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Please Pass The Honey

Dear Friends,

This morning I was reading an article on how American’s celebrate Valentines Day. The writer detailed a variety of traditions connected to the holiday, as well as a list of this year’s “must have” gifts for your special someone. The number one gift this year? An 8 ounce bottle of honey from New Zealand retailing at $1,100.

I will admit that the price tag of that honey was hard for me to believe, so I looked up the brand online to verify what I had just read. The author was indeed telling the truth - the honey really is selling for $1,100 a bottle. The honey was described as a “truly unmatched artisanal masterpiece” that provided an “exclusive opportunity reserved for the most affluent and influential in today’s world.” In other words, only those folks living “the good life” need apply.

If we’re honest, I think most of us can relate to the mindset this company is trying to sell: money is what it takes to live the “good life”. Even if we’ve been raised with the idea that “money can’t buy happiness”, there is often a quiet voice in the back of our minds whispering, “True, but it can rent it for a while.” The problem of course is that it's not true. We've all known people who have had money and have not enjoyed a “good life”. Some of us have even experienced that ourselves. That's why it's important that, as children of God, we know what God says will give us a “good life” – so we can pursue those things instead.

In 1 Timothy 6:11 the Apostle Paul helps us understand what God wants us to pursue, as he writes: “But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.” In writing to his friend Timothy, Paul begins by reminding him who he belongs to: God. The Greek word that Paul uses for “belong” is “estah” which means “to exist with”. Which helps us understand that, as children of God, we are called to “exist with God”, because apart from Him we cannot have the “good life” because everything that is truly good flows from God.

For many of us raised in the church, we have heard some variation on this truth before. However, I think the reality of it doesn’t always impact our lives because time after time we look for ways to live the “good life” outside of existing with God. For some of us, it shows up in our pursuit of material things, as we think if we can get nicer, newer, cooler stuff then we’ll be living the good life. For others, it shows up in our pursuit of relationships, as we think if we get a boyfriend or girlfriend or husband or wife, then we’ll be living large. For others, it shows up in our desire to satisfy our own desires, as we think if we party like we want or have sex with whoever we want, that’s the good life. And for others, it shows up in our pursuit of physical perfection, as we think if we're a little bit thinner, or taller, or prettier, or anything just a bit more impressive than we are now - then we'll be living the good life.

You get the idea - so much of our motivation in life comes from our desire to live “the good life.” But more often than not, it’s based on how we’re defining it, which means that our pursuit of those things actually takes us away from God. That’s why Paul reminds us that the good life cannot happen outside of us “existing with God”, because when we live in close companionship with God, then we understand how He wants us to live - and what He knows “living the good life” really means.

So today let's ask God to help us exist with Him. Let’s ask Him to help us not look to our own desires, or what the world tells us will make us happy. Instead, let's commit to understanding that, apart from Him, we will never find the good life.




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