I think at the end of our lives, we would all like it to be said of us that we lived a good life. What does that mean exactly?
You can be considered good if you make a good living, If you have a good marriage, If you have good kids. Some people would consider it important to have a good golf game. A good sex life. When I looked up online what it means to have a good life I found one list that had been copied and pasted over and over again. For the most part I liked it. Here is the article. (Click on the picture if you want to read it. Notice how many of these traits are found part of Gods plan for us from the Bible)
At first glance, what does to be a good person? I think it’s pretty obvious. You have to be a woman. If I’m honest, being a woman does seem to give you an advantage. Just compare me to my wife.
In a recent poll people were asked what it means to be good. This is what they answered.
So as long as you vote and your vaccinated you’re good.
I read a quote this last week that is more in line with what I think it means to be a good person.
“I began to realize that what I really want isn’t any particular outcome on any particular project. Those are all just means to an end. What I really want is to be fully alive inside. What I really want is the inner freedom to live in love and joy.” John Ortberg
Those are good words, but Jesus said it first and said it best.
My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10
That’s what we want isn’t it. We want to be good people who live a rich and satisfying life.
We want to live into our fullest self.
How can we get there? Romans 12 are some of the most famous in all the Bible and they give us insight on how to live a good life.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2 NIV
There are three words that describe the kind of life God wants for us. They are right at the end.
Good. Pleasing. Perfect.
When we are aligned with the will of God this is where we land. In a place that is good, pleasing and perfect.
Let’s look at what those words mean.
Good= pleasant, agreeable, joyful, happy.
Who wouldn’t want those words to define their life?
Perfect=brought to its end, finished, complete.
This is what God wants for you. He wants you to be joyful and happy, satisfied and gratified. God wants to take who you are and bring it to completion.
He also throws a warning to you in there that we can’t overlook.
‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Our world makes a similar promise to us. It offers us it’s version of a good life.
The good life our culture promises sounds more like good if.
You’ll have a good life if…
You get into a nice home.
If you drive a better car.
Good if you keep up with fashion.
If you are noticed by other people
Good if I smell good, look good, eat good
The Harvard Business Review ran an article in 2020 called Advertising makes us unhappy The University of Warwick’s Andrew Oswald and his team study life satisfaction. They surveyed more than 900,000 citizens of 27 European countries with data on annual advertising spending in those nations over the same period. Here’s what they found. The higher a country’s ad spend was in one year, the less satisfied its citizens were a year or two later. Their conclusion: Advertising makes us unhappy.
How is your happiness and mine shaped by what we see, hear, and read? I think it’s rather intuitive that lots of ads would make us less happy. In a sense they’re trying to generate dissatisfaction—stirring up your desires so that you spend more on goods and services to ease that feeling. Andrew Oswald
Here’s another idea.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
When our world promises us a good life, it is always good in comparison to what other people have or how other people dress. Good when compared to what someone else’s salary is or how fit they are.
We suffer from slight upward comparison.
We don’t compare ourselves to LeBron James or Tom Cruise or Oprah. Most people compare themselves to their neighbors who are slightly better off. We compare ourselves to the person in the gym who has a slightly better body or the woman at the office who has a more important role.
When God challenges us to be good, he doesn’t want us to be good in comparison to everyone else, or good in comparison, to what other people have or how much money they make or what they drive. When he says he wants us to be good what he intends for us is that we live into our fullest self. He wants us to flourish.
“Here is the good news: When you flourish, you become more you. You become more that person God had in mind when he thought you up. You don’t just become holier. You become you-ier. You will change; God wants you to become a “new creation.” But “new” doesn’t mean completely different; instead, it’s like an old piece of furniture that gets restored to its intended beauty.” The Me I Want to Be, John Ortberg
God wants you to be joyful and happy. He wants you satisfied and gratified. God wants to take who you are and bring it to completion. He wants you to stop comparing yourself to every commercial and people in your neighborhood and other bodies at the gym.
The final result? A good person who lives a good life. Who doesn’t want that?