#216: What Does It Take to Live the Greatest Life?

It May Not be What You Think!

I asked a few people this past week if they thought they were living the greatest life possible. Most said, “No.” A few said, “Yes.” I followed up by asking, “What does it take to live the greatest life possible?”

Greatest Life

The answers I got were mostly a variation of the happiness theme. From the “no’s” it was:

  • I am unhappy with my job.
  • I am unhappy with my income.
  • I am unhappy with my spouse/family.

From the “yes’s” it was:

  • I am happy with my job.
  • I am happy with my income.
  • I am happy with my spouse/family.

You get the idea.

These answers are flat-out wrong! If you think for a minute that the greatest life possible derives from some measure of happiness brought on by a good job, a nice income, or even great in-laws you are in for a massive disappointment in life.

Good jobs can disappear overnight. And that great income? Poof! An unfaithful spouse? There goes your happiness and your great life.

The reality is, all these things can be taken away or disappear in your next breath. If you are relying on anyone or anything in this world for your happiness you will be disappointed.

The one and only way you can live the greatest life possible is to build your life on God and His Word.

Why? Because God designed us, He created us, He knows what is best for us, and He has promised that nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:35-39).

The Greatest Life Possible

So, if happiness is not a measure of a great life, what then, is the secret to living the greatest life possible?

Jesus told us exactly what it takes when he gave the disciples two commandments:

Jesus answered, “The most important [commandment] is…you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31).

Love God

The first and most important element of living the greatest life possible is to love the Lord your God. This is what we are commanded to do.

But how do we do it?

Jesus told us how when He said, with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength.

  • Our heart is the center of our emotional control center.
  • Our soul is our will, our self-conscious life.
  • Our mind is our thoughts and the way we think.
  • Our strength is our bodily strength.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I think about whether I love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, I feel ashamed because I could do so much better.

Love Your Neighbor

The second element for living the greatest life possible is to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Who is Jesus referring to when He says to love our neighbors? We know from Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:33-34) that everyone is our neighbor. We also learn from this parable that we limit our love because people are different than us or because of our fears.

Jesus taught how we are to love our neighbors when He said, “…love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34).

Jesus loves everyone, and He loves us unconditionally. In this commandment, Jesus is telling us to love everyone, unconditionally just as He loves us. That includes people of the other political party, people who have a different worldview, even people who disagree with us and would do us harm. We are to love them all.

Nothing, said Jesus, is more important than to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. That, folks, is how we can live the greatest life possible!

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. On a scale of 1-10 are you living the greatest life possible? If not, what do you need to change in your life?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Obedience to God

 

 

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13 thoughts on “#216: What Does It Take to Live the Greatest Life?

  1. Where we get our happiness is so important. All of these things on earth can be taken away, but our relationship with Christ cannot be taken away. To live the greatest life we really do need to remember the two greatest commandments that we were given. It is an everyday choice to choose to love God will all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. It is maybe even more difficult to love our neighbors because that includes people who we may not get along with or even really like.

  2. This weeks post was just what I needed to read. In the past couple weeks, I believe God had really been teaching me to love our “neighbors” unconditionally. I have constantly been reminding myself “what would Jesus do” even though it can be really hard. I think it’s so important to love like Jesus, and be a light for him in this world.

    • Allison,
      I’m glad this topic resonated with you. Living and loving like Jesus has been difficult for mankind since that whole apple incident back in the Garden of Eden. You’re with good company trying to live like our Savior!

  3. This is one of my favorite postings by far! I fully agree that there is nothing more important than to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus reflected this in everything He did and in leading by example. As his followers, we must imitate this same behavior by loving people unconditionally. By placing our worth and identity in materialistic items and worldly things we can become blinded to the promises that God has for us beyond this temporary life. Only belief and faith in Jesus Christ can fill our happiness and satisfy our souls that can be tempted by materialism. The more we all love God, the more we will reflect that same love on to others!

    • Elisa,
      You are so right; we are often blinded by the pursuit of material things. One only needs to visit people who live in poverty around the world to realize how much we are impacted by material pursuits. I’ve known many wealthy people who are absolutely miserable despite their toys, and many of the poorest of the poor who are full of joy because of their relationship to Christ.

  4. I love this post because I have seen first hand how having worldly things, such as your job or friendships, be your true source of happiness leads to destruction. We are in constant seasons of change, where things are one way today and another tomorrow. If our happiness lies within the worldly things, it can be wiped away from us within a matter of a day. This post is a very good reminder for me, to keep God in the center of all areas of my life and having Him be my true source of happiness. Following God is decision we have to make everyday. I love these words of wisdom, and it’s a great reminder for me to keep in perspective that everything on this earth is temporary, but God is eternal so I need to be investing my time and heart into things that are eternal.

  5. This is a topic I have been thinking about for a while now myself. Like many, I measure the quality of my life based on happiness because it is the obvious end goal of life. If you can be happy even when things don’t go as planned, then those bad things don’t matter as much. Unfortunately, as humans, I think we all have the tendency to measure our happiness in terms of our relationships and careers even though we know that being happy only requires one thing – God. The problem with this is that we compare our lives to everyone else’s for example “how can I be happy when so and so has an amazing family, a great career, and has God in their life compared to me who only has God ”. I know that I have to work on focusing on God alone and that by simply loving Him and loving others is the only way to get real happiness. What I have realized over the past few years is that there is a difference between selfish happiness and true and abundant joy. The more we focus our heart on Him and practice our faith, the more will we receive true joy because that type of happiness will also be full of God and neighborly love.

    • Kelsey,
      Well said. I think social media has created a false sense of happiness. Everyone puts their best face forward on social media, and as you point out we tend to compare ourselves to the life everyone else is leading. The trouble is, on social media, we are seeing only the happy, glamorous side of people’s lives.

  6. I think if I were to be completely honest with myself I would only be about a six. The good news is that I am young and have time to improve myself. There are two reasons that I would say that I am a six. The first is that I know God is not always the most important thing in my life. It’s not that I don’t try, it’s just that I don’t always succeed. The good news is that I am a sinner saved by grace and God has plenty of grace to spare. The other reason is that I find myself making excuses for why someone isn’t my neighbor and therefore qualifies for ‘conditional’ love. The good news is that I am aware of this and I am working to improve upon it.

    • Ben,
      I’m right there with you. The greatest struggle I face is putting away the divisiveness that permeates our world and accept who is my neighbor!

  7. John 13:34 is the principle behind many of my own writings. Our world would be such a better place if only more people followed it, as well as the Golden rule.