The Good life

This blog address the issue of good life. What is the good life? How to have a good life based on God’s word? Read and see how the good life is in our attitude and not in our possessions.

1 Peter 3:8

Good life is the pursuit of our generation. Everybody wants a good life. The whole value system are geared toward the good life. We talk to each other, “Have a good day.” What is a good day? Should Christians love a good life? How do you lead a good life? How can you make the best out of our life and love life?

Today I want to speak to you on the worldly aspect and the Christian aspect of good life.

Illustration

Michael Jackson was an American singer, songwriter, and dancer, dubbed the “King of Pop.” He was one of the most popular entertainers in the world and one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Thriller is the best-selling album of all time, with estimated sales of over 66 million copies worldwide. He had popularity, fame, pets, homes, and mansions, private jets. What he wanted he had it. After Jackson’s death, Forbes ranked Jackson as the top-earning deceased celebrity for the fifth consecutive year in 2017. Yet all this could not satisfy him. Michael Jackson died of overdose in 2009.

For the world, the good life is basically synonymous with over-indulgence. Sin is the good life for the world.

In a worldly sense Solomon had a good life. He could have competed with any person or celebrity on every level. MJ had the money. He had power and women, yet he hated life.

Ecclesiastes 2:17 So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. Ecclesiastes reminds us that people who had the most hated life.

Let us see Solomon, how a man who had everything that constitutes a good life hated life. Solomon tried to evaluate life, try and have at everything under heaven to pursue the good life. This is his conclusion:

1. Good life is not found in education.

Ecclesiastes 1:13 I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens.

Ecclesiastes 1:16-17 16I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.” 17Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. Good life is not in education. Solomon was wiser than anyone and still there was no satisfaction.

2. Good life is not found in great accomplishments.

Ecclesiastes 1:14 KJV I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

Good life is not found in having a great career. All the work accomplishments are vanity says Solomon. Do we need them, yes but that will not satisfy us.

3. Good life is not found in pleasure.

Ecclesiastes 2:2 “Laughter,” I said, :”is foolish. And what does pleasure accomplish?” The good life wasn’t in pleasure.

Ecclesiastes 2:3 I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly—my mind still guiding me with wisdom. Good life is not in pleasure, alcohol, drugs or substance abuse. It provided nothing.

4. Good life is not in possessions.

Ecclesiastes 2:4-6 4I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. 5I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. 7I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. 8I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired male and female singers, and a harem as well—the delights of a man’s heart. 9I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me.

The good life wasn’t in any of those possessions. Here is the richest man that ever lived, the wisest man that ever lived. He had the best education, he had all possession but he was not happy.

See the commentary of Solomon’s life which he wrote as a poem in the Bible.

Ecclesiastes 4:2-3

2And I declared that the dead,
who had already died,
are happier than the living,
who are still alive.
3But better than both
is the one who has never been born,
who has not seen the evil
that is done under the sun.

Here is a man who thought the good life was contained in all of these things and when he went through the whole span of it, he said I hated life, and I congratulated the dead and even better off than the dead were the people who never lived because they never even had to be a part of this unfulfilling, futile life.

So, what is the good life? What provides the good life? What is it that can make us fulfilled in life?

1 Peter 3:8-12

8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 9Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. 11They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. 12For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Peter is writing about the good life. In this wonderful text he opens up to us some windows of understanding about this good life. Remember Peter is writing to a group of Christian who is going through a tough life. They were persecuted, suffering, hated, slandered upon, and resented because of their faith by the government, by their employers, and in the family. So Peter writes to them and says, “Now if you mean to love life and see good days in spite of this, here’s what you need.”

HAVE THE RIGHT ATTITUDE

Good life is a question of attitude, not possessions. We approach life with the right attitude and have the right attitude to everybody. Good life is not in what you possess but in your attitude.

The attitude of good life is given in a context of three basic spheres of our relationship in which we are all involved in. The context of this passage starts from chapter 2 of 1 Peter.

Your relationship to the government. 1 Peter 2:13-15

Your relationship in the workplace. 1 Peter 2:18-21

Your relationship in the marriage. 1 Peter 3:1-7

These are the arenas of social relationship where one has to have the right attitude.

FIVE ASPECTS OF ATTITUDE.

I will touch one attitude today and see the others later.

1. Be harmonious.

1 Peter 1:8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.

I need to work towards building harmonious relationships.

Harmonious means melodious, agreeing with one another as a four-part harmony music. To be harmonious is to be like-minded or have unity of heart.

As Christians we are to demonstrate to the world an unearthly unity. Harmony should be the characteristic of Christians. Unity has always been the foundation of any family or church.

We do not create conflict. The family and church should be a place where the world comes to see harmony in action. But it should extend beyond the church. It should affect all of our relationships with everyone on the outside. How can we achieve that harmony? Peter mentions us four ways to develop harmony in our relationships.

WAYS TO DEVELOP HARMONY

1 Peter 1:8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.

a. Be Sympathetic.

It means to suffer with someone. I have to share in the suffering of others. We must find in our hearts sympathy. We should be marked like Jesus Christ, who is a sympathetic high priest, says the writer of Hebrews. Share in the feelings of others, joining in their sorrow, joining in their joy.

One Scottish writer put it this way, “Moses the greater man than Aaron was not called to be high priest. Why? Because he had grown up in the palace, he had never felt the lash of the taskmaster, the blast of the brick kilns, the raw-fingered agony of unrequited toil. He couldn’t be touched with the feelings of their infirmities, but Aaron could. He was there.” He further says, “We may pity from above, but we can only sympathize from beside.” We are to be sympathetic with all of their anxieties and all of their burdens.

b. Love One Another.

This is brotherly love, unselfish service. I need to love unselfishly. This, of course, starts in the church, then to our homes, and then to the world around us. We are to demonstrate love in a loveless world.

See what Jesus prayed in His high priestly prayer for the church:

John 17:21-22 20“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

John 13 And Jesus instructed the disciples in John 13 that it would be by their loving unity that all men would know that they were His disciples. John 13:34-35 34“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Romans 12:16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Philippians 2:2 Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.

1 Corinthians 1:10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.

If we are peacemakers and if we are sympathizers and if we are brother lovers, the world is going to feel all of that.

c. Be Compassionate.

It means tender-hearted or sympathetic.

I need to have compassion for people’s needs and salvation.

Illustration:

My Pastor in Calcutta, Pr. Mark Buntain came to India in 1954. He started a series of project for the poor in Calcutta.  In 1964, the Buntains opened their first school for 200 children. A year later, they began a feeding program, starting with free school lunches of milk and parathas. One day as Pr. Buntain was driving home from church, he saw a man lying on the streets. He had high fever and needed immediate medical attention. As Pr. Buntain was pondering this man died in Pr. Buntain’s hands. He decided to start a clinic for basic first aid which turned into the present Mission of Mercy Hospital & Research Centre proving free healthcare to 40% of patients now.

Illustration:

D.L. Moody told the story of his conversion this way: “When I was in Boston I used to attend a Sunday school class, and one day I recollect my teacher came around behind the counter of the shop I was at work in, and put his hand upon my shoulder, and talked to me about Christ and my soul. I had not felt that I had a soul till then. I said to myself, ‘This is a very strange thing. Here is a man who never saw me till lately, and he is weeping over my sins, and I never shed a tear about them.’ But I understand it now, and know what it is to have a passion for men’s souls and weep over their sins. I don’t remember what he said, but I can still feel the power of that man’s hand on my shoulder tonight.”

The concern and tears of a godly teacher resulted in the conversion of a man who saw a million souls saved in his evangelistic campaigns.

Isaiah 49:13 For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted one.

Surely this is at the heart of God, who Himself was kind-hearted, tender-hearted and compassionate toward sinners. In fact, so compassionate was God in Christ that seeing sinners Jesus what? Wept.

d. Be Humble.

This is the most essential of all Christian virtues. Humility; we are to be humble-minded.

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.

Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

Illustration: Muhammad Ali, the great wrestler was once on an airplane and he said, “I’m the greatest.” The airhostesses looked at him and saw he didn’t have his seatbelt fastened. She said to him, “Mr. Ali, you’ll have to fasten your seatbelt.” Ali responded, “Superman don’t need seatbelt.” The hostess then replied, “Superman don’t need airplane either.”

Now, look at William Carey, often referred to as the father of the modern missionary movement. He was a brilliant man but came from a very humble beginning who worked as a cobbler, a shoe repairman. At a dinner party one evening a man said to Carey, “I understand, Mister Carey that you once worked as a shoemaker.” “Oh, no, your lord,” Carey replied, “I was not a shoemaker, only a shoe repairman.”

Conclusion:

Good life comes not from possessions or achievements, but from a good attitude. We need the attitude of building harmonious relationships in the society. The key for a harmonious relationship is to be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate, and to be humble.

Where do you see all of these virtues rolled into one? Jesus Christ. Who was the greatest living peacemaker? Christ. Who was the ultimate sympathizer, lover, kind-hearted person, and the humblest of all, who humbled Himself even to death? Our Lord Christ.

That’s to be the attitude of every Christian. Every Christian is to have the attitude of Christ. No matter how difficult the circumstances in which we live, we are to be conciliatory, we are to be peacemakers in disposition, we are to be sympathetic and sensitive to the pain of people and their joy. We are to be sacrificial in our serving love to one another and those outside. We are to be tender and compassionate. And we are to bear the spirit of humility. That is the attitude that Peter calls for in every situation for a good life.

You want to love life? You want to see good days? Have this attitude – an attitude of harmony.