By Paul Witkop –
When I was a baby, I’m sure my parents fed me strained spinach. That was the good life, because I didn’t know any better. Of course, today I think it tastes like dog-spit. We banned it from our kid’s diet because it made me sick just to look at it. When I grew up, I learned about Chicago style pizza, jerked chicken and Thai cuisine. I will never go back to strained spinach. No way! I have tasted something much better.
If your goal is the good life, that is looking good, feeling good and having lots of goods…then God has something else in mind…it’s a better life. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be healthy and enjoy the fruits of our labors. However, ultimately, God wants to give us his best, a life filled with meaning and freedom.
Where do we find meaning? It comes from a relationship with the God who created us. We didn’t make ourselves, although some of us beg to differ. God made us for a purpose and without God’s purpose life will never make sense. We weren’t made to live by ourselves or for ourselves. In fact, the more selfish and self-centered we are, the more miserable we are. We soon learn that instantaneous gratification of every one of our impulses will lead to disaster. Our meaning comes from God. God created us and knows us best.
Our freedom also comes from God. Everything you have in your life is a gift from God. The next breath you take, the next meal you eat, the next sunset you enjoy, the next hug you treasure – all of them are gifts. God gives us the freedom to choose. Sometimes we choose our own way rather than God’s. We soon learn that choices that leave out God are not wise and can be destructive. But even when we blow it, he still loves us. We don’t earn his love…it is a free gift. God’s love says, “I want the best for you. You cannot earn my love. I forgive you.” Jesus Christ has paid for your sin on the cross. Jesus’ resurrection proves that no power on this earth, not even death itself is greater than God’s power. When we do choose our own way, God is not mad at us. God wants to give us another chance.
The best life is living every day in faith, confident of God’s love and confident to share that love with others. He wants a relationship with each of us and is waiting for each of us to respond to his offer. Say “yes” to his offer. Then find some other followers of Jesus in a church. All of us need a community to grow. This is the best life possible.