What’s Life All About Lord?

He actually tells us, through the man that He made the wisest that ever lived – King Solomon.

After God gave him all that wisdom, He left him with an important piece of information regarding what to do with it:

“And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.” 1 Kin. 3:14 ESV

So, regardless of all King Solomon’s wisdom, it was the godly application of it that brought the blessings. Indeed, as long as Solomon followed that advice, he and his kingdom remained blessed:

And Judah and Israel lived in safety…every man under his vine and under his fig tree, all the days of Solomon. 1 Kin. 4:25 ESV

You have to understand however, that there are no shades of gray with God. You are either doing what He says to do, or you are not. There are no half measures. And unfortunately, regardless of all his wisdom, Solomon veered off his Creator’s path:

Now King Solomon loved many foreign women…from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the people of Israel, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.” 1 Kin. 11:1, 2. ESV

Just as God said, it came to pass:

For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods… 1 Kin. 11:4 ESV

And when you violate His commands, there are always consequences:

So the LORD said to Solomon, “ Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant. Nevertheless I will not do it in your days for the sake of your father David, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.” 1 Kin. 11:11 – 13. NASB

God must mete out His punishment or His word would not stand in truth. But because of his father’s (King David) obedience, God showed mercy to Solomon by delaying His retribution until the time of Solomon’s son’s reign. Moreover, you can see that out of His mercy, God would also leave Solomon’s son one tribe (Judah) to perpetuate the throne in Jerusalem.

Solomon knew that he messed up in a big way and fell into a deep depressive funk, for which he tried to find solace by immersing himself in the ways of the world. Thankfully for all of us, Solomon eventually repented, turned his life around and made himself right with God. At that point, God’s wisdom returned to him in his old age and Solomon left us the wisdom gleaned from his wayward journey:

“Behold, I have acquired great [human] wisdom and experience, more than all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has observed a wealth of [moral] wisdom and [scientific] knowledge. And I set my mind to know [practical] wisdom and to discern [the character of] madness and folly [in which men seem to find satisfaction]; I realized that this too is a futile grasping and chasing after the wind. For in much [human] wisdom there is much displeasure and exasperation; increasing knowledge increases sorrow.” Eccl. 1:16 – 18. AMP

Solomon is saying that the pursuit of the world’s wisdom is laden with errors and dissatisfactions and the only fruit that it bears is misery – a lesson he learned from direct experience:

I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.’ But behold, this also was vanity. I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure; “What use is it?” I searched with all my heart how to cheer my body with wine…I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. I made myself gardens and parks…I made myself pools…I bought male and female slaves…I also had great possessions…I also gathered for myself silver and gold…I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines… Eccl. 2:1 – 8. ESV

King Solomon had immersed himself in the world – yielding himself over to gluttony, drunkenness, pride, fornication and greed; i.e. he gave into everything that his flesh yearned for. His conclusion?

Thus I considered all my activities which my hand had done and the labor which I exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after the wind and there was no profit under the sun. Eccl. 2:11 NASB

Then, Solomon applied godly wisdom to his observations and came up with the Holy Spirit-inspired meaning of life:

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or find enjoyment? For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and striving after the wind. Eccl. 2:24 – 26. ESV

So, the ‘meaning of life’ begins with finding contentment through God and from His provisions, as you walk in His ways and know that you play a special part in HIs plan – finding your joy as you perform the tasks that He assigns you.

I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with…I have perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live… Eccl. 3:10 & 12. ESV

Added to the ‘meaning of life’ then, is that walking in God’s ways includes laboring to help others reach their highest and best.

Knowing the meaning of life and living that way allows us to get the most out of it. It doesn’t mean that there will not be hardships from time to time however:

In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has appointed one as well as the other… Eccl. 7:14 NKJV

Our lives have cycles of ups and downs; but the ‘downs’ are not times where God is throwing obstacles in your way. He doesn’t do that. God allows adversities to manifest in your life (usually of your own making) so that you can gather strength of character and godly wisdom to draw you closer to Him and increase your dependence upon His love.

Every day, God gives you an opportunity to connect with Him to see the meaning of life through the eyes of love, so that each day can be the best day of your life.

The last aspect revealed to Solomon about the ‘meaning of life’ is the vision we must keep in our hearts while we live it, that of the eternal paradise that awaits us. God wants us to live our lives to their fullest but even so, the day of our heavenly arrival will far surpass it:

…the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth. Eccl. 7:1 NASB

Finally, King Solomon sums up all the aspects of the ‘meaning of life’ in one scripture;

The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. Eccl. 12:11 – 13. ESV

Thus, all meaning in life is found in knowing and loving your God and living by the tenets of His love – which guarantees you a life now and forever, surrounded in complete love. That’s what it’s all about…

Goodnight and God bless.

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Discovering The Pattern That Separates You From God – Part 4

In the first 3 parts of this series, we plunged the depths of the meanings behind the first 9 of 29 questions (that hopefully you’ve already answered – see Your Personal Responsibility In Cleaning God’s House – Part 2) designed to see the pattern of life you live out that poses a barrier to your communion with God. Let’s continue…

10. Describe what you feel the future holds for you.

Are you waiting for a future where you finally get it all together? Guess what? No one ever gets it all together. You position yourself to get it together by walking in God’s ways. He brings you all together:

…He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you. Phil. 1:6 AMP

We are a work in progress. Life on Earth is a training ground. There is no goal. LIFE IS THE GOAL! It’s a journey where we put one spirit-led foot in front of the other until our Savior takes us home.

If you are waiting for any kind of a future, you are missing out on life because it only happens in the present moment – not in some nebulous future.

Waiting for a happy future? Doesn’t exist. Happiness comes from engaging in the present, making the decision to be happy regardless of your circumstances.

Looking for love and acceptance in the future? God gave you those things the moment He thought you into being. (Eph. 1:4) Regardless of what may have tarnished your past, God has redeemed you from it through the cleansing blood of His Son.

11. What meaning have you brought to life?

Do you wake each day with gratitude and an exuberant expectancy, or do you rise with wrenched guts and tears threatening to burst forth? If it is the former, you are living consciously, engaged in healing, giving and loving. If the latter, you’re living a life enmeshed with the meanings of the wounded child within. Don’t punish yourself for that. You are courageously working in this series so that the latter becomes the former. You deserve great love and compassion for your efforts.

12. Are you dissatisfied with life?

Your satisfaction or dissatisfaction with your life hinge upon the meaning(s) you bring to your life. That is not to downplay those real events in your life that unhinged you and brought real feelings of grief, pain, misery, disappointment or shame. Yet regardless of the reality or lack of it in your ‘events,’ it is the meanings that you create around them that determine your view of life and how you live it.

Thus, we can go to meditation and remind ourselves that nothing earthly is permanent. We snoop into our real or unreal roots (meanings) of our vision of life and our reactions to it, let them wash over us and bury them – knowing that we can construct new truth-based meanings of life that empower us to heal.

All situations have something to teach us. When we commit to learning what it is instead of running, our unworkable ‘stuff’ will be revealed and we can let that go. If, during our meditative examination, we think we’ve reached our limits and are standing on the edge of a frightful abyss, we can stop and breathe and look at where that false belief stems from. If we jump, we’ll land on solid ground in the present moment with one more fear behind us.

But this can only happen if we keep our eyes wide open in the presence of our vexation and let go of any efforts of trying to control the world. ‘Letting go’ allows us to be free to face life without fear. When we practice living at peace instead of indulging in drama and our responsive knee-jerk reactions, life is manageable.

Instead of sinking into suffering if we experience pain, we can offer ourselves love, compassion and kindness. If we feel loss, we can look at why we feel the need to cling by examining the meanings that motivate us to do that – our desires, aggressions and denials. We can see them for the conditioned lies that they are and let them go.

Once we learn the lesson that life is presenting, it will stop haunting us. Often, those lessons push our ‘hot buttons.’ This is a wonderful opportunity to learn why those hot buttons exist – a time to disqualify and eliminate more baseless beliefs. We can become walking pillars of peace in a world of pandemonium.

Other than our relationship with God and ourselves, all things come and go. They’re all on loan to us. So we can’t really lose anything; it wasn’t ours to begin with. Thus, we want to cherish our loved ones in the present moment, and tap into their love-print in our heart when they are not. We are never alone and true love never dies.

Change is not loss but opportunity for new possibilities.

13. What makes you angry?

The answer is simple. It is the same things that make you afraid. (See part 3 of this series.) You’ve already learned that anger kills (see Characteristics Of A Life When God Is Absent – Part 3). When you feel it manifest within you, stop and breathe, look at what you are listening to in your head and how you are also getting angry with yourself. Defuse and replace the meanings behind that commotion and practice forgiveness and acceptance for both you and the object of your anger.

14. What does everyone think about you?
15. What do you think is wrong with you?
16. Why don’t you accept yourself?
17. What secrets are you keeping?
18. What lies do you tell?

The answers to all of these questions have the same roots. They stem from the things you don’t accept about yourself and the lies you tell in an attempt to conceal them. (By the way, you really don’t know what anybody thinks of you.)

The ‘unacceptable things’ are either something you’ve done in the past that you’ve attached a negative meaning to, or a negative belief you took on as a child. The past cannot be changed. While you are examining your answers to these questions, it’s a good time to go to God for forgiveness:

He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy towards those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Ps. 103:10 – 12. NKJV

So let up on yourself. Look deep at any belief you may harbor that opposes your perfection and realize it is a lie…

We’re heading for the home stretch. Next time.
Goodnight and God bless.