Archives For Abundant Life

Live Well

Steve —  5.19.2010 — Leave a comment

I was asked by a friend who’s life was falling apart why he should live according to God’s Word. After all, good behavior had gotten him nowhere; in fact, he considered himself worse off because of it.

The second part of our banner is Live Well. We covered Love Much in a previous post and Light Your World is coming up. What used to come to mind for me when I heard the term “live well” was keeping my nose clean and staying out of trouble, but I’ve come to learn it’s much more than that.

Just like loving much involves more than taking someone some chicken spaghetti when they break a leg, living well is much more than staying out of jail. Evidence of this is found in the Gospels (first 4 books of the New Testament of the Bible) in the way Jesus talked to those He met. The call was (and is today) to go and sin no more.

That’s it.
Very simple command.
Very difficult implementation plan.
And He knew that!

You see, you can’t go very far down the Live Well road before you understand that you must Love (Him) Much first. Living a life well is a response to His Love and must be rooted in some very weighty beliefs.

First, you must believe that God desires the very best for you. When Jesus talked about the abundant life, he wasn’t talking about a life free of pain and struggle. He was talking about a life that is used to it’s fullest potential to impact His Kingdom. He was talking about life lived with His perspective, not ours. With His priorities, not ours. With His values, not ours.

Second, you must believe that God has a purpose for your life. He uniquely crafted you with abilities, skills and experiences for His purposes. Exploring what those things are, with an eye purpose, is a fantastic way to understand why you are still sucking wind behind your keyboard. Assessments, other people and some good ole soul searching are great tools to uncover this information.

Finally, you must understand that a life lived well typically will mean hard times become the norm. There’s an Enemy lurking for anyone who starts making waves for God. For some, that will be enough to return to status quo, but for those resolute few who really desire to live well, it merely strengthens their resolve. Additionally, there is still Joy to be had when hard times come because we now have a perspective that we’re being used to make a difference.

So, the question about why we should live life well goes all the way back to a response to His Love and moves out from there to being effective in Lighting the world around you. Hmmm…that seems to be the next topic.

*PARADIGM CHECK: Are people asking you about how or why you live life the way you do? A life lived well is different from the world – different decision grids, different actions and certainly different values. If you look, act and smell just like everyone else, perhaps it’s time to examine your life from His perspective and ask some overdue questions…on your knees.

It struck me that the “age old” question, “What is the meaning of life?” isn’t a mystery to me and hasn’t been for some time, but for whatever reason, I just now put it into one cohesive thought. The answer isn’t going to be popular with some, but that’s what happens when you answer age old questions.

Before I get to my answer though, I would like to define the term life for just a minute. Some would say that as long as blood is flowing and air is being turned from O2 to CO2, we’re alive. And, by the strictest of technicalities – they’d be right.

However, as humans, life is much more than functional biology. Life is emotional, mental, dimensional, spiritual. Life is experienced and those experiences, for better or worse affect us in both small and profound ways. Life is moving and changing and ever-fluid – sometimes in spite of our best efforts.

Another component to life is time because another way to define a thing is by it’s opposite – in this case, death. Life is our existence prior to an inevitable and inescapable death. So, when we talk about life, we’re normally talking about being alive physically and therefore requires us to consider time.

To sum up, I think we can all agree that life is more than biological success and that it has a limited timeframe, at least physical life. With that in mind, the meaning of life would seem to be a question that has no definite answer unless we have more criteria to add to the mixing bowl. How about some qualifiers?

Perhaps we can all agree that the desire for life is that it be positive when all things are considered. More good, less bad; more fun, less pain; more laughs, less grief – that’s the goal. Perhaps a term that fits is “abundant” – we desire to have an abundant life. Great – now we’re cooking with gas.

This makes me want to rephrase the original question – “What is the purpose of my time pursuing the abundant life?” I mean we spend a tremendous amount of energy trying to make happy memories, build relationships, accumulate niceties, survive the valleys – but why? For what? Is it so we can say today is better than yesterday or might it be something more majestic?

I think hope believe so.

Life, with all of the potential for amazing adventures and incredible experiences is best described, in my mind, as a quest. Yep – like the quest for the holy grail in King Arthur’s tales. An adventure with a beginning, journey and climatic end. But to have a quest, you must know what you are seeking and at least an inkling on how you will go about finding it.

To me, the purpose of the quest is to know God. I believe He created not only me, but everything I can lay eyes on…for a purpose. I believe He designed each of us with gifts and talents that, when used according to His design, make it possible to achieve the abundant life we all seek and, in knowing Him, we get a sense of how to do just that. Thus the journey part of our quest is finding our purpose by examining our design. Haven’t you ever experience the sweet spot when you took a swing at life and hit a home run – where it just felt natural. That’s your design in the flesh baby.

Therefore, the meaning of life (quest) is to know God – our Creator. The journey is to understand our design and put that to use exploring abundant living. That just leaves one part – the beginning. Have you begun the quest yet? Are you pursuing the abundant life through trial and error or are you going to the master’s workshop to get the goods first-hand? Perhaps it’s time to stop wasting your precious time wondering around the castle and actually get on your horse and ride – the grail is out there, just waiting for you to discover it.

If you’d like some help with your saddle, let me know – I’d be honored to be your stable-boy!