How do you define your life? Dictionary.com pus it this way: “The condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism, reproduction, and the power of adaptation to environment through changes originating internally.”
That’s a good definition, right? It doesn’t easily roll off the tongue. Yet, it covers the basics of an understanding of your life.
Yet, the question wasn’t how does Dictionary.com define your life. The questions was “How do you define your life?” Now, in your answer might be some components of the above definition. But I bet that your definition will be somewhat different. A little more personal and whole lot less sterile.
“Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.” Viktor Frankl
Let me give you something to think about, in regards to defining your life. The Greek language, which was the language of the New Testament, describes life as having three aspects: (1) Bios, which refers to life in the body. This is the root of the English word biology or the study of life. Bios is the life into which medical doctors focus. Bios is the source of the Dictionary.com definition I shard above. Bios is your annual physical, your diet, your exercise routine. Bios is the understanding of all the things that go into you being a living, breathing, walking and talking person. As opposed to being a physically dead person. (2) Psuche, which refers to life as a soul. This the root for the English word psychology or the study of the soul. Psuche is what makes you, you and me, me. Psuche is that which separates us from animals and machines. Psuche is your likes and dislikes, your gifts and talents, your sense of humor and your personality. Psuche is what makes you a unique, one-of-a-kind individual.
Every single human being who has ever lived and will ever live experiences, on a daily basis, both bios and psuche life. You and I are both physically living, as well as living in the sense of our souls. Your heart is beating at the same time that you are making decisions based on your likes and wants as well as your dislikes and your desires. Bios and psuche walk hand-in-hand, with little to no thought what-so-ever.
That leads us to the third Greek word for life that is used in the New Testament: (3) Zoe, which refers to a higher life. This is life that goes beyond bios and psuche. This life is the rich abundant divine nature of God life – love, joy, peace, power and possibility. Zoe life isn’t born into us like bios and psuche. Zoe can only be received. It’s a gift from God. All people are blessed with bios and psuche. All people are also blessed with the possibility of zoe. Yet, to fully experience all three aspects of life, you must make a choice.
Here is something that I find very interesting. Let’s go all the way back to Genesis 2:7 and the account of how God actually created Adam, which means “son of the earth”. God formed Adam out of the dirt and then he “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life”. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew. Yet, when this Hebrew text was translated into Greek it wasn’t bios or psuche life that was breathed into Adam’s nostrils. It was zoe.
This means that God’s initial intention for humanity was that everyone would have, not only bios and psuche life, but all would also have zoe life. The problem was that a little later in the story (Genesis 3) humanity was disobedient. This disobedience disqualified all people for zoe life. For zoe life can only be experienced through an unobstructed, right relationship with God. Since God can’t be in the presence of sin, our disobedience prevented us from experiencing zoe life.
You know where this is going, don’t you? Jesus came to right the wrongs of Genesis 3. Jesus came to put us back into an unobstructed, right relationship with God. Jesus came so that you and I could once again have the possibility of zoe life. Just like Adam and Eve naturally had before the fall.
This has always been God’s intention and desire for all of us. Yet, we lost the possibility of zoe life, because of our personal choices. Thus, the only fair and just way to get zoe life back, is to also exercise personal choice.
Remember, your question was “How do you define your life ?” The answer isn’t based on Dictionary.com. The answer is based on you. It’s your choice. Are you satisfied to simply define your life by bios and psuche? Or do you want to define your life by bios, psuche and zoe? The choice is yours.