Life is filled with perplexities, puzzlements of various sorts. It has odd turns: seemingly insignificant things sometimes turn out to be terribly significant; things that aren't supposed to work out, but sometimes do; and things that seemingly should work out, but don't. Life is a tangled web, a knotty, mostly inexplicable web. Man seeks to describe it, to explain it, and he can't. All he can do is live it.
But don't despair. There is more to life than just an inexplicable maze of un-related and un-controllable events. Actually, God made life, and it is to Him that we must turn for information concerning its proper management. Life can be a zesty, fulfilling experience, even in the face of difficulty or adversity, if it is lived in accordance with the designs of the Maker. Otherwise it's just an empty shell lived without meaning and with little genuine happiness attached to it.
First, let it be carefully observed that a life divorced from God has little meaning. Solomon paints a sordid picture of life in Ecclesiastes. He says that the sun rises and goes down over and over. He says that one generation comes and another passes away. He says that the weather forecast really doesn't change that much -- that one caold front follows another, that "that which is crooked cannot be made straight and that whcih is wanting cannot be numbered" (Eccl. 1:15). Paul the Apostle echoes the same sentiment when he exclaims, "if in this world only we have hope, we are of all men most miserable" (1 Cor. 15: 19). So let it first be noted that a good life begins by getting in touch with God.
Life has meaning when it generates service. Service is the essence of life. To put oneself at the disposal of others is to bring meaning to life, to be a part of society, to bring honor to the Creator. We are "all members one of another" (Rom. 12:5). That means that we are joined in service to one another. We don't all have the same talent, but we all have some talent with which to serve. Want a fulfilling life? Put yourself at the disposal of others. Get out of yourself and get involved in serving others.
Life has meaning when it is motivated by love. Love is the divine energizer. It brings things about. It generates the motion necessary for everything from good marital relationships, to good congregations of God's people. Actually, what is not motivated by love is of little value in the ultimate reality. Love broadens, softens, actuates, disciplines, clarifies, joins, repairs, and is behind every sort of human happiness. Love and you'll be loved. Love and you's be blessed -- even when things go wrong.
Furthermore, life has meaning when it is pointed in the right direction. "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life," is Jesus' way of saying "point your life toward Me or it will have no real meaning." The Hebrew writer must have had this concept in mind when he said we should run the race "with patience, looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith." To look in the wrong direction is disastrous, folks! You'll have a wreck for sure.
Finally, faith is the substance for giving life real meaning. A life that has been lived without any connection to the life hereafter is foolish indeed. More than that, it's a terrible waste! Even the light afflictions are made easier to bear, the disappointments easier to shoulder if there is faith in the Eternal. "Our light affliction worketh for us a far greater and eternal weight of glory, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Cor. 4:17,18). You should know by now that "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb. 11:1). Our faith is the basis for our hope. If we look in the right direction, we will see it -- off in the distance there -- eternal life. Now that's a life worth living!
By Dee Bowman via Gospel Power, Vol. 16, No. 38, Sept. 20, 2009.
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