“The lenght of our days is seventy years—or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow.”—Psalm 90:10*, New International Version.
LIFE in this world is so often glutted with “trouble and sorrow.” Is it even possible to have a truly meaningful life now?
Your work may be repetitive, tiring, and tedious. Your efforts or work may not be recognized. Even if you do have a measure of success, you may feel insecure regarding your future. At times, you may also feel lonely or depressed. Your family life may be marked by conflict and strife. You may have lost a loved one in death.
No matter what trouble we may face, there is something we desperately need to know: is a meaningful life really possible? We can find the answer in the life of a man who walked the earth some 2,000 years ago—Jesus Christ. In spite of all the obstacles that confronted him, Jesus truly had a meaningful life. So can we if we follow his example.
Jesus—The Key to a Meaningful Life
Did Jesus really have a meaningful life? He evidently was brought up in humble surroundings, and throughout his life he had few of this world’s goods. He actually had “nowhere to lay down his head.” (Luke 9:57, 58) In addition, he was hated slandered, and finally put to death by his enemies.
You may reason, ‘Such a life is not what I think of as meaningful!’ But there is more to Jesus’ life that we do well to consider. Let us examine four aspects of his life.
1. JESUS HAD A PURPOSE IN LIFE—TO DO GOD’S WILL.
“My food is for me to do the will of him that sent me.”—John 4:34.
By his words and actions, Jesus sought to fulfill the will of his heavenly Father, Jehovah. Jesus found great joy in doing God’s will. He actually compared doing so to food, as is shown in the scripture just quoted.
2. JESUS HAD INTENSE LOVE FOR HIS FATHER.
“I love the Father.”—John 14:31.
Jesus had an extremely close relationship with his Father in heaven. Jesus’ deep love for God impelled him to make known his Father—His name, purposes, and qualities. Through his words, actions, and attitudes, Jesus perfectly reflected his Father—to the point that we see in Jesus a living portrait of his Father. —John 14:8, 9.
3. JESUS LOVED PEOPLE.
“No one has love greater than this, that someone should surrender his soul in behalf of his friends.”—John 15:13.
The Bible explains: “Through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned.” (Romans 5:12)
Thankfully, Jehovah lovingly provided a solution to mankind’s situation. He allowed his perfect and sinless Son, who became known as Jesus, to suffer and die in order to provide the ransom needed to deliver mankind from slavery to sin and death. Jesus, moved by love for his Father and for humans, willingly complied and gave his perfect human life in our behalf. (Romans 5:6-8) Such unselfish love gave meaning to his life. To learn more about the ransoming value of Jesus’ death, see chapter 5 of the bookWhat Does the Bible Really Teach?, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
4. JESUS KNEW THAT HE HAD HIS FATHER’S LOVE AND APPROVAL.
“This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.”—Matthew 3:17.
Jehovah spoke those words from heaven at the time of Jesus’ baptism. Jehovah by doing so, openly expressed affection for and approval of his Son, Jesus. (John 10:17) Knowing that he had his Father’s love and approval, Jesus faced opposition and criticism with confidence. He even maintained balance and emotional stability in the face of death. (John 10:18) His own Father’s love and approval gave even greater meaning to his life.
Clearly, we can learn much from Jesus about how we can lead a life that has real meaning.
A Meaningful Life—Jesus Shows the Way
“Walk just as Jesus walked.”—1 John 2:6, NET Bible.
If we want to fill our life with meaning, we do well to imitate his example and listen to his advice. Walking as Jesus walked involves patterning our entire way of life after his example and teachings. Doing so will help us to gain God’s approval and have a meaningful life.
Jesus’ teaching included principles that can help us to walk just as he walked. We find a number of these principles in his famous Sermon of the Mount.
PRINCIPLE: “Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need.”—Matthew 5:3.
Can God’s Word really help us to satisfy our spiritual need? Jesus indicated that humans have an innate spiritual need. We long to know the answers to such questions as these: Why are we here? Why is there so much suffering on this earth? Does God really care about us? Is there life after death? We need to know the answers to such questions in order to have a meaningful life. Jesus knew that there is only one reliable source that can answer those questions—God’s Word. In prayer to his Father, Jesus said: “Your word is truth.” (John 17:17)
PRINCIPLE: “Happy are the merciful.”—Matthew 5:7.
Mercy involves showing compassion to others, being kind and considerate toward them. Jesus showed mercy to those in need. Moved by deep compassion, he took the initiative to relieve the suffering of others. (Matthew 14:14; 20:30-34) When we imitate Jesus in being merciful, we add meaning to our lives. (Acts 20:35) And are happy as a result.
PRINCIPLE: “Happy are the peaceable.”—Matthew 5:9.
To be “peaceable” literally means to be a “peacemaker”. How does being a peacemaker make life more meaningful? For one thing, we enjoy better relationships with those around us. We do well to heed the Bible’s advise: “If possible, as far as it depends upon you, be peaceable with all men.” (Romans 12:18) Yes if we follow Jesus’ wise advice, we will find happiness and contentment in life.
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