“I’m livin’ my best life!”
When you hear this statement, what comes to mind? During a recent conversation with a dear friend, she shared that her son was visiting California. When asked how he was enjoying his trip, he replied, “I’m livin’ my best life!”
Therein marks the genesis for this new series. As I listen to radio talk podcasts and television talk shows, this statement is frequently given as a response to current living. But what does it mean? It is my intent to explore with you what “best life” looks like. Viewed through both contemporary and biblical lenses, we hope that we as believers will walk away with a better understanding of the “best definition”.
The worldview of best life
In the 21st century we live in, we are continually bombarded with information. This includes what “best life” looks like.
Reality television has given us an “upfront” yet distorted seat of what the best life looks like. We can quickly access via our devices how celebrities and luminaries live their lives. Unfortunately, these personalities have a great influence on how we think life is to be lived. Right or wrong.
In the 20th century, we were busy trying to “keep up with the Joneses.” This is the 21st century! Forget about the Joneses! Let’s keep up with the Kardashians, Housewives of whatever city, or the young people Growing up Hip Hop. If I did not list your favorite “go to show” for seeing how the other half lives, I’ll let you fill in the blank.
Of course, these “made-for-tv” realities don’t show the other side of that golden coin. We later see the impact of the “best life” played out in the media as we see broken relationships and the emotional carnage left behind.
Why is this important?
Our view of “best life” can impact every area of our life. Pursuit of the best life (ill-defined) can lead us down paths that will result in bad decisions, unrealistic expectations, and wasted energy. Even more risky is when the quest is for something that can never satisfy (Is. 55:2).
This best life journey usually begins with misleading us into believing how quickly we can have it. Credit cards, payday loans, and quick financing make our best life just a click or signature away. “Why wait when you can have it now?”
When taking a look at how specific types of debt have shifted since 2019, mortgage loans, auto loans, student loans and personal loans all reached new record highs. Student loan debt saw the largest growth (12%), followed by mortgage debt (7%) and personal loan debt (6%), according to Experian data from Q3 2020.
From a faith perspective, the pursuit of best life, creates spiritual tension for the believer. We are told to seek first the kingdom of God first (Matt. 6:33) and to set our mind on things above (Col. 3:2). Does that mean we cannot pursue our “best life”? No. Remember Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). That sounds like best life to me!
Best life guidelines
First, we as believers, operate from a different reality than the world. Our reality is based on God’s goodness and God’s greatness. We do not depend nor trust on material gain to experience our best life. God is our exceeding, great reward (Gen. 15:1). To focus on the “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:15-17) can potentially lead us to sin and other moral failures.
Secondly, we remember our identity and who we are in Christ. When we became believers, we were adopted into the kingdom of God (Eph. 1:5). That new relationship came with many blessings and promises that provide for our livelihood (2 Pet. 1:3-4). Best life is defined by what God has outlined in His Word. The Holy Spirit uses that Word to reform (renew) our hearts and minds so that we look and act like Jesus. When people look at us, they should see Jesus (not what we have or who we are).
Finally, we strive to achieve the purpose which God designed specifically for our lives. Before the foundations of the world, God identified the purpose for our lives (Ep. 2:10). The Holy Spirit empowers us to accomplish that purpose (Act 1:8). It is our privilege to walk in God’s purpose.
More to come
Livin’ our best life is more than a catchy phrase or personal mantra. When we speak of our best life, we are revealing what is most important to us. It is also an indicator of who is in charge of our life.
In Colossians 3:1-4 (NLT), the Apostle Paul gives good advice on discovering our “real best life”:
Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God’s right hand in the place of honor and power. Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth. For you died when Christ died, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your real life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.