The Good Life
“See, today I set before you good and life and evil and death. Therefore choose the good and choose life that you and your descendants may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:15 and 19b) Moses stood in front of the Israelites and spoke these words to them just before they were to cross over into the Promised Land. The people recognized that God was speaking to them through Moses.
God was telling his people that there would be new temptations and evil attractions in this new land that they had never been exposes to when they were living out in the desert. There would also be new opportunities for good in this new land and new prospects for a richer life that they could choose. There were many good and bad choices that they could make. God has given all of his children the freedom to choose whatever they want. But back then God was calling upon the Israelites to choose the good and to choose life. And He was begging them to stay away from evil.
God has that same message for us today. Our heavenly Father begs his children to stay away from evil and challenges us to choose the good and to choose life. God told the Israelites (through Moses) that they were choosing life when they loved Him and followed his commandments. If the Israelites obeyed and did these things they would have a good life. And He tells us the same thing today.
What does it mean to have a good life and how do we have it? First of all we can have a good life if we choose the good and choose to stay away from the evil. God’s promise of a good life doesn’t mean a problem free life. But God does promises to be with his children and bless us and one of those blessings is peace. (John 14:27) Peace is just one of the many gifts God gives us in this “good life”. But there are things that can steal our peace.
Worry is one of those things. Worrying will steal our peace and keep us from trusting God. Trusting God allows us to enter into His peace and allows us to experience the faithfulness of God. So like the Israelites we also have choices to make on our life journey. We can choose to trust God or we can choose to worry and be afraid.
We may not believe it but we can help choose our thoughts. We can choose to think and worry about the wrong or we can choose to trust God and think about His faithfulness. We can choose to pick at another person’s faults or we can choose to look for their good qualities and pray for them. We can choose to stay busy doing what is right and there will be no room to do what is wrong.
I used to believe that I couldn’t change my negative thoughts and I couldn’t stop my habit of worrying. I had been a worrier all my life and that was just the way I was. The devil had me stuck just where he wanted me. Stuck in believing that I couldn’t change. But Scripture says that when we have God’s help we can change the way we think – that we can “renew our minds!” Here it is: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)
God calls us to walk in faith and to trust Him with our problems. But many of us have practiced worrying about our problems for so long that we believe that we will always worry about our problems. Since we have practiced focusing on the negative for so long it may take time to learn to change and practice focusing on God’s faithfulness.
God is calling us to “renew our minds” and we can do it. And God doesn’t ask us to do anything that we can’t do! We can practice praying and trusting God to help us with our problems. It will take a lot of practice and patience trusting God but we have the Holy Spirit there to help. Can you picture yourself not being tormented with worry any more but instead always joyfully trusting God? Start picturing yourself that way and practice trusting God and soon you will be there. That’s part of the good life.
Another part of living the good life is learning to love people and helping others when we can. God is love and his nature is that of a giver. (1 John 4:8) God wants his children to be like Him and be loving and giving also. He commands us to love and care for one another. And to forgive one another. But we often fall down on the job when we try to obey. We can choose to love even when we don’t feel like it. Again we will need to practice loving the people we find hard to love. And keep choosing and practicing what God has commanded us to do.
The Bible says we know we have passed over from death to life if we love the brothers and sisters. (1 John 3:14) When we choose love we choose life. People who live loving lives are generous people. Generous people are usually happy people.
And people who are not generous most often live unhappy lives. Stingy people live small pathetic little lives. We don’t have to be rich in order to be generous. We can be generous in little ways. Today a woman held the door open for me at the post office. She smiled at me and wished me a nice day. She brightened my mood and I felt blessed. We can be a blessing to others just by being friendly. And Scripture says: “Be mindful to be a blessing.” (Galatians 6:10)
In her latest book “Power Thoughts” Joyce Meyers writes about the burden of being responsible for our life. This is part of what she says: “The most difficult burden we have to carry in life is self. Managing self, our daily living, feelings, temptations, temperament, and inward affairs all can become a heavy burden if we do not place ourselves entirely in God’s hands by faith Nothing is more tormenting than being controlled emotionally by outside forces.”
Some of us struggle all our lives to be emotionally stable and content. Scripture says: “Godliness accompanied with contentment is great and abundant gain.” (1Timothy 6:6) Emotional maturity is a priority in our lives. We can pray and ask God to help us be emotionally stable and He will answer that prayer. Psalms 94:13 tells us that God wants to give us power to stay calm when we are having troubles. God has given us a new nature. The Bible says that we are to “put off” the old nature and “put on” the new nature.
Two of the gifts of the Holy Spirit are faithfulness and self control. Let us take the gifts God has for us and take them out and use them. We can practice being faithful and we can practice self control. We can develop self control by using it. Our thoughts have a lot to do with our moods. And we can choose our thoughts. We can tell ourselves that with God’s help we are emotionally stable. We can walk in his strength instead of in our weakness. We can practice being appreciative and thankful. And learn to focus on the good and pray about the problems.
We not only want an emotionally stable life so that we can enjoy it but also because others need us to stay strong. Others are counting on us to be reliable and faithful and true. Jeremiah 17:8 and Psalm 1:3 tell us to be like trees firmly planted. Scripture says that God’s people are like shinning stars. (Phil 2:15 and Daniel 12:3) We are meant to shine and we are meant to do good works. When we walk the walk of faith we walk in power. We have been given our lives for a purpose. God is blessing and guiding us along the way. Let’s not let anything hold us back from living the good life that God has for us.
Some of the ideas in this blog were taken from Joyce Meyer’s book, Power Thoughts