Who do you live for?

One of the most important tools we will ever develop in our lives is the ability to distinguish the bad from the good. The most natural way we go about this is by having a series of experiences of certain things before, via our use of comparison, determining which among is the best or most desirable. Be it in shopping, socializing, or in the media, it’s natural for us to choose whatever it is that brings us the most joy. This God-given ability is essential in our pursuit of the good life. However, with this ability comes our responsibility to stop and observe what our motivations are for the choices we make and, in that effect, what lives we aspire to live.

To be aware of the motivations of our choices and decisions is to become aware of not only our purpose in life but also who we are destined to become.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Proverbs 4:23

Today, I will present one of three questions that will reveal the value of our inner motivations before explaining why it is that God alone can perfectly fulfill that role. Before I start, I would encourage you to stop and, if you haven’t already, decide what your motivation in life is. Ask yourself if I had ___, I would have a happy life.

If your answer involves people or your relationships with people, then this article may be for you. Ask yourself the following question:

As I pursue my relationships, do I sometimes feel as though I am on an emotional rollercoaster?

An emotional rollercoaster refers to a series of sporadic highs and lows in your emotional state. Imagine being the happiest you’ve ever been in your life only to be the most depressed you’ve ever been the next day. Since this feeling is most prevalent with relationships/interactions with others (from personal experience), I’ll mainly focus here. Be it through complications at work, family or marital issues, or drama with friends and neighbors, it’s common that in the event that we decide that the people we love are the motivations of our lives, the most stress we will ever feel will come from those relationships that matter the most.

People aren’t perfect.

Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins.

Ecclesiastes 7:20

No matter how much we may portray our relationships as the most joyful part of our lives, there’s no escaping the reality that because human beings naturally have their high and low points in life, we will always have high and low points in our relationships. Although this a natural part of life, danger can arise when we decide to make our relationships the most important aspect of our lives since the people we love often ride the emotional rollercoaster as much as we do and, as a result, it takes a lot for anybody to be a constant source of happiness for others because of it. Sadness, anger, regret, these are all things we have to live with and while we all cope with the trails of this world differently, everyone feels that pain from time to time. Because we all eventually have these feelings, basing our happiness on our relationships with others can’t always work at certain times who else can we turn to when the people we love sometimes disappoint us or get on our nerves seemingly to no end. In putting our purpose for life in our relationships, we place our joy in the hands of others and when they stumble and fall, our joy falls with them.

A well-lived life is a life of peace.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

A well-lived life is a life of emotional consistency. Jesus alone is the only one who can hold our joy because he cannot fall and he has never failed.

 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

Through the truth that Jesus has overcome the sin and the evil of the world, the pursuit of him alone ought to be the central motivation of our lives because only through him do we encounter a peace that has already defeated the seemingly hopeless circumstances we face in our lives. In Christ, we are free to love others because we no longer see them as the source of our satisfaction. By seeing others not by what they give us but rather by what we have to offer them, we graduate from a love that is based solely on temporal pleasure to a love that is as enduring as it is edifying and strive to surround ourselves with people who push us to both live better and love better. In accomplishing this we must see our relationships only a means to the end of imitating the character of Christ. We must make an effort to surround ourselves with the doers of God’s word a let go of the relationships that exist only for the sake of themselves. We must build ourselves through study and discipline in the aim of representing Christlike steadfastness in our lives and the lives of others. Finally, we must pray and ask that God come in and take away our every inward need that threatens to dissolve as these things too can’t compare to the security that only he can provide.

The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.

Proverbs 12:26

 

We must always be mindful not to place our relationships in the part of our hearts that belongs to God alone. If we fail to do this, we establish ourselves on the shifting sands of man and sentence ourselves to a lifetime of emotional instability and anxiety. By making God our rock and our emotional foundation, we are free to live a life of consistent joy, satisfaction, and hope. And in that peace, we find community.

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