That’s a very “now” question, isn’t it? So you may be surprised to learn that it was asked in the Old Testament book of Psalms – we’re talking about 4000 years ago! It’s both “now” and “always” – human beings of every age want to live well.
Interestingly, the questioner doesn’t go for a lifestyle modification answer. His recommendation is not for self-sufficiency a la 1970s sit com, or increased prosperity. It’s a character deal.
So how does the Psalmist answer his question?
Do any of you want to live a life that is long and good? Then
- watch your tongue
- keep you lips from telling lies
- turn away from evil and do good
- work hard at living at peace with others
There’s a high degree of intentionality in this. A good life will not just happen, and aren’t these surprising actions that are advocated? There’s nothing about earning lots of money or being a celebrity in this “good life”. It’s nitty-gritty “inside” stuff.
I love the directness of what the Psalmist says. No – “see if you can be a little bit more transparent and honest, and, if you can, do good to others. Oh and try to get on with other people. I know that’s a tough ask because other people are so infuriating…”
It’s straight forward – Just Do It!
We will never arrive; it’s an unremitting, challenging journey and there’s enough action to keep us going throughout life, however long or short it turns out to be. But taking action on these things will lead to character change (more of that another time) and a good life for us and those we live with.