Some time ago, I was pondering the question of who will have lived the greatest, most wonderful life ever. I reasoned that when all is said and done, there will be a finite quantity of people to have ever lived. In this collection of lives, there will have to be one life that was the best ever experienced. Would it be the life of a famous entertainer? Could it be the life of a captain of industry or a head of state? I wondered.
Then, I realized that every person is born under a unique set of circumstances and that everyone’s life path is unique unto its own. Each individual is born into his or her own special position in history, the unique combination of circumstances of which is virtually endless. For example, a person could have been born a princess in Ethiopia a thousand years ago. Or, he could be the Laotian discoverer of the cure for the common cold three hundred years from now.
Indeed, we can go even further than the specifics of gender, nationality, time frame, and occupation. Each person is also born with a unique set of abilities and handicaps. For example, some people are mathematical geniuses, but they can’t spell for anything. Some may have musical talent, social abilities, or artistic skills, but others may have none of these attributes. Some may have superior physical abilities but ordinary intellect while others may be intellectually gifted but physically limited.
In short, we are all dealt our own specific hand of cards, some truly great, and some truly bad, with most of us falling somewhere in between. With this realization, I mused, how could it be even remotely possible, let alone fair, to compare the greatness of all the lives ever lived? Then, I realized that I was asking the wrong question. The question should not be, “Who will have lived the most wondrous life?” Instead, the question should be, “How can each person live the most wondrous life given the hand that they have been dealt?”
This new question moved me to ponder about the vast numbers of people out there who seem to be living their lives, for lack of a better phrase, blindly, without any insight as to how to do it well. Indeed, it seems that most people go through life without a clue as to what they are doing. They have not given any thought as to why they live, much less how to live. Instead, they are led by the whims of their circumstances. This way of living typically leads to brokenness at worst and the missing of one’s full potential at best.
This unfortunate circumstance is the result of folks being raised without the benefit of proper spiritual training. Without spiritual acumen, the notion of a person functioning within his or her life is something akin to that of the proverbial “bull in a china shop.” There is great potential for tremendous destruction at every whim and turn because the bull, or person as it were, is clueless. They are simply unable to behave appropriately within their surroundings.
If you truly want to excel in life, you have to look beyond it. In other words, you have to school in the spiritual in order to master the material. Indeed, the key to a successful life lies in the spiritual realm.
This explains why a person could have been born with the best of abilities and into the best of circumstances, yet he or she could be living a miserable life. On the other hand, a person could have been born with the least of abilities and into the worst of circumstances, yet he or she could be living a spectacularly wondrous life.
We all know that this is true, but how can this be? The answer is that the quality of a life is not measured by the amount of material wealth or power or fame that a person achieves. The quality of a life is dependent upon the quantity and quality of love that a person has in his or her life.
Are you doubtful? Think about this. Imagine that you could have all the money and power and fame in the world, but you would have to live the rest of your life alone on a deserted island without contact with any other person. I would imagine that you would say that it would not be worth it.
Conversely, imagine if you could have a life full of love, but you would have to live the rest of your life in poverty. I think you would say that this scenario is much more palatable. If you have ever had real, true love in your life, you understand that it does not matter what your life circumstances are. You could be in the most humble of circumstances, but the fact that you have love in your life makes these circumstances fade into the background. I know this to be true because I had grown up in such a situation. In fact, I did not even know I was poor, because I had the love of my family and friends.
So, we have established that you need spiritual maturity in order to know how to live a successful life, and we have established that the measure of a successful life is the quantity and quality of love within it.
This begs the question, how does one achieve spiritual maturity? Also, how does one increase the amount of love in his or her life?
Spiritual maturity and love go hand-in-hand because love is a by-product of spiritual maturity. The quest for spiritual maturity is a life-long journey filled with wonder. Fascinating discoveries and revelations about yourself and the world around you are experienced along the way. It is this endeavor in the human being that separates us from the rest of creation.
Spiritual maturity can only be attained through a relationship with God. The closer you are to God, the more you will grow spiritually. The more you grow spiritually, the more you will understand love. This makes sense because you become like that which you value. When you know and value God, you become more like Him, and did you know that God is love?
So, the real question is, how does one cultivate a relationship with God?
The first step to knowing God is to accept the greatest gift of love ever offered, that of the Son of God giving up His life for yours. Sometimes, the first step is the biggest and most difficult, but to take it will change the trajectory of your life, taking you on a life-long adventure, and making your life truly worth the living. My challenge to you is to consider choosing the gift of God’s Son and to let Him take you forward into the fullest and best life you could ever have.
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