I heard him say that those who follow Jesus have a better life. I had to stop and think about it for a minute. Is it true? Is that biblical? Do all believers have a better life? What makes life better for believers? Why would their life be better than those who don’t believe? And what determines if life is better or worse? What standard are we measuring against?
Let’s think about this.
Some say that life is as good as we make it. Since we aren’t in total control of everything, how do we know we can make our lives better? And what is the definition of a better life? Wouldn’t that be determined by your goals and dreams and talents and skills and finances? There are many factors that can make life good. And there are just as many factors that can skew every plan you make.
I’ve heard parents say that they want their kids to have a better life than they had. But from what I gather, they’re talking about careers and finances. They don’t mention wanting the next generation to have a better life because they’re followers of Christ.
The Bible even tells us that we can plan our lives, but our plans may fall short. Because ultimately, God is in control.
You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail. Proverbs 19:21
According to Proverbs 19:21, the Lord’s purpose will take priority over anything we plan for our lives. God’s purpose will prevail, even when we have our lives planned out. We aren’t in control. So, does that make life better?
I think of the family who recently lost their unborn child. Does life feel better for them right now? And there’s the one who has received a diagnosis they never expected. Does life feel better for them? What about those who have recently lost their job? How good does life feel right about now?
Over sixty self-exiled Chinese Christians have been trying to find a safe haven to call home for several years. They fled from China to Hong Kong over three years ago seeking refuge, because they were experiencing threats and interrogations by the Chinese police. Later they moved to Thailand, where they were seeking refugee status from the United Nations, but they were detained by the Thai immigration authorities. Fearing they would be returned to China to face prison, torture or even death, they sought a new refuge. They are now safely in the United States, thanks to organizations that fight for the safety of persecuted Chinese Christians. I wonder if these persecuted believers feel that their life is better because of all the persecution and displacement they have experienced. Is life better for them now that they’ve been removed from any present danger?
What is the answer to a better life?
For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
Paul writes about contentment in the New Testament. Can I be content in any situation I find myself in? Do my circumstances determine my happiness? What about joy? Because joy is different from happiness. Happiness is an external feeling, while joy is internal. Happiness is fleeting, because moods can change on a dime. But joy is an inward peace and contentment in spite of the circumstances.
Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13
We can get too caught up on our day to day living. We have busy lives. There’s work and family obligations. School and sports events. Community activities. Church activities. All are good, but they can serve as distractions. We get caught up in living for the moment. We think only of what this life on earth has to offer us. And when life is good, we want it to continue indefinitely. How often do we stop to think that this life, this world is not our final home. We must live our lives here on earth as a training ground for eternity. Because eternity will never end. Never. Once we’re in our eternal home, we’re there. So now, while it is still today, we have to consider that our life on this earth is better when we are a follower of Christ. It’s better because we have peace knowing that this life is not the final life for us. We have eternal life with God our Heavenly Father waiting for us. The knowing of what lies ahead makes life palatable even when circumstances are pointing otherwise. Our identity must be in Christ alone. Because when we do that, we can set aside the momentary troubles that cause us to struggle. We must continue obeying and honoring God, regardless of the cost. That is the good life. Even during difficult times, God is good all the time.
We find contentment in Christ alone. That is the answer to living a better life. Oh. We hear the news of chaos in this world. We see the destruction of morality and family values. We know life will never be innocent and pure. Satan’s reach continues to expand, and he’s still on the warpath for even more power. But for those who follow God’s commands and live to please him, there is peace that passes understanding. That is a better life. We don’t have to live in fear of the unknown. We don’t have to worry and stew about uncertainty in this life. God is on the throne. And he’s allowing events to take place that alarm us. But when we know what he has planned for his children in eternity, contentment abides. We don’t have to fear tomorrow. God ordains all our steps.
Sure. It’s easy to say we don’t have to fear tomorrow. We must dig deep into God’s word and hold onto his powerful love and goodness. And we must pray for peace. We must pray for those who are working against God’s design and that they will turn toward God. We must pray that God will lead us not into temptation but will deliver us from evil.
Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.