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We Were Meant to Live for so Much More

Written By Gabe Coyle

Fumbling his confidence
And wondering why the world has passed him by
Hoping that he’s bent for more than arguments
And failed attempts to fly, fly

We were meant to live for so much more
Have we lost ourselves?
Somewhere we live inside

I was a high school junior when Switchfoot’s iconic song Meant to Live came out. I remember driving to work and school with this song on repeat. As someone who has always dreamed big dreams fueled by a wild imagination, I never really wanted a “quiet life.” While I didn’t know what living a quiet life actually meant in high school, I made myself a promise to never be stuck in a Secret Life of Walter Mitty existence. I had seen friends, family, and leaders waste away in the acceptance of just going with the flow, and it looked more like death than life. 

It had been years since I’d heard that song, and then in 2023, I heard not Jon Foreman but Jon Bellion singing Meant to Live as if it was a new hit single. Switchfoot, no doubt following in the footsteps of Taylor Swift, had re-released their “own versions” of their hits and even went one step further, inviting well-known artists to remake their hits. Instantly it was as if I was in high school again. Now, to be clear, I wasn’t hit with midlife regret. I’ve persistently said “yes” to what many said was crazy, and I have had an expanded imagination around the goodness of quiet living. But the song’s re-release did raise a question that will be raised until Jesus returns: What more is God rescuing me for today

Throughout history, Christians have spoken at length concerning the dangers of discontentment. The Apostle Paul reminds us that with Jesus, we truly have enough no matter our circumstances (Philippians 4:11). What a gift of the Christian life! But for as long as we are on this side of eternity, I also hold fast to how Paul modeled a holy discontent. 

Why? Deep within the infrastructure of salvation are dual, dynamically concurrent movements. God has magnificently rescued you and me through his Son Jesus through his life, death, burial, and resurrection “from” sin. Hallelujah! But that’s not the only movement. God is not just a “from” God. God is also a “for” God. God came not just to rescue us “from” sin and its consequence: death. God came to rescue us “for” life, although looking at some sectors of Christianity, you’d have no idea. Sometimes Christians can get so focused on the “from” that we no longer embody the “for.” 

This is why the Apostle Paul astounds me. He seemingly had everything this world had to offer before Jesus saved him. He was the best in his class. He had good pedigree, past experiences of God, and top-level leadership as a Pharisee in Jerusalem, the holy city! Then he gets a glimpse of the resurrected Jesus on a work trip, and he is confronted with life. 

The atrocity of Paul’s own sin was revealed to himself, along with the beauty of salvation from sin through Jesus’ sufficient death. Simultaneously, Paul saw life in the resurrected Jesus, and nothing compares to that resurrection life. Paul saw Jesus bringing a whole new way to live.

Not a kind of life where self-destructive habits continue to dominate and shame us while we tell ourselves our hope is just a promise on a piece of paper that when we die, it will be different. Not a kind of life that leaves us lonely without purpose. Not a kind of life that is contained to a few quiet times in Scripture and Sunday mornings. 

No. We were meant to live for so much more, but we’ve lost ourselves, partly because we’ve lost sight of salvation.

God wants us to live with him and thus find ourselves. A life that says “yes” to his healing. A life that grows our capacity to love him, others, and ourselves. A life that knows no end and knows higher bounds. A life that exists on more than the weekends. A life no one can take away. The life we were meant “for.” 

But resurrection life is not always the life we recognize. Paul himself didn’t recognize it at first. This is what Paul is writing about in Romans 6-8. He’s laying out how God has rescued us for real life, a life that looks and dwells with Jesus now

One way Christians have sought to open themselves up to this life they read about in Scripture is through contemplation. Contemplation is rich with spiritual practices and postures that Christians throughout history have engaged with to more fully experience and rest in their union with the Author of Life. Contemplation is sometimes still and sometimes not. It’s as rich as resurrection life when we lean in.

Take time to walk through a passage like Romans 6-8. Spend time in contemplation, considering what God might be saying to you. Join your church family in theFormed.life, which continues our daily journey through Scripture and building habits, such as the discipline of contemplation, as we grow into the life God has for us. 

We were meant for more, and he’s waiting.

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