How To Live The Best Christian Life ⋆ Politicrossing
Connect with us

Faith

How To Live The Best Christian Life

Published

on

What does it mean to live well in this world? For many, they root the worldly answer to this question in vanity and materialism. Fortunately, the authority of God’s word has an answer for us. Society and sometimes our own ego’s tell us how important it is to be successful. Our modern world usually defines success as earning more money, getting a big house, a nice car, a boat, maybe even an airplane. Success could mean climbing the promotion ladder at your job, or having a very successful business. For many, they define success in how many “followers” or “likes” they have on their social media platform. Yet, as people gain these successes, many of them are searching still for more happiness and meaning.

Americans of all economic backgrounds are left with a void. According to a Time Magazine story, suicide rates are higher than at any other time since World War I. A Harvard report informs us of an “Astounding increase in antidepressant use by Americans.” This type of sad news informs us that even as citizens of the richest nation in the world, more cars, boats, bigger houses, career advances, etc…. are not enough to make us happy. So what can people do to discover fulfillment and success independent of the material? Luckily, God’s word provides us with the answer. The wonderful youtube channel, The Bible Project, does an excellent job of providing succinct overviews of each book of the Bible. Their take on Ecclesiastes is an instructive guide to aid us in how to live the best Christian life.

The Book of Ecclesiastes explains three observations about our world. The first is father time:

Trending on PolitiCrossing.com: The Department of Two-tiered Justice

Generations come, and generations go,
but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises and the sun sets,
and hurries back to where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
ever returning on its course…
No one remembers the former generations,
and even those yet to come
will not be remembered
by those who follow them. – Ecclesiastes 1 ( 4-6, 11) (NIV)

In the grand expanse of the universe, we are just a speck. Everything that is so important to us right now: our careers, our bank accounts, our cars, our “successes” mean nothing in the big picture of God’s eternal plan. Our earthly existence is just a quick flash. A small drop in an enormous ocean of time.

The second observation form Ecclesiastes is that we will all die and return to dust and that our concerns while here on earth are relatively meaningless.
Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. -Ecclesiastes (19-21) (NIV)

The third observation we learn from Ecclesiastes is that life is random. :

The race is not to the swift
or the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise
or wealth to the brilliant
or favor to the learned;
but time and chance happen to them all.
Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come. Ecclesiastes 9, 11-12 (NIV)

The lesson here is that life is way too complex for us to try and control and attempting to do so sets us up for failure and disappointment. These three observations can make life seem pretty dark and pointless. The author explains that everything in life is hevel. This is a Hebrew word meaning vapor or smoke. And like smoke, life can look like one thing, but quickly change into another form. You can reach out and try to grab (control) both smoke and life to no avail.

Modern biblical translations miss the smoke metaphor and usually translate hevel to the word meaningless. However, the author of Ecclesiastes isn’t suggesting that life has no meaning, but that instead, life can be unclear (like smoke). Just like standing in a smoky room, life can be confusing, stressful, and it’s difficult to know what lies in front of you. Therefore, while it may not always guarantee short-term success in our time on earth, we should live in fear of the Lord and have faith because his plan is eternal and beyond our comprehension.

The lesson of Ecclesiastes is that since we have no control in life, we should focus on the one thing that we do have control over, our attitude. Real success is accepting this lack of control and appreciating not the material, but the intangible things in life: holding hands with a loved one, sitting out in the sun on a warm day, your bare feet on the beach, a great meal with friends and loved ones. We should learn to enjoy these good simple moments, and the bad, because while they are fleeting, they are all gifts from a loving God.

The good times and the bad, the money, the jobs, our health, our friends, and even our loved one’s will all come and go. If we can teach ourselves to appreciate the ups and the downs of this rollercoaster of life and understand that God is the master of the entire amusement park, then learning to enjoy the ride is the accurate definition of success. This is how we can learn to live our best Christian life.

We'd love to hear your thoughts about this article. Please take a minute to share them in the comment section by clicking here. Or carry the conversation over on your favorite social network by clicking one of the share buttons below.



  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
 
 
 

Join the conversation!

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.



Faith

Seek Out the Good in Others

If you try, you can find at least one thing admirable in everyone you meet.

Published

on

Will Rogers, a political satirist, entertainer, and beloved figure in the first half of the twentieth century allegedly said, “I never met a man I didn’t like.” Many people have interpreted Will Rogers to have meant that he could find something admirable in everyone he met. So, too, can we all.

Something Admirable

Is there a co-worker with whom you have had a nasty relationship? Is there something good about this co-worker that you can draw upon, so that you can actually say something nice to him/her at your next encounter?

Is there a neighbor with whom you have had a continuing squabble? What would it do to your relationship if you sent your neighbor a card or a brief note that said something along the lines of, “I noticed how lovely your garden was the other day and wanted to let you know that I appreciate the work you’ve done in maintaining it.” Too syrupy, or, pardon the expression, too flowery?  Guess again.

Trending on PolitiCrossing.com: The Department of Two-tiered Justice

You’re on this planet for finite amount of time. Do you want to go through your life trading hostilities with people, never having the where-with-all to restore some semblance of civility to the relationship?

Finding the Good

Try thinking of and listing five people who you may not have a good relationship with but can acknowledge. Next to each person’s name, write what is good about them. Do they maintain a nice garden? Here are some ideas for you in case you’re drawing a blank. This person…

* Is kind to the receptionist at work.
* Turns assignments in on time, and hence, supports the team.
* Walks softly past your office, so as not to disturb you.
* Greets you in the morning when you arrive.
* Maintains his or her office well.

Away from work, here are some ideas for finding the good in others:
* Keeps the street in front of the yard free of debris.
* Is respectful of others’ needs for quiet.
* Dresses well.
* Has well-behaved children.
* Drives safely in the neighborhood.

If you try, you’ll find something good!

– – – – –

 

Continue Reading

Faith

Reducing Stress Through Prayer, and More

Taking a few minutes out of a hectic day can spell the difference between frenzy and tranquility

Published

on

Prayer has been an effective method for soothing the soul since people first believed in God. For some people, the payoff comes with sitting still, and being quiet. Many feel a direct connection with God which, in itself, is calming. Those who attend a place of worship every Sunday find that praying with others is comforting. Reverence to God, fellowship, and familiar chants and hymns can all aid in reducing stress and bringing inner contentment.

If you haven’t prayed in a while, in addition to the religious aspects, the stress reduction can be magnificent. Even if you never attend a formal prayer service, informal prayer, by your bedside, in a comfortable chair, or somewhere in nature can work as well. Some of the most accomplished and admirable people who have ever walked this earth have been deeply religious and have found great comfort in prayer.

Other Options

In our rush-rush society, your ability to take a few minutes out of a hectic day can spell the difference between frenzy and tranquility. The majority of stress we experience is a result of the daily deluge of information and communication we come in contact with on top of the amount of tasks we need to accomplish. If you have been experiencing severe stress, it might mean the difference between a long life and a shortened one.

Trending on PolitiCrossing.com: The Department of Two-tiered Justice

People have long used drugs (prescribed and otherwise!) and medications to achieve certain effects. I’m not knocking all of these substances – some of them probably live up to their mystique; however, there is no need to engage in drugs, considering there are so many other ways to effectively reduce stress.

Amidst the flurry of reports from medical researchers, many people also rely on a glass or two of wine each day to relax. If this is your habit, and it works for you, you’re probably on reasonably safe ground. The latest research, however, paints a less rosy picture about wine’s beneficial effects. I’m concerned, as well, about the long-term effects of having two glasses of wine, 365 days a year, for 10 or 20 years.

Change for Real

It often seems like people around you are enamored by some techniques such as meditation or yoga, but in reality, most people who practice these or other techniques do so only a handful of times. Then, they revert back to what they did previously.

The changes that you implement need to come without too much pain, to be subtle, even natural and easy. Otherwise, you probably won’t stick with them. Lasting and effective change can come from small incremental change. So, keep in mind that not every technique will strike your fancy. Enough of them will fit your lifestyle, and will work for you enough of the time for you to stay with them and to ultimately exercise control in ways that you have always wanted.

Talking to Someone

The mere act of talking to someone about issues confronting you can be stress reducing, and certainly more effective than mentally stewing over things alone. In The Psychological Society, author Martin L. Gross concluded that “the modern industry of psychology in America was no more effective in treating patients than witch doctors in Africa were in treating people who came to them.”

The key was whether or not the patient believed that the doctor had healing powers. Hence, if you believe that a witch doctor can help you, then a witch doctor can be as effective as a psychiatrist. A trusted friend or relative, with whom you can discuss your problems, can be equally effective.

The idea of talking to someone about what is stressing you is not so much that you will find a solution then and there, but that the mere physical act of discussing the stressor moves you closer to resolution, perhaps using one of the techniques discussed in this article.

Using Humor

Throughout the ages, humor has also been a primary tool in helping to reduce stress. Don’t discount the power of humor before trying it. If it’s been a while, or forever, since you’ve engaged in humor to reduce stress, you’re in for a treat. I’m not talking about jokes or side-splitting belly laughs, but rather a gleeful, playful acceptance of the inane and absurd situations that you encounter, and as a business owner you have your share of them.

The ability to laugh at yourself or to laugh at your situation might spell the fundamental difference between those who show resilience in the face of hard times, and those who face nervous breakdowns.

– – – – – –

 

 

Continue Reading

 

Our Newsletter

Become a Politicrossing insider: Sign up for our free email newsletter, and we'll make sure to keep you in the loop.

Sites We Like

Our Newsletter

Become a PolitiCrossing insider: Sign up for our free email newsletter, and we'll make sure to keep you in the loop.

Trending

Politicrossing
 
Send this to a friend