Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 28, 1964
NUMBER 4, PAGE 1,11a

How To Live

Gordon Wilson

Every man has one life before him which he must live. This life may be brief or it may be lengthy, but in any case it is always uncertain. "For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." (James 4:14) Considering the uncertainty of life, my attitude toward life becomes important above measure. It is necessary to adopt the proper philosophy of living.

Fundamentally there are three philosophies of life from which we can choose. There is the pessimistic attitude which regards life as of little value and considers sadness the only proper demeanor. Then there is the materialistic attitude which regards material wellbeing and pleasure as the true aims of life. Lastly, there is the deterministic attitude which regards this life as a means to an end, with a goal to be gained when this life is over. During the days of the apostles, in the Greek-speaking world, these philosophies had their representatives: Pessimism was represented by the Stoics; Materialism by the Epicureans; and Determinism in its purest form was represented by Christianity.

We find the three philosophies mentioned together in Acts 17:18: "Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoics, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection." Here Pessimism and Materialism encountered the Determinism preached by Paul. In his sermon from Mars Hill Paul taught these Athenian philosophers that life has a goal worth seeking: He said that God "....hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and bath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us." (Acts 17:26, 27) Then to seek and serve the Lord is the purpose of man's life, and it will bring blessings to those who pursue it. How then should I live?

Live by the word of God Jesus said, in quoting Deuteronomy 8:3 to the tempter, "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4) The word of God is milk for the newborn babe (1 Peter 2:2), and meat for those who are of full age. (Hebrews 5:14) It provides sufficient spiritual nourishment for life.

Live not to the flesh, but to the Spirit. "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." (Romans 8:13) We are solemnly warned that those who do the works of the flesh shall not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:21); while we are assured that against the fruits of the Spirit there is no law. (Galatians 5:23) It is a simple moral choice between good and evil. Wisdom suggests that we cannot afford to waste our lives in pursuit of fleshly satisfactions.

Live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. God has given us the grace which brings salvation in order to teach us to so conduct our lives. (Titus 2:11, 12) To live soberly does not mean to live sadly, but it does mean to take seriously the things of a divine nature. To live righteously does not mean to be prudish, but it does mean to be just and fair in all our dealings. To live godly does not mean to wear our religion like a badge, but it does mean to let our light so shine that God will be glorified. This kind of life may be difficult to live in this present world, surrounded as we are with every enticement and allurement the devil can invent to get us to sin; but that is where the grace comes in. Let us use it.

Live by faith. "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me." (Galatians 2:20) Faith means conviction; it therefore involves total commitment to the point where Christ is actually living in me. If Christ is living in me I shall not need to fear that my life is being mismanaged in any way. All of us need to constantly enlarge our faith; to believe more and more. We need to deepen our faith; to believe more fully. We need to strengthen our faith; to believe more accurately. We shall be living right when we can truthfully say, "For we walk by faith, riot by sight." (2 Corinthians 5:7)

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