Lesson 3: Jesus, The Way To A Better Life

By Sewell Hall

The popular goal of our generation is "the good life." This dream is not new. It has been the desire of every age - of teachers and philosophers, of kings and common men. However, to the truly good life, as to every other good thing, JESUS IS THE WAY.

Jesus Corrects Misconceptions

The good life is probably summed up best in the word HAPPINESS. Yet, when we think of the good life, we usually think of material prosperity, of pleasure and popularity. This is because we suppose that these are the things which bring happiness. Jesus rejects this supposition. Hear Him: "Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth" (Luke 12:15). "Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets" (Luke 6:25-26).

Our own personal observations agree that most wealthy, high-living and famous people are not happy. Yet we continue to seek these things and often are disappointed when Jesus does not provide them. If Jesus offered these as the way to a better life, He would be a failure.

Jesus Roots Out the Problem

God endowed man with the good life in the very beginning of time. But man lost it when he sinned. With sin came guilt, fear, pain and death. Sin is still the spoiler. Jesus said: "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man (Mark 7:21-23)

Is it not true that most of the unhappiness you have known is traceable to just such sins as these? It is only in turning from sin that we can hope to find happiness. For "He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it.” (1 Peter 3:10-11).

Only by studying the law of Christ can we recognize sin. "...Sin is lawlessness." (1 John 3:4) Only by following the perfect example of Jesus can we avoid sin. "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth" (1 Peter 2:21-22). Imagine a life without guilt, without fear, without the anxiety that always attends a life of sin! Here, indeed, is peace that passes understanding.

Jesus Teaches Us To Seek New Goal

The goal of an unhappy world is earthly treasure. Jesus says: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven" (Matthew 6:19-20). Men are eager to receive, but reluctant to give. Jesus says: "It is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35) Men consider it a symbol of the good life to be served. Jesus says: "Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant...just as the son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve." (Matthew 20:26-28)

The goals the world sets are goals which many can never achieve. Achievement does not insure happiness and those who fail to achieve them are made even more miserable by their failures. When our goals are changed, we can be content without those things the world considers essential; they are no longer the things we are seeking. Our contentment and happiness come with attaining our new goals, and success in these is within the reach of all. All can store up treasure in heaven, all can give, and all can be servants. If there is any doubt that these do bring happiness, just look at any individual you may know who is actually practicing them.

Jesus Gives Us What We Do Not Expect!

Once we learn not to make material things, pleasure and fame our goals, Jesus provides us an unexpected portion of these very things! Hear Him: "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

How Does Jesus Do It?

We may never know all the ways by which the Lord fulfills His promises. But one way is through the sheer wisdom of His instructions. Knowing man as He does and loving man as He does, He asks of us only those things that are good for us; and He forbids only those things that are harmful.

Our health is better when we live the pure life that Jesus teaches. We are better off financially, for we are better workers and we no longer have to pay the expensive cost of sin. Family life is better as we learn to think first of others. And regardless of the problems and troubles we still must face, we face them with Jesus and with the hope of heaven.


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