive away in the very same old car you had when you left home hours earlier?
Or, suppose you chose that car ‘of your dreams’—the “sticker price” promising that it was “fully loaded” with every top of the line product of human technology imaginable, only to discover that all of the important parts of the vehicle were missing or considered “extra”? Certainly not the image one has of a product that is “fully loaded,” right?
CONTRASTS IN STATES OF BEING
When a person is first introduced to the “good news” (gospel) of Jesus Christ, the substance of the message includes the promise, and with it, the expectation that ‘something good’ is about to happen! The earthly life and ministry of Jesus Christ demonstrated that virtually nobody who came into contact with the Son of God came away unaffected and unchanged. People who encountered Jesus reacted with a sense of passion—either for, or against him. Nobody left with a feeling of indifference and the ability to ignore the substance and power of his words.
There was nothing pretentious about Jesus, his life and ministry was unlike any of the contemporary Jewish Rabbis of his day. The politics of the times, religious party affiliation, and the pursuit of power, prestige, and recognition were all missing from his personal agenda. Nothing about the Scribes, Pharisees or Sadducees impressed him, nor did their attempts at swaying him in the direction of their own selfish motives affect him in the least. The refreshing contrast of the message of Jesus was in his powerful compassion for those who were “…troubled and dejected, as sheep having no shepherd” (Matt. 9:36; Mark 6:34). Unlike his contemporaries who heaped upon the people more and greater burdens, Jesus promised rest for their souls (Matt. 11:28-30).
What people needed both then and now was not more of the “same old thing”—they hungered for something transformative, something new and refreshing, and something that would usher them into a relationship with God that was satisfying and complete. They longed for that ‘new car smell’ and now just empty promises that failed to materialize, leading to disappointment, bondage and despair. They needed all of the ‘equipment’ and ‘empowerment’ that would give them lives that were “fully loaded” in every sense of the word—no ‘fine print’ no hidden cost or expense.
The unfortunate reality is that today there are many to come along with great promises and tremendous expectations of what it means to be “fully loaded” as a believer in Jesus Christ. There are those today whose actions are suspect, whose motives appear to be that of furthering their own agendas at the expense of the weak and the unsuspecting. Promises of health, healing, prosperity and abundance comes at a price that includes investing in the work of preachers and teachers whose lifestyle of indulgence and extravagance are offered a “proof” of God’s blessing on their lives. Corporate jets, mega-churches, mega-ministries, and teachers who seemingly pilfer and fleece the flock, with promises of God’s blessing and abundance on the lives of those who “contribute” financially to their efforts. The “sowing” and “reaping” principle of scripture is certainly true and valid, and is evidenced in every area of life, and yet such “faith-formula” rings hallow against the suffering of the ordinary person who gives and lives sacrificially under the assumption that such will bring about an almost ‘magical’ transformation from poverty to power (Gal. 6:7; II Cor. 9:6-8; John 10:10).
Material abundance is not the ‘new car smell’ promised by Jesus Christ, nor is it the evidence of a life that is “fully loaded” and equipped to do the will of God (II Tim. 3:16, 17; II Pet. 1:3, 4). Genuine “abundance” is a biblical truth, but includes far more than the accumulation of wealth. The promises of being “fully loaded” implies a complete and total transformation of life—one that is evidenced by the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 23).
The blessings promised to Abraham and his “seed” are based upon the Covenant into which one enters and by which a person is empowered to live his daily life (Gen. 12:1-3; Gal. 3:7-29). During the period between the Cross and A.D. 70—time in-between—God was at work to bring about a transformation of the Covenants resulting in a complete and total change in the lives of the people. To the Corinthians Paul writes: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new” (II Cor. 5:17). The ‘passing away’ of the Old Covenant and the ‘establishment’ of the New Covenant meant, in a very practical and powerful way, something “new” in every sense of the word—especially in the sense related to ‘quality of life.’ The ‘new car smell’ had arrived at last.
Today it seems that when one becomes a child of God that little actual transformation becomes evident. The “new” and better, “fully loaded” lifestyle is, all too often, left behind at the church building as the person leaves in the same “old” vehicle in which he had arrived. He looks the same. He feels the same. To a great extent he acts the same. Yesterday he was a “non-Christian” today he is a “Christian”—no big deal, right?
If Christians actually embraced what the New Testament teaches about the ‘resurrection-life’—not something relegated to the distant future when the physical graves are opened, but in the here and in the now, an already accomplished work of Christ that powerfully brings them out of death and into life (John 5:24). Believers who have participated “by faith” in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ now sit with him in the “heavenly places” (Eph. 2:6). The sin-conscious days of the past are now replaced with the powerful realization that “old things have passed away” and a new identity as “the righteousness of God in Christ” (II Cor. 5:21) now belongs to them as a present possession.
Religion changes nothing, but Jesus changes everything. The “fully loaded” believer who embraces life now “in the age to come” can and must demonstrate the vitality and distinctiveness that comes with it. Preterism demands that the transition period lifestyle be abandoned for the greater and better things that God has for His people as a present reality. There must be no deferment to the ‘afterlife’ as some ultimate expression of what the victorious life in Christ means. Victory over circumstances is the rightful “inheritance” of every believer in the right here and in the right now. The “all spiritual blessings” that are found “in Christ” are to be manifested in the everyday, normal life of Christians. The genuine blessing and abundance that is the substance of the “good news” is the “fully loaded” empowerment of believers to affect and change the world and society in which they live. God withholds from His children “no good thing” (Psa. 84:11; James 1:17), and promises to meet and to supply all of their needs (Phil. 4:19) as they devote themselves to the message and work of the Kingdom (Matt. 6:33).
For Christians, the “present recession” is not a “present possession” and as citizens of God’s Kingdom and God’s economy would be better served in ‘opting out’ of the aimless directionality of the world around them. If the future security of God’s people now depends upon the shifting sands of human wisdom, then all hope is lost (Psa. 146:1-10). Trusting God for a life “fully loaded” means stepping away from the fear and anxiety of the moment, remaining focused on the Covenant promises of God that are now available to the “seed” of Abraham.
Is your life “fully loaded” with the power and majesty of God working in your life? Or, are you still rolling around in that ‘old car’ of the ‘old life’ that has nothing of value to offer? The invitation of Christ continues to echo, “generation to generation”—“…my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:30).