Having a good life is something we all want. No one wants to experience, fear, pain or struggles in this world. Often times when we come into a relationship with Jesus Christ, we believe that those are things that we should be able to leave behind. Being a Christian should raise us to a new way of living that is free from sin and it’s effects. Unfortunately, that is not the way life works.
Since the beginning of time, life has been a struggle. Ever since the moment when Adam and Eve chose to partner with Lucifer in the Garden of Eden, life has been full of struggle and strife. It was this choice to believe the lies of the devil and forsake God that have led to a world bogged down in sin. As time went on, there has never been an end to the pain and suffering that sin has cost us.
It has only been recently, with the inventions of modern technology, that we have began to believe that our lives should be easy. With modern conveniences, we no longer have to hunt for food or build or own shelter, and we can get from one place to another with little effort. We have Google at our beck and call to answer every question we have, and Amazon to deliver our every desire. This has falsely led us to believe that having a good life means having everything come easily. However, God never told us life would be easy, or even that is was supposed to be.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
God told us to be prepared for hardships and trials. We have come to worship convenience and comfort, yet Jesus Himself was never comfortable. He had no place to lay His head, His own family rejected Him, and His own people murdered Him. Even the Apostle Paul lived for many years in dire straits because he cared more about spreading the Gospel message than his own life. He was imprisoned time after time, yet still managed to live out of place of reverence and awe for God.
We are in a war here on earth. We chose to side with the devil in the Garden. We chose the knowledge of good and evil over the presence of the One True Living God. Therefore we are at war within ourselves because of our sin, and also because we are bound by these ideals of a life of ease and comfort.
Comfort comes at the high price of complacency in our sin. If we believe that we can be comfortable in this world, then we have not truly sacrificed ourselves over to being refined by the Potter’s fire. We have merely traded it for a life that settles for mediocrity, instead of the true freedom the blood of Christ affords us.
we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5
The good life is modeled everywhere before our eyes. It is merely an illusion, perpetrated by TV, movies, media and the rich and famous. This is what the “good life” has become. The more we believe about the way life should be, the more it causes us to struggle. We want to buy the $1000 handbag that Kim K carries, or the $200 jeans that Miley wears. We want that world. That fame and riches entices us and seduces us into believing that if we could just get a little piece of it, we could buy ourselves a piece of happiness.
Yet happiness doesn’t come from material things or measured levels of success. Happiness is fleeting, but joy in the Lord is eternal. While we are hunkering down in our houses with all of our things, doing everything we can to make things pleasing, we are missing out on the only true source of life; Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the Comforter and the truth and there is no other besides Him. The key to our survival in this world is giving up our precepts of comfort and joy and giving our lives over to Jesus. He needs to become our only source of hope, truth and light. Any other source is a counterfeit, and will slowly crumble beneath us.
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6-7
Jesus is not telling you that you are not allowed to have conveniences and creature comforts in this world. God is not mad at those who have money or material things. The problem never lies in our things, but in our hearts. If we hoard away everything in our hearts in an attempt to feel safe, we are keeping ourselves from the one thing that can actually bring us peace and security.
We were not meant to battle this world alone. We were meant to do it in the presence of a mighty God. While we continue to strive for comfort and peace in a broken world, Jesus is calling to us and telling us He is our peace. He is our comfort. Outside of Him, we are left to wander, lost and alone like the Israelite’s in the wilderness. They refused to believe in God’s providence in the face of imminent danger, and therefore gave up their rights to the Promised Land.
God is not asking us to give up the Promised Land. We keep looking back at Egypt as if slavery were still a tempting idea, but God is simply asking us to trust Him even while the battle rages on. If God can part the Red Sea before us, then why do we doubt He will go before us and slay the giants as well?
I have known suffering and I have know joy. I have strived for comfort in food and material possessions. At the end of the day, all I have left to cling to is my Lord. His Word is true and His promises are unfailing. If we truly want to live the good life in Christ, then we must remember that we are not from this world, but only here for a moment in eternity. While we are here, we need to strive to know and love Jesus with all of our heart, soul and mind, and let God take care of the rest. Then we will truly understand the meaning of “the good life”.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33