At Heritage we’ve just begun a new worship series called The Good Life. We’re spending five weeks talking about scriptural keys to Christian living, characteristics that define what it means to honor God with our lives, to demonstrate the presence of Christ in how we live to a world that is watching us. You can’t boil down the characteristics of Christian living into five words or five ideas, but I hope we’ve come up with five character traits that begin to get at the heart of what it means to latch onto the goodness of a life lived in relationship with Jesus Christ. During our worship series we’ll talk about energy, excellence, expectation, authenticity and balance.
The Good Life, of course, is not necessarily, or even usually, an easy life. Life is full of challenges, disappointments, setbacks, mistakes, and false starts. This week at Heritage we’ve had ailing newborns, chemotherapy treatments, losses of loved ones, family challenges, and bad days at work.
But life is also full of rewarding opportunities to apply our talents, to participate in life-affirming relationships, and to celebrate unmistakable glimpses of God’s providence in our lives. This week at Heritage we've started new jobs. Our relatives have heard that there is no longer any sign of cancer in their bodies. We've gotten good reports from doctor’s visits. We've witnessed and participated in overwhelming generosity in our student ministry (more than $1300 raised so far). We've even found opportunities to laugh in Bible study!
Scripture is not studied, God is not experienced, good lives are not lived, in a vacuum. The Good Life is meant to be applied to the messiness of our everyday lives. It’s meant to be a framework that defines who we are as we live between struggle and celebration, loss and success. So we don’t ask for easy lives. But we do ask for lives marked by the goodness that is an active and vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ.
As we work our way through The Good Life on Sundays, I hope you’ll remember the five markers of The Good Life that God intends for each of us. Remember them when you’re stuck in traffic on Tuesday. Remember them when you’re struggling with a family relationship on Wednesday. Remember them in the doctor’s waiting room on Thursday. Remember them, too, on Friday when you’re celebrating with grandchildren and on Monday when the week is still full of possibility and hope. Remember them.
The Good Life is characterized by energy. Live your lives with energy confident that God will renew your strength. God is faithful and can give you energy to soar with eagles (Isaiah 40:31).
The Good Life is characterized by excellence. Do everything as if you are doing it for God, because you are. God deserves your best in everything you do. When you give your best to God, God will bless your efforts (Colossians 3:23).
The Good Life is characterized by expectation. Expect that God will meet you in your work. You are not left to fend for yourselves in this world alone. Through the power of scripture and the presence of the Holy Spirit and Christian community, you can expect that God will be with you every moment of every day. You can also expect that God’s presence with you now is just a glimpse of God’s power and presence, something that you experience now only in part but that one day you will experience in all its glory (1 Corinthians 13:12).
The Good Life is characterized by authenticity. You are called to be true and honest representations of the God who lives in you. Your lives are most authentic—you become most human—when you embrace the presence of the divine in your life. The divine presence in your life helps you find authenticity in love, forgiveness, hope, and redemption (Galatians 2:20).
The Good Life is characterized by balance. To everything there is a season. God can help you balance seasons of work and rest, periods of doubt and great faithfulness, intervals of joy and sorrow, and days of great success and great failure (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
Most importantly, remember that The Good Life is not a promise for some distant future, but a scriptural truth you can choose to claim each day that you decide to live in fellowship with God and each other.
See you Sunday.
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. James 3:13