The good life
By Jonathan Howes
I believe that everyone wants to live “The Good Life”. We want to make the most of our time here on earth. We want to enjoy our lives and have fun.
And we also want our lives to count. We want our lives to have meaning and purpose. No one wants to get to the end of his or her life and say, “Dang, I wasted my life.”
In John 10:10b Jesus says, “I have come that you may have life and have it to the full.” The reason Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth was for us to live a full life, an abundant life. The abundant life is not only living for all eternity, but it’s living the highest quality of life here on earth, the good life.
But what does it mean to live a full, abundant life? I believe this is where many Christians and churches get confused. Living the abundant life does not mean that we will have a life of wealth and prosperity. It doesn’t mean that we will be filthy rich, and MTV Cribs will want to do a TV show featuring our big house and expensive cars.
The abundant life has very little to do with having a house full of material possessions. It has everything to do will having a life full of Christ. What does it mean to have a life full of Christ? It means that we will have a life full of the characteristics of Christ which are describes in Galatians 5:22-23 as the fruits of the Spirit. The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. When we are living a full life in Christ, the fruits of the Spirit are evident in our lives.
Now the problem or challenge for Christians in living the abundant life is our enemy, Satan. It says in John 10:10a, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” The thief, Satan or our enemy, comes only to steal and kill and destroy our lives. This is the epic battle of good verses evil. And this battle is not only going on in the world around us but in our lives as well. Jesus came so that we would have life, and Satan came to destroy our lives. And he tries to destroy our lives, marriages and families by stealing from us.
So, here’s the big question, “What is Satan trying to steal from us?” Is he trying to steal our car? Is he trying to steal our money? Is he looking to break into our houses and steal our flat screen TV? No. Then, what is he trying to steal?
He’s trying to steal the fruits of the Spirit from our lives. He is trying to steal the characteristics of God from us. He is trying to steal our love. He is trying to steal our joy. He is trying to steal our peace. And if he can steal the fruits of the Spirit from us, he can destroy our lives.
If Satan steals one of the fruits of the Spirit from our lives, the opposite characteristic comes in. The opposite of love is selfishness. The opposite of joy is bitterness. The opposite of peace is fear. And the opposite of patience is anger.
If these negative characteristics take over in our lives, you can see how Satan can use them to destroy our lives, our marriages and our families. If our lives are full of bitterness and not joy, it can make us miserable and destroy our lives. If we are selfish and not loving toward our spouse, it can destroy our marriage. If we are always angry with our kids and do not have a peaceful home, it can destroy our families.
Let’s not let Satan steal the fruits of the Spirit from our lives. Let’s live a life full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. Let’s live the good life.
Jonathan Howes has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance from Jacksonville State University and a Master in Divinity Degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the lead pastor for Graystone Church. Locations include the Ozora Campus: 1551 Ozora Road | Loganville, GA 30052 and the Walton Campus: 723 N Broad St Monroe, GA 30655.