Living our lives and understanding death
We are born in this world without knowing exactly who we are, why we are here, what to live for, how we should live (our purpose) and what awaits us at the end of our lives here on earth(death). Despite the fact that, living a full and satisfying life is always at the top of our inborn priorities, yet it turns out to be a goal that’s completely unreachable. This is simply the reason we all appear insatiable. And always want to have more out of life. Now, while trying to do this, we often try to seek love, wealth, happiness, self-development, influence, knowledge, service. Grasp experiences, enjoy relationships, and maximize our opportunities. But here’s the big question! If you’ve experienced all or most of these, would you then say that you’ve truly lived?
God’s Design for Our Lives
The truth is, God wants us to enjoy our lives every day. In John 10:10 the Bible says, “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” This is an amazing scripture because it makes it very clear that, God doesn’t just want us to live – He wants us to enjoy living the life he has given us. He wants us to live rather than exist. We can all live our lives purposefully to the fullest.
The Pathway to Purposeful Living
People often ask, “So what do you want to achieve with your life?” Nevertheless, I think the right question should be, “So what does God want you to achieve with your life?” Now, a good number of people confuse the passion that drives them with purpose. However, your passion may not necessarily be poised towards God’s plan for you. Nonetheless, in some cases, God’s purpose for someone and the person’s passion could both be in alignment. The great news here, is that we can always find out all of these, in the place of prayer – even while still pursuing your passion.
Meanwhile, there could always be a common ground for your passion and God’s plan to meet because it’s God that has put the passion there to help you fulfill his purpose for your life. More so, finding out God’s plan and purpose isn’t something that’s made clear overnight. It takes years of prayers. This is because God unfolds his plans for us bit by bit. That’s why it’s always important to have a relationship with him. Otherwise, you’ll walk in error. And at the end of the day, you may just realize that you merely existed all through your life’s journey.
Consequently, it’s easier to be at peace with yourself when dying – when you remember that you lived a purposeful life. This Chinese proverb sums this up perfectly. It says “When you were born, you were crying while everyone else was smiling. Live your life so that when you are about to die, while everyone else is crying, you are smiling.”
Understanding The Inevitable End (Death)
John 11:25-26 says,“….. I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die…” A man who has lived purposefully will possess a supernatural peace when he’s finally faced with death.This peace comes from being in a right relationship with God. An inner calm will dominate his heart despite staring death in the face – because he knows he is dying empty and has no regrets whatsoever. This is the reason a cancer patient who is about to die will remember John 14:27 and Romans 8:28. And still be able to lift his voice to say, “Jesus, I’m grateful for the life you gave to me, now I’m coming to my final home.” No one, especially those outside of Christ, will be able to understand this. To many, it will seem a mystery how someone who is in severe pain and is about breathing his last – would still maintain his composure and peace.
Conclusively, God has given us many privileges which are enjoyable and pleasurable. But their ultimate purpose will always be to point us and others towards him. Without a love relationship with him, every experience is dulled by being limited to itself. When we expect to live completely fulfilling lives without God, we expect something of life that was never designed to be given.
Rabbi Tony Angelo Taliaferro Ph.d
Professor of Theology and Intercultural Studies
Messianic Graduate College of Theology and Administration, Sierra Leone.