Are You Really Living the Good Life?
By Rick Warren
— August 15, 2009
“God has made us what we are, and in our union with Christ Jesus he has created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10 TEV).
A few years ago the master-planned community of Mission Viejo launched an advertising campaign to attract home buyers. They used phrases like “Mission Viejo: the California Promise” and “The Place to Live the Good Life.” Although “the Good Life” is a well-worn phrase in our culture, I wonder how many people have ever stopped to define what exactly it is.
For some people, the Good Life is confused with looking good. They are preoccupied with appearance, as if that is all that really matters in life. In the U.S. our culture idolizes beauty and puts a premium on being attractive. Advertisers capitalize on this knowing that the promise of looking good causes us to spend billions on beauty products, tanning salons, plastic surgery, fat suction, custom color coordination, and the latest styles in clothing.
For others the Good Life is confused with feeling good. Their goal is the minimization of pain and the maximization of pleasure—and they will use whatever it takes to achieve it: hot tubs; Disneyland; cocaine; virtual reality; world travel; the latest movie. The pleasure and entertainment industry is now the largest industry in the U.S. The old ‘60s phrase, “If feels good, do it,” has become the modus operandi for much of our society.
For others the Good Life is confused with having the goods. Their chief ambition is to collect all the goods and goodies of life. They make as much as they can and spend it as fast as they can. But, there’s nothing like a shaky economy to remind us that the Good Life can’t be bought!
In fact, none of these things ultimately satisfy.
• No matter what you do, you can’t stop the aging process.
• Pleasure is a byproduct of the Good Life, not the goal of it.
• The greatest things in life are not things!
So what is the Good Life? It is the personal fulfillment and joy that comes from being good and doing good. It is the result of discovering and becoming exactly what God created you to be. Nothing else will fill that void in your soul. The Bible says this: “God has made us what we are, and in our union with Christ Jesus he has created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10 TEV).