What does it look like to truly live well? This is a question that I have done a lot of thinking about my whole life, but particularly in the last several years as I studied various topics of health, wellness, psychology, motivation, and flourishing in university and graduate courses and continued to learn about God and His character on my own and in the context of our local church. I can tell you all sorts of theories about the components of well-being and lots of definitions about what makes a life “good.”
Some people are focused only on a pleasant life. They want to avoid pain, discomfort, and illness at all costs. Now, I’m not saying that we should seek out pain, discomfort, or illness. No, instead, I’m saying that a good life – a life well lived – a thriving life – might very well include some pain. In fact, we know that since sin came into the world (Genesis 3) there hasn’t been one person who has avoided all pain, discomfort, or illness.
Others strive for a life of achievement. The more they can claim on their resume or bank account or social media follower count, they see success, worth, and value. But we know that things and money do not ultimately satisfy us. King Solomon, who was given special wisdom from God, and was known world-wide for his wealth, said, “But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless – like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.” (Ecclesiastes 2:11, NLT)
Still others strive for a life of meaning. For me, this is where things get particularly interesting and tricky. Because I do believe that we are called to live our lives meaningfully. I believe that we should use what we have – both in our resources and in our abilities – to help and serve those around us; to be part of something greater than we could ever be by ourselves. Some people will do just that. They might volunteer in their communities or give to respected charities or donate to worthy causes and find meaning and purpose in that.
However, I believe there is something deeper and more profound that we need to be searching after. To me, the first question should always be “who am I and why am I here?” The Westminster Shorter Catechism puts it this way, “Q1. What is the chief end of man?” The answer is simply, “To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” This, to me, suggests that not only are we to be concerned with what we are doing, but we need to be concerned with a more fundamental question. Who are we being? To me, one who glorifies God isn’t just someone who checks the religious boxes of going to church and praying and things like that. No, we are called to more. We are called to a relationship with the God of the Universe. Isaiah 43:1 (NLT) says, “But now, O Jacob, listen to the LORD who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, ‘Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.’” Because of the work of Jesus Christ, when we believe in him, we are put back into a right relationship with God. It is that relationship that defines who we are and how we live. What we do may not always look a lot different from the rest of the world, but HOW we do it and WHY we do it should be a whole lot different.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, “ (Colossians 3:23, ESV) means that we can stay engaged in the lives we live, but that our purpose is not to experience pleasure, or to pad our resume, or to leave a legacy that will cause people to praise us. No, the life truly well lived is one that puts a relationship with God above all else and then chooses to love others and reflect God’s character to the world, whether you are in the board room or the grocery store or the family room or the park down the street.
Our desire at Thrive Life Advancement Ministries (Thrive LAM) is to help people understand just what and how they, as unique individuals, can live life well, how they can thrive and flourish to the glory of God and the growth of His Kingdom.
"If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won't he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it?"