The Lifeline Illustration
This illustration, as outlined below, was developed by Jim Morris in the early 1970’s. It was organized, in part, to be able to more clearly communicate to people what God’s will is for their lives. He stated to me at one time that he often dealt with those who wanted to know what God’s will was for them in many areas of their lives. He would tell them, to their amazement, that over ninety percent of God’s will for their lives was already revealed in scripture. He would then relate to them these truths found in the scriptures chosen to illustrate God’s purpose for man.
The Lifeline Illustration
God’s Purpose for Man: Genesis 1:27 (Fellowship with Him)
Isaiah 43:7 (His Own Glory)
|First Objective||The Christian Life||Final Objective|
|Our life NOW in Christ|
| 2 Peter 3:9
1 Timothy 2:4
(Be regenerated: Born Again)
|1. His desire: 2 Cor. 5:15, 1 Peter 2:24 (Holy Life)|| Romans 8:29;
1 John 3:2
(His image: Like Him)
|2. His method: Ephesians 4:23-24, Romans 12:2, Colossians 3:9-10 (Renewed Mind)|
|3. His means: 2 Cor. 3:18, Eph. 5:18 (Holy Spirit)|
|Colossians 1:25-27 (Living Bible)||4. How? 1 John 1:9, Hebrews 11:6 (Confess and believe)||Colossians 1:28-29 (Phillips version)|
|Romans 12:1 (Present body, affirm His control)|
|For every unregenerated person, my goal should be the same as God’s.||For every regenerated person, my goal should be the same as God’s.|
I was first introduced to Jim’s illustration in December, 1972 and was encouraged to memorize these verses as well as the illustration itself. It became a regular part of the teaching in Memorize the Word courses and many were exposed to its presentation. All of us who became familiar with these passages of scripture have had opportunities to apply them to our own lives over the years. There are several applications in my own life to which I will briefly refer.
The first two verses related in the illustration are Genesis 1:27 (where God states we were created for fellowship with Him), and Isaiah 43:7 (where the Lord tells us that we were created for His Glory.) Since this is the Lord’s declared desire, I can always be on firm ground with the prayer that the Lord would grant fellowship with Him and that He would be glorified in my life, knowing that these prayers are a part of His will and that they will surely be answered. Such prayers have become my daily habit for many years.
I have also been challenged by the verses chosen in Colossians 1:25-27 (LB) “God has sent me to help his church and to tell his secret plan to you Gentiles. He has kept this secret for centuries and generations past, but now at last it has pleased him to tell it to those who love him and live for him, and the riches and glory of his plan are for you Gentiles too. And this is the secret: that Christ in your hearts is your only hope of glory,” and Colossians 1:28-29. “So, naturally, we proclaim Christ! We warn everyone we meet, and we teach everyone we can, all that we know about Him, so that, if possible, we may bring every man up to his full maturity in Christ. This is what I am working at all the time, with all the strength that God gives me.” (Phillips Version) These were memorized years ago and serve as a reminder of that to which Paul had committed his life: specifically his goal for those who did not know Christ was that they would come to know Him, and his goal for those who already knew Christ was that they would know Him better. Through these verses and the example of Paul’s life, the Lord has given me a life long purpose; helping others come to know Christ and to help them grow in their relationship with Him.
In this illustration I have also witnessed how God’s power becomes evident in the lives of others. Some years ago I was treating a patient who had a lung disease for which there was no cure. She had struggled with her symptoms for a few years but despite all that could be done for her, she steadily grew more short of breath every year. She took early retirement from her teaching job and became more and more depressed. On one office visit she stated that she was tired of living and had discovered no purpose for her life. Her terminology immediately reminded me of Jim’s illustration and I asked her if she would be interested in learning the purpose for her life. After an affirmative response, I returned from my office to the exam room with a Bible and we began going through the verses one by one. Before the day was over, she came to faith in Christ and discovered His purpose for her life, His power to see her through her adversity, and His presence to provide comfort and peace for the months ahead. The Lord also used her life to transform the life of her husband, who came to faith some months later.
In the accounts above, I have chronicled only a few ways in which I have seen the Lord use these verses. Through them He has provided direction in prayer, a determination of purpose and demonstration of His power. Many of us who remember Jim’s illustration are able to relate how these verses have been used by the Lord in their lives as well. I would encourage those who are familiar with them to continue to review them. For those of you to whom these verses and the illustration they contain are new, I would recommend careful review of them with a regard to application in your lives. It is my desire, and I am sure that it is also that of Jim’s that the Lord would use this illustration in your lives, that you would be drawn into deeper fellowship with Him, and that the Lord would be glorified in your lives.
In Christ, Richard Spann