Living by Degrees

Much Christian advice either instructs us to “not” do certain things such as “don’t steal” or “don’t covet (lust after something).” Other instructions tell us to practice certain things such as “taking our cross daily and following me (Christ).” Most things in our daily life (our “walk” in the Bible) though needs to be lived out by degrees.

Reading in Ecclesiastes 9 we find this section that tells us to enjoy life:

So go eat your food and enjoy it;
drink your wine and be happy,
because that is what God wants you to do.
Put on nice clothes and make yourself look good.
Enjoy life with the wife you love. Enjoy all the useless days of this useless life God has given you here on earth, because it is all you have. So enjoy the work you do here on earth. Whatever work you do, do your best, because you are going to the grave, where there is no working, no planning, no knowledge, and no wisdom. (NCV)
This part of the Bible tells us we should enjoy our life because we have only this one shot to determine our eternal rewards. We are able to enjoy life if we live it for God and keep Him in view. Notice it doesn’t say overeat or get drunk as if life is about much eating or desensitizing our mind by drugs. It speaks about a balance since later Solomon mentions one’s vocational life.
God doesn’t want us to suffer meritoriously as if this would please Him. Yes, there is a place for fasting too but it is clear God doesn’t need anything from us since He gives everything to humans:
“The God who made the whole world and everything in it is the Lord of the land and the sky. He does not live in temples built by human hands. This God is the One who gives life, breath, and everything else to people. He does not need any help from them; he has everything he needs. God began by making one person, and from him came all the different people who live everywhere in the world. God decided exactly when and where they must live. God wanted them to look for him and perhaps search all around for him and find him, though he is not far from any of us: ‘By his power we live and move and exist.’ Some of your own poets have said: ‘For we are his children.’ Since we are God’s children, you must not think that God is like something that people imagine or make from gold, silver, or rock. In the past, people did not understand God, and he ignored this. But now, God tells all people in the world to change their hearts and lives. God has set a day that he will judge all the world with fairness, by the man he chose long ago. And God has proved this to everyone by raising that man from the dead!” Acts 17:24-31 (NCV)

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Author: Alex the Less

My education: BA (Bible), M.Div, BBA (HRM). Also, I have been a professional carpenter for about 25 years. Now retired, I have more time to study the bible and write about it.

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