“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” — John 15:11.

A couple of days ago my wife Rebekah and I spent the afternoon shopping. We had a few specifics in mind and then hit a couple more stores before heading home.

We had a few personal items to find, so we struck out independently. It may not have been crazy busy, but there were enough people in one of the larger department stores to make it a challenge to track one another down.

I was wandering through the kitchen section, looking at sauté pans, when a salesperson approached me.

“Can I help you find something, sir,” she asked.

“Yes, please,” I responded. “Brown hair, red jacket, about 5’7”. Stunningly beautiful!”

She didn’t hesitate: “A half-dozen aisles that way,” she said, smiling. And you know what? She was right.

Just what is it that makes somebody stand out? Not just beautiful, but noticeable; not just alive, but vital. I think the answer is ‘real life.’ It’s the same thing that lights up a room when the right person comes in.

My wife is animated by that kind of life, always. And it is impossible to miss.

It is, in a sense, what God is offering through Jesus. God wants each one of us to be inhabited by the kind of life that transforms absolutely anyone from an ordinary human being into a life-charged child of God.

Too many of us miss this opportunity, this gift. What I’m talking about is the invitation to be filled up with light and life. 1 Timothy describes it this way: “So that they may take hold of the life that is truly life!” — 1 Timothy 6:19. Or, as Peterson translated John 10:10, “Real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”

I understand that I am likely biased. But that’s okay, because seeing the beauty in those around us is one of the side benefits of being filled up with life and light and love.


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Derek Maul has written for many news outlets, including the Tampa Tribune, The United Methodist News Service, All Pro Dad, FOCUS Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Presbyterians Today, Guideposts, Chicken Soup for the Soul and many other publications. Read Derek Maul’s daily blog posts at www.derekmaul.wordpress.com.