JESUS, THE WAY TO A BETTER LIFE
LESSON THREE – By Sewell Hall
The popular goal of our generation is “the good life.” This dream is not new. It has been the desire of every age – of teachers and philosophers, of kings and common men. However, to the truly good life, as to every other good thing, JESUS IS THE WAY.
JESUS CORRECTS MISCONCEPTIONS
The good life is probably summed up best in the word HAPPINESS. Yet, when we think of the good life, we usually think of material prosperity, of pleasure and popularity. This is because we suppose that these are the things which bring happiness. Jesus rejects this supposition. Hear Him:
Our own personal observations agree that most wealthy, high-living and famous people are not happy. Yet we continue to seek these things and often are disappointed when Jesus does not provide them. If Jesus offered these as the way to a better life, He would be a failure.
JESUS ROOTS OUT THE PROBLEM
God endowed man with the good life in the very beginning of time. But man lost it when he sinned. With sin came guilt, fear, pain and death. Sin is still the spoiler. Jesus said:
Is it not true that most of the unhappiness you have known is traceable to just such sins as these? It is only in turning from sin that we can hope to find happiness.
Only by studying the law of Christ can we recognize sin.
Only by following the perfect example of Jesus can we avoid sin.
Imagine a life without guilt, without fear, without the anxiety that always attends a life of sin! Here, indeed, is peace that passes understanding.
JESUS TEACHES US TO SEEK NEW GOALS
The goal of an unhappy world is earthly treasure. Jesus says: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…”(Matthew 6:19-20)
Men are eager to receive, but reluctant to give. Jesus says: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
Men consider it a symbol of the good life to be served. Jesus says: “…Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant…just as the son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.” (Matthew 20:26-28)
The goals the world sets are goals which many can never achieve. Achievement does not ensure happiness and those who fail to achieve them are made even more miserable by their failures.
When our goals are changed, we can be content without those things the world considers essential; they are no longer the things we are seeking. Our contentment and happiness come with attaining our new goals, and success in these is within the reach of all. All can store up treasure in heaven, all can give, and all can be servants. If there is any doubt that these do bring happiness, just look at any individual you may know who is actually practicing them.
JESUS GIVES US WHAT WE DO NOT EXPECT!
Once we learn not to make material things, pleasure, and fame our goals, Jesus provides us an unexpected portion of these very things! Hear Him:
We may never know all the ways by which the Lord fulfills His promises. But one way is through the sheer wisdom of His instructions. Knowing man as He does and loving man as He does, He asks of us only those things that are good for us; and He forbids only those things that are harmful.
Our health is better when we live the pure life that Jesus teaches. We are better off financially, for we are better workers and we no longer have to pay the expensive cost of sin. Family life is better as we learn to think first of others. And regardless of the problems and troubles we still must face, we face them with Jesus and with the hope of heaven.
Using these quotations or looking up the verses in your own Bible, please answer the questions below. Quotations in this lesson are from the New King James Version (NKJV). We suggest the New King James Version (NKJV), New American Standard (NAS), or English Standard Version (ESV) for your personal study use.