In today’s world, we can see many humans living their lives with superficial goals and ideas of life. Many philosophers theorize and contemplate on what life is and what the meaning of life is.
What defines living? Many of us have raised this question at one point or another in our lives. Generally speaking, the ideas surrounding this question boils down to two camps:
- To live is to be happy
- To live is to have freedom
These ideas are interesting to contemplate about; however, they don’t actually define what living is. I believe we can find the answers in our bibles.
What is Living?
First let’s look at the creation of human life:
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Gen. 2:7 KJV)
Now notice what King David has to say about the creation of human life.
“For he [God] knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” (Ps. 103:14 KJV)
While referring to the creation of man, David makes a similar statement as Gen. 2:7. He explains that our bodies (frame) are made from the dust of the ground. So biblically we know that God formed man from the dust of the ground. Reread Gen. 2:7 with emphasis on the last two clauses of the verse. According to scripture, man became a living soul when the breath of life was breathed into his nostrils. This living is based on the physical property of breathing. To live is to have the breath of life.
This is a very simple thing to understand, but there is another level of living that most do not understand.
The Living God
Did you know that both Joshua and Moses referred to the Creator as the “living God?” Read Deut. 5:26 and Josh. 3:10. Did you also know that Samuel, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Matthew, John, and Paul refer to God in the same way? Take the time to research this using an online concordance.
Notice what Paul said when writing to the Thessalonians:
“…ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.” (I Thes. 1:9 KJV)
In comparison to idols, God is called living and true. The significant difference between God and idols is that God is living. The word true in this statement means more than real. God is not a product of man’s imagination as idols are. Even though idols spring forth from the imagination of men, their physical composition still makes them real things. This is why God is called the living God. There are a lot of real things in this world that are not living.
In addition, this is how we know that the word true does not mean real. Consider the fact that man is a living soul. “God is a Spirit.” (John 4:24 KJV) So then God is a living spirit. This means God is eternal. Understand that God does not live like man. “God is greater than man,” according to Job 33:12. God being true refers to the permanent character of God.
Let’s read Isa. 55:8-9:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (KJV)
God describes for us the clear difference between us and Him. This signifies the difference in our living. Our thoughts and ways are not on the same plane as God’s thoughts and ways.
John the Baptist said, “He that hath received his [Christ’s] testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.” (John 3:33 KJV) This speaks to the character of God and the truth in what He says. The following verse proves it:
“He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.” (I John 5:10 KJV)
The entire Old Testament is a record of what Jesus Christ would come to do. Notice these verses:
“But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled… And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:18, 20-21 KJV)
This speaks to the truth that is in God. God has been declaring the same hope of eternal life through the prophets since the world began. God’s character is permanent and right unlike the character of man. God lives eternally as a righteous being that cannot lie.
“In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” (Titus 1:2 KJV)
So we know that living is having the breath of life but there is a level of spiritual living that is greater than the living of man. Remember, God is a Spirit. Paul gives a good idea of what the character of God is like in Gal. 5:22-23.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
This describes God’s character. Then notice what Paul says in verse 25 of the same chapter: “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Notice when Spirit is referring to God it is capitalized. This is significant in understanding the spiritual lives God wants us to live. Take the time to study the verses that includes the capitalized Spirit.
So then to live is not to be happy. To truly live we must live as a reflection of God’s character. In truth this is key to our salvation and the reason why we were made in the image of God. Read Gen 1:26 and then read Rom. 8 which summarizes the purpose of man.
Happiness in Spiritual Living
It is also important to note that God’s character is summarized in the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20). Living in the character of God does not mean you will lead an unhappy life. Happiness does not constitute living. It is the spiritual living which constitutes happiness. Please reflect on this.
Notice that David wrote, “Happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.” (Ps. 144:15 KJV) Notice he says God is the Lord. Lord refers to the eternal nature of God and His permanent character.
“He that keepeth the law, happy is he.” (Prov. 29:18 KJV) Remember the law of God displays God’s character and spiritual living.
“Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” (James 5:11 KJV)
James explains that in the end we will be happy if we endure with the same patience as Job because God will have pity and mercy for us. Again, happiness comes from spiritually living in the character of God.
As for freedom defining what it means to live, think about the following: What we perceive to be freedom is really bondage to sin. Satan is identified as the god of this world.
“In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not…” (II Cor. 4:4 KJV)
He has also deceived the whole world (Rev. 12:9) into thinking that the works of the flesh are acceptable.
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Gal 5:19-21 KJV)
When you think about having freedom and doing whatever you want to do, does it include any or all of these works? That form of “freedom” is the bondage of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which symbolizes deciding for oneself what is right and wrong.
“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Prov. 14:12 KJV)
God, who is true, is the only being who can decide what is right and wrong. This is why He is our righteous Creator.
“My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.” (Ps 119:172 KJV)
True freedom comes from developing the character of God, and always choosing to do that which He declares is right. That is true living, freedom, and happiness. Remember man’s ultimate purpose is to become “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ,” (Rom. 8:17 KJV) in the kingdom of God.
It is absolutely essential to understand the purpose of our lives and true living. I have been studying these topics for over 15 years. I recommend combing your bible daily to understand this thoroughly. I also recommend these two books: The Incredible Human Potential and Mystery of the Ages. The Philadelphia Church of God does excellent work in explaining the purpose of man in these two books which quote directly from the bible. The Philadelphia Church of God gives these books away freely because God does not want us to sell His word. I respect the Philadelphia Church of God. I invite my readers to read their free literature as I have. I would not be recommending their literature if I didn’t believe it was scripturally sound and that God is working through them. If you go to my ABOUT THE 2 OLIVE BRANCHES page you’ll see that I believe my writings are inspired by God and the work of the Philadelphia Church of God.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (II Tim. 2:15 KJV)
I pray that those of you who want to learn what God says would apply that verse to your life.
Also read our A Lesson in Sin series… God bless…
By Bryant Muldrew