Ever wonder what God wants for your life? You may pray or search the scriptures for an answer; for guidance. Does He want you to be happy? To remarry? To have kids? To work at a bar? You believe your life is unique. You want to believe that God made you special and has a plan for your life; but what is the big plan. How can we know what God wants out of our particular life? The Bible is a book for everyone for all time, and Jesus Christ has established a citizenship in a kingdom for all people to enter. So how do we squeeze our personal story out of a book that is for everyone?
In childhood, we did not ask these questions. We were fairly safe and cared for by a family of some sort. The questions came as we entered into puberty; more self-aware than ever before and concerned about me, me, me. By 15 or 16, we had a sense of identity and some aspirations. For most Americans God and religion was somewhere in the mixture of experiences growing up. By high school we thought we had it all figured out as we planned for college or work or a trade. Maybe marriage was just around the corner for some of us. Not many of us questioned God or religion or prayed too hard about the next step. Then the big day came. Graduation or marriage or being dropped off at college. We wondered then and for the most part, we may be wondering still; what are my blueprints for living?
Prayer is important. Let me assure you though, God does not answer prayers by voice, in dreams, visions, angels or by email. He did speak to certain key figures of Jewish history in these ways (except for email). But, in the last days of the Jewish economy he spoke “… to us through a Son” (Hebrews 1:1). If you are not listening to Him through reading and understanding the Bible, then your foundation for living has not been laid down (Luke 6:46-49). Without proper foundation, your blueprints, my blueprints, everyone’s blueprints for living will fail to assemble a good life.
What are the foundational teachings for building a good life? What are the foundational principles that Christ, who spoke for God, taught his followers? If these can be learned and mastered, our lives are sure to be in harmony with God’s designs and we can be assured that our decisions on who to marry, where to work, what to buy, and how to live are going to be blessed. This is, after all, the things that God’s most intimate friends believed.
In Psalm 119 we can find the power of God’s word at work in the lives of those who studied it. God’s word guards the life of the young to keep them pure. His teachings keep one from the evil of wrong choices. Trust, hope, refreshment, spiritual strength, endurance, and the abiding presence of God in life are promised from His word. Fear, taunts, temptations, depression, persecutions, bullying, rumors of evil, and desperate times are put into perspective when God’s words and his plans are understood. Wisdom and insight are gained from studying and keeping the practical teachings of the Bible. Even when the strong seem to overpower the weak, God’s teaching brings assurance of personal safety, comfort in time of trouble, and hope that springs eternal. Those who have tested the value of God’s teaching find themselves in awe of its inspiration and enriched beyond what gold can deliver.
If half of these benefits are true then the Bible is foundational to a good life. The Book challenges us to taste it (read for yourself) and see that God’s advice to living is right. It is sweet and enduring and is meant to give understanding, joy, and happiness to those who listen and follow His teachings.
All of this sounds good. How can it be condensed into practical form? Unbelievably, it has been condensed down into a single sentence and this, by God. Throughout the Old Testament, the theme is rehearsed repeatedly. In the New Testament, this same theme is illustrated in Christ’s interaction with people and their responses to his teaching. Two things stand out, love God and love others as you love yourself (Mark 12:28-34). All the laws given the Jewish nation would have been unnecessary had they learned to love. The first couple would not have brought death into the world had they loved God and one another. There is nothing given in the New Testament that will save a soul other than this kind of love. In fact, every law given is summed up by these words; love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Love fulfills the laws of God. In doing so, we are set free from sin, shame, and condemnation (Romans 13:8-11). It was God through Christ who brought this way of living to us. He loved us first as an example, that we might be imitators of Christ. By faith in this love we are constrained to live like He did and the benefits are a fulfilling life and a clear path to follow.
If doubts rise up in life, the followers in Christ are guaranteed that all things will work out for good of those who love God. The providential care of God over our life becomes sovereign and He will guide and direct our decision-making and through means beyond our comprehension bring us to know peace in this life with a promise of joy in the next life (Philippians 4:6-8, Romans 8:27-29). There are few reasons one could offer up to continue to lead life in doubt, wondering what life is
about. God has purpose and plans for us; plans to do good and not to do evil. Some people, and I wonder, most people are drawn to do as they like and suffer the consequences. Life doesn’t have to be about suffering the consequences. It can be about laying down a solid foundation and building on the blueprints designed for you. Decisions are crucial to finding answers to your prayers. The best answers to prayers are the answers already given. Read them for yourself and follow the path to a life well lived. It will be worth your effort.
16 Wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
stop doing wrong.
17 Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.
18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
you will eat the good things of the land;
20 but if you resist and rebel,
you will be devoured by the sword.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.