When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. Isaiah 43:2

Friday, February 12, 2010

Living a "Good" Life by Reaching Higher

Image from here.

On our date night last night (Ahhh, it is so nice to be having weekly date nights again. Thank you Debbie!!!!!!!), Scott and I had a really cool discussion about living well. We wondered when it was that we became focused continually on being "better" people.

It seems that the past few years (perhaps tracing back to the birth of our first child, perhaps even before that), we have become all about...becoming. Scott listens to the Thomas Jefferson hour, Radio Lab, and other intellectually stimulating and inspiring radio programs.

We go to a church that challenges us constantly to become better people, better parents and better spouses, and I, of course, have my little blog obsession, where I have found several blogs I routinely visit for inspiration on everything from homemaking, menu planning, homeschooling, and mothering to being a fashionably modest woman...spiritual growth to church history. In another post, I will list all my favorite blogs that really keep me motivated and excited about this stay at home mommy journey.

But, we're not sure when this process began in our lives or whether everyone eventually gets to a place where they are focused on self betterment for the good of others. (i.e., not just self improvement in career, status, appearance, etc., but bettering our souls and hearts so that we can be a blessing to our family, friends, community, world, and God's kingdom.)

Anyway, it was a great discussion and I came away thankful for a husband that is always striving to be better intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. What a blessing he is to our family.

Along these lines, this morning, a friend asked me about Psalm 128:5 and so I looked it up and read some commentaries about it (she just asked me whether it was in the Old Testament.)

Here is an interesting commentary I found on the Psalm, and it speaks to the living a "good" life.

From Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary:

128:1-6 The blessings of those who fear God. - Only those who are truly holy, are truly happy. In vain do we pretend to be of those that fear God, if we do not make conscience of keeping steadfastly to his ways. Blessed is every one that fears the Lord; whether he be high or low, rich or poor in the world.

If thou fear him and walk in his ways, all shall be well with thee while thou livest, better when thou diest, best of all in eternity. By the blessing of God, the godly shall get an honest livelihood. Here is a double promise; they shall have something to do, for an idle life is a miserable, uncomfortable life, and shall have health and strength, and power of mind to do it.

They shall not be forced to live upon the labours of other people. It is as much a mercy as a duty, with quietness to work and eat our own bread. They and theirs shall enjoy what they get. Such as fear the Lord and walk in his ways, are the only happy persons, whatever their station in life may be. They shall have abundant comfort in their family relations. And they shall have all the good things God has promised, and which they pray for.

A good man can have little comfort in seeing his children's children, unless he sees peace upon Israel. Every true believer rejoices in the prosperity of the church. Hereafter we shall see greater things, with the everlasting peace and rest that remain for the Israel of God.

As I read this commentary, I found two things at work in my mind. One, "happiness" does not necessarily equate to a "perfect" life by the world's measure. It is a peace that comes from knowing that you are living in a way that is good in God's eyes. It is from a peace of conscience. Oh, I believe there are material blessings that flow from this as well (and we have seen this material provision countless times in our own lives), but that's not the point really.

And two, I realized my knowledge of Jerusalem and Israel, and all that stuff, is sorely lacking and that I would like to know more, especially since it is referenced SO often in the Bible I claim to love so much.

Peace in Israel supreme above all my other wants and needs?... I don't think...no, I KNOW I have not got that priority because I simply don't know enough about Israel to even know what is going on there (sorry Dr. Cruikshanks, my International Relations professor in college). This requires some depth of study, and it is so much easier to focus on the other aspects of faith, rather than church history and support of our beliefs.

But I find myself wanting more lately, and I feel that perhaps I am being led to intellectual and scientific study of the Bible and its history, so this is a good topic of study for my next few weeks of study...

"Israel, What's the deal?"
Anyway, I realize more and more that the life I lead is FAR from perfect or "good," but I am enjoying trying to become better. Some days, I still feel like I'd really just like to settle for a materialistic surfacey life focused on being skinny and having a beautiful house, but that happens a little less these days than it used to, so I'm hopeful! :)



Mrs. Stuart said...

I like reading blogs too. I am always striving to "become". I am blessed too; I have a husband who has a desire to better himself. It's so good being married to a man who isn't complacent.

esmaa said...

What a nice blog entry for my tree photo to be used in. Best wishes in your endeavors. and thanks for the link back.