It sounds the sort of question that should be easy to answer, but the more you think about it the harder it gets.
I have asked many people what they think Life to the Full might mean, and I get the same increasing vagueness as they recognise how difficult it is to answer. You see it depends on what we value in life. And the more we think about what we value, what we really truly value, the more challenging the question becomes.
It helps to imagine what our lives would be like if we had this Life to the Full. Or to ask ourselves if we know anyone who we consider has it.
The only answer I can find that feels right to me is to look at Jesus’ life. As the author of life, and the one who said he had come so that we might have life and have it to the full, the answer must be clear from his life. And what I discover in doing that is very challenging. Jesus worked hard for a living, then gave it all up to follow what he believed. He had no home of his own. He was criticised,misrepresented, harassed, rejected, betrayed and finally murdered. And yet the lives of those he met where transformed. He challenged their values and behaviour and modelled a different way of life.
What he lived and taught continues to challenge our lives today.
The apostle Peter, who travelled with Jesus for the three years of his public ministry, talks about life that is filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. And he also talks of getting rid of all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of any kind. Any definition of Life to the Full has to acknowledge the negative aspects of our personalities for it to feel authentic.
Jesus used different words and metaphors to describe a new kind of life to those he met. He talked about being born again (a new spiritual beginning) so that we can see the Kingdom of God. We can eavesdrop into his prayers where he says that he came to show us that this new kind of life was about knowing God.
And so it seems that Life to the Full is about knowing God and being honest with him, knowing and being honest with ourselves and having the courage to put the two together.
This brings us back to Brother Lawrence who made a life changing decision 500 years ago to choose to act as if what he read in his bible was true. The amazing outcome of his experiment was that the life he learned to live became powerful evidence of the new kind of life that Jesus spoke about.
How would you describe what it means to Have Life to the Full?