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Living Better

Living Better

       The goal of many a human is to live better.  Sadly, to many this means the procurement of “things” or reaching certain achievements in this life.   In one sense this is a fair measure, in that we live life (physical) while we are in these earthly bodies.   Much time, effort, and monies are often spent to accomplish this.   Parents work hard to provide so their children “can have better” than the parents had when growing up.  The emphasis is often on the offspring becoming “better educated” so as to have a better life.   All of this does not guarantee that the child, when grown, will have a better life than their parents, but that they might have greater opportunities.  

      Some, because of various health concerns, (perceived or real) seek to “live better” through medicines, procedures, vaccinations, or just about anything that promises to reduce pain, increase mobility, improve mood, or promote the well-being of the recipient or participant.   All of these things have purpose, but can only improve one in the “here and now”.  

       Many fail to realize, that striving to “live better” while in this life for the sole purpose of our time on the earth is an eternal mistake.  Jesus addressed this in Matthew 16:26 while speaking to His disciples.  For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?   What we read in the next two verses shows that Christ came to earth so that man could “live better” even beyond this life.  For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.This last verse shows that this opportunity to live better came to be after the death of Christ, but in the lifetimes of His disciples of that day. This is still available today, but only “in Christ”. 

       This ties in completely with the latter part of the statement of Jesus in John 10:10 where  He said: “. . . I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”  Even the Pharisees to whom Jesus was speaking were “alive” when He said this.  This must mean the life of which the Lord speaks, and for which He died on the cross, is beyond that which takes place on this mundane sphere.    Galatians 2:20 attests to this, as well as the fact the individual bears responsibility for “their part” of laying hold of eternal life.  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

        The Spirit had Paul write to Timothy in 1Timothy 6:11-12, to remind him (and by extension, remind us) of our responsibility to do our part to strive for eternal life.  But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. 

      Below is a poem written about thirty years ago by my wife’s father which shows that the only achievement that matters in this life is that which helps one to “live better” now so they can live forever.   



To hitch you wagon to a star, move in the right direction,

Improve your “natural” talent to withstand a close “inspection”,

And see yourself as others do, without imagination,

Press forward, striving hard to win, must be aspiration.

To maintain hope when others doubt, may be intuition,

Or faith that will not change its “course” whatever the conditions,

To “fight on where you are alone”, must be dedication,

To “join the crowd” may make you proud, but cost you your salvation.

To take a “back seat” on your own, sometimes is called submission,

To serve, is better than be served, by certain recognition,

To sacrifice the things we need, is when we’re really giving, +

It’s when one walks that “extra mile”, that he knows he’s living.

Forgive, and then forget, is often recommended,

But, true forgiveness, in remembrance, is then and there ended,

The practice of the “golden rule”, with every fault confessing,

Will help you be a friend in need, and get the greatest blessing. 

                                                       O. D. Wilson – deceased


        What kind of achievement is important to you?  Is it the one that allows you to “live well” only in this life, or that which is beyond?   Philippians 3:12 tells us we haven’t “made it” yet.   Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.    Obey the gospel. Then live better here so you can live with God for eternity.  This is the only way! 

                            Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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