The Better Life

We often hear about the pursuit of the good life. Our culture promotes a variety of definitions that can shape our pursuits. Much of them have to do with the acquisition of wealth and the possessions, experiences, and status it can bring.

But God doesn’t do economics the way the world does. In fact quite often our up is His down and what we esteem He despises (see Luke 16:15).

The ofttimes contrast between what human wisdom esteems as the good life and what God esteems surfaces plainly in the book of Proverbs. For example, consider Proverbs 16:19.

It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.

That’s not your conventional wisdom. In God’s economy poverty plus humility counts for way more than plunder plus pride.

Why is this so? First, because humility draws the gaze of God (Isaiah 66:1-2). Second, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5). The last thing I want is for the God of the universe to regard me as His opponent; the first thing I want is for Him to look favorably upon me.

Matthew Henry made this comment on the verse:

It is upon all accounts better to take our lot with those whose condition is low, and their minds brought to it, than to covet and aim to make a figure and a bustle in the world. Humility, though it should expose us to contempt in the world, yet while it recommends us to the favour of God, qualifies us for his gracious visits, prepares us for his glory, secures us from many temptations, and preserves the quiet and repose of our own souls, is much better than that high-spiritedness which, though it carry away the honour and wealth of the world, makes God a man’s enemy and the devil his master.

Do you aspire for the good life, the better life? Take your cue from the wisdom of Proverbs and draw the gaze of God in favor, far better than any spoils this world has to offer divided with the proud.

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