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What is the Ideal Life?

What is the “ideal life”?

     As we sojourn here on this sphere God created for our existence, we no doubt have determined, or at least imagined, what would be the “ideal life”.

   Perhaps a long life is what we would consider an ideal life. The Spirit had James write in James 4:14 that the span of time given is uncertain. Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.  Therefore, what matters in making an ideal life is not how long we have, but what we do with the time we are granted.

   For those who think that material wealth makes an “ideal life”, Jesus responded to a question of one’s physical inheritance in Luke 12:15. This has to mean that an ideal life is not dependent on one’s physical attainments. And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.  This also does not mean that we are to shun the physical things God has provided for all earth’s inhabitants.

   To those affected with the abject poverty that many face in this world today, an “ideal life” would probably consist of the basic needs of life like food to eat and proper clothing to wear. But even this fails to fit the bill according to Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.   In Matthew 6:25 we find Jesus saying: Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?    Again, this does not mean that we are to ignore these basic needs and not seek to provide for ourselves or our own, but it does mean that there is something that is of more importance as we spend our time on this planet.

   We have some insight to this question of an “ideal life” in the Luke account of the temptations placed before Jesus when He was led to the wilderness by the Spirit.   In Luke 4:3 we are told of the first temptation.   And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.  Jesus’ response in the next verse shows clearly that the “ideal life” results from abiding in the Word of His Father.   And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.  All the other temptations presented to our Lord are met in a very similar manner and in every case God’s Word provides the formula for overcoming the tempter.  

   Upon reading about the life of Christ, His suffering, His pain, and His death, hardly anyone would call His life ideal.   But, this is perhaps because we often focus on the physical aspects of His life and fail to pay proper attention to the spiritual purpose for which He came.   Even though His life was filled with pain, physical suffering and all sorts of indignities by His fellowmen, Jesus stated in John 6:38 His reason for being here. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.  Because Jesus did His Father’s Will He lived an ideal life and also provided the means for us to do the same.

   God’s Will is clearly stated for us in 2Peter 3:9 and Jesus died so we could be recipients of the ideal life God provides in Christ. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  In the latter part of John 10:10 Jesus explained the benefit we may have because He did His Father’s Will. I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 

   But for us to have the possibility of an ideal life Christ had to die and offer His blood as a sacrifice for sin, then was raised from the dead as the scriptures had foretold.   We are reminded of this in 1Corinthians 15:3-4.   For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:    But the fact that Christ died and was raised from the dead saved no one.  In giving Himself in death, He fulfilled the Will of His Father and made it possible for us to lay hold on the promise of eternal life.  

   For us to have the “ideal life” we not only have to be obedient to the gospel, but we must also do our part in maintaining that commitment we made to God.     The Spirit had Paul to write of this in 2Corinthians 5:15. And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 

   Let’s all strive to live the “ideal life” by obeying the gospel and then remaining faithful by reading and studying God’s Word and always following it. John 6:68 shows that Simon Peter had the right idea when Jesus asked if the disciples would also go away.   Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.   

                                                                                Dennis S – Mooresville



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