1 My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:
2For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.
From a Christian perspective, when we keep the commandments of Jesus, which are centered around love for God and others, we will have a more meaningful life.
Life can feel hopeless and meaningless for a lot of people. It is easy for people to be consumed by resentments, fear, envy, covetousness, and the like. It is also easy for people to attach themselves to harmful ideas or social groups in attempts to find hope and meaning in life—either to stave off negative emotions or to feel empowered by them.
There are multiple movements that I disagree with today, and many of them have a pretentious nature. Those who form and fuel these movements have hidden—and sometimes not so hidden—agendas that are very harmful. However, there are many people caught up in these ideologies that don’t fully understand the cause they are supporting. “Forgive then for they know not what they do.”
I suspect that many people support such causes because they need to feel as if they are part of something bigger than themselves—something that will add meaning to their life or change the world for the better. Of course, there are also those who use social movements for their own personal gain and to justify their sinful actions and hatred of others. It is a mixture, so how should we deal with these causes, movements, and social ideologies?
If we know enough about the topic at hand, we can point out the truth of the matter. We can point out the pretentious nature of the movement leaders. We can show how harmful these causes are. Most importantly, I think we need to give people something else to focus on. People need a life of meaning and hope. They need the gospel.
It is so important for Christians to preach—and live—the gospel and the commandments of Jesus. Following the ways of Jesus can be hard for a time because His ways are not our own, but with His help we learn how to live a Christian life. The more we let go of sinful thoughts and actions, the more fulfilling our life becomes.
When I read about “length of days,” I think about meaning. The ways of God provide our days with greater fulfillment and purpose as opposed to days that just blow by and feel meaningless or wasted. We are told to “redeem the time for the days are evil.” If we live a life that is Christ centered, then we are using the time we are given wisely, or at least we grow in that regard, and our lives are used for God’s good purposes. There is no greater meaning, hope, or fulfillment that a person can find in this life.
Of course, there are those who hate the things of God. They cling to their sinful nature and want to destroy this world and those who live in it. Some hearts are hard, some eyes are blind, and some ears are deafened. It is God’s will. So, we can pray for them, either to convert or turn away from us, and we can learn to trust in God.
I like to remind myself of something Jesus said, “you would have no power over me if it was not given to you by the Father.”
We should also be on guard against becoming holier-than-thou because God hates that. It is easy to fall into at times when we look at this world, but if we remember that all good things in us came from God and consider the mercy He has shown us in all of our sinfulness, it helps to maintain a sober-minded perspective.
The ways of God also provide us with a longer life, potentially. If we live sinfully then we are destroying our minds and bodies very often. Sometimes harm comes to us at no fault of our own, like the blind man that Jesus healed and like Job. Generally, however, living a Christian life will help us to live happily and healthily.
What about peace? Living in this world certainly can destroy our peace. Many people are plagued by anxieties and hatred. Sinfulness in general can greatly destroy our peace. For a Christian, looking at the sins of others or the destructiveness of certain ideas and movements can destroy our peace. Focusing on Jesus can help us find peace, especially the more we learn to trust in Him and walk in His ways of love towards others.
I know I have a long way to go in loving others as Jesus loves me, but I also know that He can help me in this. It is one of my frequent prayers. My own resentments and fears hinder my service to the Lord, and I need help in overcoming these issues through forgiveness and faith. If the love of God were in me more fully, I would have these things in greater measure, and I would have the kind of heart that can reach out to people in a meaningful way. I will be thinking more about this today.