Friday, 12 August 2016

Life Or Lifestyle?

Proverbs 14:22 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

      Living or existing? This is a good question. Modern medicine has allowed many people to live longer but not necessarily giving the person quality of life. Sometimes these individuals end up simply existing and becoming discouraged because they thought the treatment would bring them life. Like any pill or prescription, it does have limitations and people who are looking for the one-hit wonder can become disheartened. 

      Living is a choice and not just a thing absorbed through osmosis because it is around us. Living must be acted upon and lived out of one's soul and being. Deut. 30:19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.
      Another good question is are you just looking for lifestyle or life? We are bombarded with lifestyle ads and television channels pushing lifestyle to the point of excess. Every home and garden show has people looking for lifestyle to the point of neurotic breakdowns if granite countertops are not in the deal. There is nothing wrong with a good, nice, and even extravagant lifestyle but it should not come at the cost of actually living in the presence of God. 
      Jesus said that He was the life. He did not say He was a lifestyle to build one's personal agenda or belief system around. John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. The same thing goes for choosing life rather than just existing. The Lord said that He had come to give us life and abundant life at that. John 10:10b I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
      The Scribes and Pharisees had turned the laws and oracles of God into a lifestyle rather than an opportunity for a relational life with God. As God said on different occasions, the people were not for Him in their hearts but only in what they could get out of Him. Isa. 29:13 The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught." Existing in a religious lifestyle had become more important than a life in God. 
      Jesus was encountering the same thing with the Scribes and Pharisees. They were choosing a religious lifestyle of many man-made ordinances in order to earn the love and affirmation of God in their lives. At the same time, they questioned any other lifestyle outside of their own, even if God was making the argument for life. Matt. 15:2 Why do your disciples disobey our age-old tradition? For they ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat. 
      Jesus had a way of disrupting the traditional lifestyle the Pharisees and Scribes had invented through the arduous implementation of the laws. Jesus, with righteousness and the life of God, changed the way things were seen by properly interpreting the same laws. Matt. 15:3 Jesus replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? In this same bible chapter, Jesus goes on to point out the laws of God are corrupted for the sake of their own lifestyle.
      Have you found yourself in the position of an argument with God over lifestyle rather than life He has declared? If you are insisting on a particular lifestyle and it is causing a corrosiveness in the relationship between you and God, then it might be time to give it up. What on earth is worth the damage of your soul? 
      In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon spends a monetary fortune looking through every type of lifestyle imaginable for the answers of eternal life. He knows there is a need for a rebirth, so to speak, but cannot find it in anything under the sun. He comes to the conclusion that under the sun all is vanity, but the answer is in what God says. Eccl. 12:13 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. 
      What does Solomon conclude? Chose a life with and in the Lord rather than the lifestyles offered by the world system with no real answers. Chose life, because Jesus is the life. Amen!

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