A year ago, I wrote this blog post about why I believe life is beautiful. I don't necessarily disagree with that post, but I've learned a lot more since then, and I wanted to update it. Plus when I was younger, all I did was rant about things, and I never used any Scripture to back up my thoughts because it does not matter what I'M saying, it matters what God is saying.
I think I've talked about my growth from 2015 to 2016 before; I know I did here. In 2015, I think I was more on the lines of being that Christian that looks at whatever makes me feel good. I know I did that because I underestimated the importance of church all the time, and I did that as a way to ease my guilt about not going to church. I know I've still got a lot to learn, but thankfully times have changed since then. So now I wanted to tackle a certain question: is life beautiful? This is actually a question I'm writing about in my next book.
This could vary from person to person as well. To somebody who just lost a loved one and is still grieving, I'm sure their first thoughts probably aren't going to be about how wonderful life is. And to somebody who's just got everything going great, pretty kids, a charming spouse, money in the bank, well, yeah, I'm sure they won't be complaining too much.
Except all of that varies because it's all circumstantial, and all of us have a need for God. So I also think it's possible for that to totally be in reverse, and someone who just lost a loved one but knows God may actually have a joy and peace from Him despite the fact that they're grieving. And the person who appears to have it all, if they don't have God, they could be unhappy, miserable, and searching.
Circumstances don't define how joyful you are. There are two types of people in this world, and the other titles you can claim don't mean nothing except for which of these you fall into: lost or saved. A saved person may not always feel joyful every second of the day, and a lost person may experience some happiness, but for both, those emotions should be fleeting. The saved person will find their joy in God; the lost person's happiness is fleeting. We'll look at that in a little bit, but first, addressing the question: is life beautiful? That depends how you define beautiful.
The word "beautiful" is an adjective and means "of a very high standard" or simply put: excellent. I think what most people are asking when they ask this is not so much if life is beautiful but if life is happy, if life is worth it, if it is excellent. Again, this differs drastically depending on whether you're saved or lost, so let's look at it both ways and see ultimately, as Christians, is life beautiful, or is this a horrible world that needs revival? Here is my conclusion which I will elaborate on: I do think life can be beautiful, excellent, and joyful, right now. I also think we live in a world of sin, a cruel, depressing world, that desperately needs revival.
HOW can I think life is beautiful while living on this earth full of sin? Again, joy is not circumstantial. HAPPINESS is circumstantial. I have plenty days I don't feel happy, but there is always a certain peace. Sometimes I can't seem to think of one positive thing on this earth, but I think of Jesus. So long story short, life can be excellent on this planet crying out for revival but only with Jesus. Let's look at this.
Not dependent on circumstances
There are a frightening number of "Christian" preachers that are preaching this prosperity Gospel which is all about how Jesus will make you rich, successful, etc. It's all about your faith and how your faith will reward you on this earth, and it's truly not about Jesus at all but all about us, and true Christians know it's the complete opposite way around. Christianity is about dying to ourselves (Galatians 2:20) and taking up our cross (Matthew 16:24). That's a topic for a whole other blog post, but despite what these preachers will tell you, our happiness does not come from prosperity.
How often are we told to rejoice? ALWAYS. Here are some verses:
We are even told to rejoice in our sufferings . . .
I think you get the idea. We may not always be happy in life, and until our planet is completely revived, there will always be things and circumstances that don't make us feel very happy, but we can have joy, which means "rejoice", because we have Jesus, and the pleasures and happiness he gives us far surpasses our present circumstances (Psalm 16:11).
The Lord has done a wonderful thing
So, why? Why can we be joyful? Especially NOW in a world full of sin? I believe we can still be joyful now, and I believe that as Christians, our lives can be beautiful and excellent when we're putting Jesus first. We still deal with sin and, in Paul's words, are living on a groaning planet (Romans 8:22), and we know that right now, Satan is the prince of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). So why do I think Christians can still have joyful, beautiful lives here? I'll give you three reasons besides it being a command, and the first is that Satan has been defeated. The Lord has done a wonderful thing!
At Jesus's birth, this is what the angel said:
We can be joyful because of what the Lord has done and because of who He is!
God is still with us
Satan has no power over us. God is with us every moment. He will only be able to do what God allows him to do (Job 1:12), and we know that everything God allows, He will work to the good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Even in this world full of sin, our lives as Christians can still be excellent with God at the center; there is so much joy found in Him (Psalm 16:11), and why can't we enjoy that now? We CAN! The day is not yet here where evil is defeated, but it will be. And in the meantime, God has promised to never leave us (Deuteronomy 31:6; Matthew 28:20).
That's something to be joyful about right now. We shouldn't let the evil in today's world steal our joy because we know that it will be defeated; it has already been overcome by the power of Jesus.
There is immense joy to come
Satan will eventually be destroyed (Romans 16:20; Hebrews 2:14). The joy we feel now, the excellent lives we can have now with Jesus at the center, is just a slice of what's to come, when we will always have Jesus present with us (John 16:22). He is the life (John 14:6). He is our hope and what makes the next life amazing and perfect. And we can rejoice now knowing we have that to look forward to, and our joy will never again be taken from us (John 16:22).
So, if you have Jesus, you can have an excellent life now regardless of your circumstances because Jesus is what makes life excellent. He's the life (John 14:6).
What do the lost have to be joyful for? This world? Don't they know it's all going to end? Even secularists believe that, so what? Find joy in your family, that will eventually all die and "become nothing"? Find joy in money and riches that will eventually be destroyed right along with this world? Find joy in popularity when there will be nothing for anyone to remember about you in the future? Find joy in success that will, seriously, come to nothing when the world ends? And what if you don't even get to experience those things in your life because not everyone does. Without God, life is meaningless, hopeless, and there's no point to doing anything. Here's why. . .
Your happiness would be circumstantial
Your happiness would only be found in things of this world, but once you die, and once this world ends, it will not matter.
There is no joy or purpose ahead for them
The lost would love to believe they can live it up here, and that's, in fact, what they do, and they would love to think their choices will not have consequences, but they will. Every choice has consequences. Not only will their glory and riches not matter when they're dead, but hell is a real place. God will not force you to choose Him, but the fact of the matter is that we've all sinned (Romans 3:23) against a holy, perfect God (Psalm 92:15; Matthew 5:48; 1 Peter 1:16), and so someone has to pay for that sin. You can either accept the amazing gift of forgiveness Jesus offers to you, or you can pay for your sin.
There's nothing good about that at all. Because everything will perish then. There's nothing excellent, beautiful, etc. about that. King Solomon, the richest and wisest king ever (1 Kings 10:23), came to these conclusions:
So, to conclude, I do think life, when you are following Jesus, is joyful, even amidst the worst circumstances. He is what brings meaning to life.
With Jesus, life is excellent because we have the knowledge of the excellence to come. We rejoice in the good news of what Jesus has done now. Without Jesus, life is meaningless.
And this is what I want to end with: quit looking for anything but Jesus to satisfy your heart because it will never happen. No amount of money, fame, success, or even love from a person will satisfy you and bring meaning to your life like Jesus can.
If you have everything but are lacking Jesus . . . I'm praying he will open up your eyes to see your desperate need for him and him only. If Jesus has to take EVERYTHING away from you to have you see that, then I pray he does.
And if you have nothing and are desperate for hope, for meaning and purpose . . . I'm praying you will recognize that only Jesus can save you and cling to him and never let go.
This world is dark, sinful, and in need of revival. But that is what Jesus came to do, that is what he did do-defeat evil-and what he will do, and to all who believe in him, this joy we find in him alone is truly only the beginning.
He is amazing. All glory to God.