The Italian restaurant provided a lively, boisterous atmosphere. At first, we laughed ourselves silly over goofy lines from favorite movies.
Then the dinner conversation shifted into an earnest discussion of the most effective ways to minister to post-abortive women.
On the surface, a stranger would have guessed we all knew each other pretty well—but I’d just met these folks at the Heartbeat International conference a couple of hours before we shared a meal.
There’s nothing quite like the sense of connection we experience in the Kingdom of God.
Certainly, there is much to be said for building a history with people, and the level of trust that only comes with time. But it’s also true that believers in Christ can quickly and easily forge bonds of friendship which are deep and real from the start.
Paul writes to the Ephesians, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6)
There’s this unity which transcends the natural. It’s part of what Jesus referred to as “abundant life.”
What does this have to do with pro-life work? Much, indeed.
In the pro-life movement, we emphasize the sacredness of human life. We believe that God created human beings in his own image and that every human life has unique, inherent dignity and worth. Therefore, we fight to rescue God’s image-bearers from destruction in the womb.
This is the right thing to do.
But there’s even more to human life than its sacred nature.
Through faith in Christ, we can enter into a life which is not only sacred, but abundant and eternal as well. We can return to the place of relationship with Him which God always had in mind for His image-bearers.
In describing himself as our Good Shepherd, Jesus said,“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
The Greek word for “life” in this passage is “zoe.” It’s life beyond just biological or even psychological life.
It’s a life brimming with all the benefits, now and forever, of being in right relationship with God. It’s a life that goes beyond what is anticipated. It exceeds expectation. (Ephesians 3:20)
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The enemy of our souls works hard to steal, kill and destroy the life God meant for us to enjoy in fellowship with Him.
He begins with trying to destroy children before they are born, but he doesn’t stop there.
He goes on to rob people of love, joy and peace. He steals their sense of purpose. He robs them of their true identity as children of God.
Those who have been robbed in this way don’t know what abundant life is. They hunger to know who they really are. They cling fearfully to coping strategies like control and manipulation.
They forecast foreboding futures, and then take drastic measures to try to avert whatever fearful scenario they anticipate.
In this non-abundant, not-enough kind of life, children are aborted because the mother can’t see how she will provide for another baby. Or she thinks it will be impossible to care for a child with a defect. Or she fears the reaction of her parents or boyfriend to the pregnancy.
Non-abundant life always seems to deal in shortages.
Not enough money. Not enough love. Not enough support.
For those with ears to hear and eyes to see, this is the striking contrast between those who enjoy abundant life and those who do not.
Followers of Jesus know there will always be more than enough, because our Good Shepherd will provide.
This reality puts a song in our hearts. It gives us faith for the future. It promotes unity and love between us.
Here’s an apt description of the contrast between abundant life versus worldly thinking from Unleashing Your Courageous Compassion:
“The air was charged with joy and excitement at the conference. Over 1,300 PRC staff, volunteers, and board members filled the hotel ballroom. Men, women, Asian, Caucasian, African-American, Baptist, Charismatic, Catholic—we all lifted our voices to worship Jesus.
The love in the room was palpable. As we settled down to hear the evening’s speaker, she asked us this rhetorical question: ‘If Planned Parenthood holds conferences, what songs do you suppose they sing?’”
The not-enough life provides no joyful anthem. It offers no promising future. It gives no hope of overflowing, unconditional love.
All it offers to the fearful woman facing an unplanned pregnancy is the false promise of abortion as the answer to her dilemma.
We offer her something far better than a false promise.
Through Jesus, we offer not only the hope of physical life for this woman’s baby, but the promise of abundant, eternal life for her and her baby as well.
This is the beauty of pro-life work.
It’s about the sacredness of human lives, yes –but it’s also about a more-than-enough kind of Life, both now and forever.