August 4, 2022 | Silver Spring, Maryland, United States | Ted N.C. Wilson, President, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
Greetings, friends! Did you know the Bible contains principles on how to live the happiest and most successful life possible? From diet to decision making, from entertainment to exercise and more, God’s Word contains divine instruction for us today.
Why does God care about how we live our lives? Because He wants us to have the best life possible. Jesus said in John 10:10—”The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
Here, Jesus draws a distinction between Himself—who wants us to have an abundant life—and Satan, the thief who only seeks to steal, kill, and destroy.
So, what does this abundant life that Jesus offers look like? First is the promise of eternal life—something we can look forward to receiving when Jesus comes. But He also wants us to have an abundant life here, which is why He cares about the choices we make now.
You see friends, our relationship with God can be affected drastically by how we live our life. 1 John 2:6 says, “whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked.” So, we are called to live as Christ’s followers, not only for our own good, but also for the influence we have on others.
This involves how we act as Christians and is addressed in our Seventh-day Adventist Fundamental Belief #22, titled “Christian Behavior,” which reads:
“We are called to be a godly people who think, feel, and act in harmony with biblical principles in all aspects of personal and social life.
“For the Spirit to recreate in us the character of our Lord we involve ourselves only in those things that will produce Christlike purity, health, and joy in our lives. This means that our amusement and entertainment should meet the highest standards of Christian taste and beauty.
“While recognizing cultural differences, our dress is to be simple, modest, and neat, befitting those whose true beauty does not consist of outward adornment but in the imperishable ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit.
“It also means that because our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, we are to care for them intelligently. Along with adequate exercise and rest, we are to adopt the most healthful diet possible and abstain from the unclean foods identified in the Scriptures. Since alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and the irresponsible use of drugs and narcotics are harmful to our bodies, we are to abstain from them as well.
“Instead, we are to engage in whatever brings our thoughts and bodies into the discipline of Christ, who desires our wholesomeness, joy, and goodness.“
As Christians, we are called to be Christ’s ambassadors, living our lives in such a way that demonstrates we are connected to Him. This connection involves every part of our lives—what we eat and drink, how we dress, what entertainment we choose, caring for our bodies, and more.
As Seventh-day Adventists, it means recognizing our bodies are the temple of God. First Corinthians 6:19 says—“Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?”
This means we abstain from harmful substances, including all forms of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs. Even caffeine has been shown to be harmful and should be avoided. We aim to eat healthfully, acknowledging the ideal diet is plant-based, as was given in the Garden of Eden. Drinking plenty of water, enjoying exercise in the sunlight and fresh air, getting plenty of rest, including the weekly seventh-day Sabbath rest, and trusting in God all contribute to optimal health.
Our appearance reflects who we are, and as Christ’s ambassadors we are called to dress in a simple, yet neat, tasteful, and modest manner. Outward adornment such as jewelry is not needed, as true, God-given beauty shines from within.
What we fill our minds with and how we spend our time affects our relationship with God and others, so we carefully choose what we watch, listen to, and read. “I will set no wicked thing before my eyes,” as recorded in Psalm 101:3, is a good rule to follow, along with Philippians 4:8—“. . . whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
We do these things not to try and earn our way to heaven, for Jesus has already paid the price for our salvation. Because we love Jesus, we want to live in a way that brings honor and glory to Him and is a bright light in this world of darkness. “You are the light of the world,” said Jesus. “A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matt. 5:14).
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,” we read in Philippians 2:5. Under all circumstances, we should seek to understand and live in harmony with the will and mind of Christ.
Ellen White has noted the beautiful results of a life lived in this kind of relationship with Christ. She writes: “All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart work with Christ. And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing His service. When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience. Through an appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will become hateful to us” (The Desire of Ages, p. 668).
What a beautiful promise! If you would like to learn more about Christian Behavior and how you can have a closer relationship with God, I encourage you to visit the URL at the bottom of the screen [Insert: www.adventist.org/christian-behavior/]
Friends, I invite you to pray with me just now. Dear Lord, thank you that you can help us to live a full life, a complete life, a life of service to others. A life that is so in touch with you that the very reactions and impulses that we have will come because of this connection with heaven. So Lord blesses as we live our lives for you. And our behavior is a model of what it means to walk with Jesus every day. May we truly exemplify you in Christ name? We ask it. Amen.