Jesus, The Way To A Better Life

Introduction

In the preceding lesson, we introduced the theme of this study as being "Jesus, The Way". In this lesson, we shall concentrate our attention on the subject "Jesus, The Way To A Better Life".

The popular goal of our generation is "the good life". This dream is not new. It has been the desire of every age and every walk of life--of teachers and philosophers, of kings and common men.

But to the truly good life, as to every good thing, Jesus Is The Way! To see how this is true, consider first of all that...

JESUS CORRECTS OUR MISCONCEPTIONS

Most people think of the "good life" in terms of material prosperity, pleasure, and popularity. Why do people think this? Nearly everyone would agree that two words sum up what the "good life" is all about: Happiness and Peace. Many suppose that material prosperity, pleasure and popularity will bring us these two things. But even a cursory observation reveals that most wealthy, high-living, famous people are extremely unhappy and lacking inner peace.

Jesus, the way to true happiness and peace, corrects the misconception that such things as those mentioned above bring us happiness. He teaches that there is more to life than material possessions:

And He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses." (Luke 12:15)

In addition, He offers a peace which things of the world cannot give, and a joy which is complete and full:

"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27)

"These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full." (John 15:11)

What the world cannot give, Jesus can. How does He do it?

JESUS LEADS THE WAY TO A BETTER LIFE

First, by identifying and rooting out the real problem. What is the cause of so much unhappiness in this world? What deprives so many of inner peace? Is it not things like immorality, thefts, murder? Is it not things like coveting, deceit, envy and pride? Such things destroy families, friendships, and property. What then is the cause of these things?

Jesus declared that the source of all these things to be the sinful hearts of men:

"For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man." (Mark 7:21-23)

James, the Lord's half-brother in the flesh, concurred with this diagnosis:

Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. (James 4:1-2)

It is one to thing to identify the problem; what has Jesus done to provide a solution? The apostle Paul explains in his letter to Titus:

For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:3-7)

Out of kindness, love, mercy and grace, God through Jesus Christ has saved us and made us righteous in His sight! This took place when we experienced the "washing of regeneration" and "renewing of the Holy Spirit" (a reference to the act of baptism, in which one who believes in Jesus is truly born again of water AND Spirit! - Jn 3:5).

In other words, Jesus removes the problem of unhappiness and lack of inner peace by first removing the cause: Sin! But there is more...

Secondly, Jesus leads the way to true happiness and peace by teaching us to seek new goals in life. He warns us of the folly of seeking after riches:

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;" (Matthew 6:19)

Riches are perishable, and open to theft; therefore, He teaches us to put our treasure in heaven:

"but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal."(Matthew 6:20)

But how does one go about laying up treasure in heaven? It involves living for Jesus, even under the most adverse conditions:

"Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man's sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets." (Luke 6:22-23)

Of course, living for Jesus means to follow His teachings; for example:

"But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil." (Luke 6:35)

Yes, our reward will be great, and even now we can have great happiness knowing that it can never be stolen, nor will it perish, for it is reserved for us in heaven!

Finally, Jesus leads the way to true happiness by giving us what we do not expect! Once we learn not to make material things, pleasure, and fame our goals in life, but to instead make following Jesus and His teachings our goal, He then provides us an unexpected portion of these very things!

For example, He promises the provision of those material things we need, if we will but put God first...

"Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." (Matthew 6:31-33)

Then Peter began to say to Him, "See, we have left all and followed You." So Jesus answered and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel's, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time; houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life."(Mark 10:28-30)

In addition to material things, Jesus provides a form of pure pleasure or happiness:

"These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full." (John 15:11)

What kind of "joy" is Jesus talking about? A joy that is "unspeakable", unable to describe adequately with words, as Peter tells those Christians who were experiencing terrible persecution:

"whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory," (1 Peter 1:8)

And what about fame? Yes, if we will but follow Jesus and seek to lay up our treasure in heaven by following Him and His words, we will one day experience "fame" that is "out of this world"! Consider these passages which describes what lies ahead for the true disciples of Jesus Christ:

When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)

When He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed. Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:10-12)

To which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 2:14)

We can look forward to sharing in the wonderful glory (fame) that Jesus Himself will have when He comes again! How much "better" could life get?

Conclusion

The world sets before us goals which many people cannot achieve, and even if achieved, often do not satisfy. As one of the richest men who ever lived once wrote:

He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; Nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 5:10)

But Jesus places before us goals which can be achieved, and that do satisfy:

  • All can store up treasure in heaven

  • All can live for Jesus

And if there is any doubt that doing this brings lasting happiness and a much better life even now, just look any individual you may know who is truly following Jesus. Outwardly they may be suffering persecution, social ostracism, or physical illnesses; but even then they still have that joy that is full, that peace which is unspeakable.

If you are not happy, if you are not at peace in your heart, if you are looking for a better life, why not let Jesus be "The Way" for you?

Let Him take care of your problem of sin, which is the true cause of unhappiness in life! Let Him be your guide in giving you new direction in this life! Let Him be your key to the "good life"! As Jesus Himself said:

"I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)

The following lessons will explain how...

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