Life can be challenging. Some days will be better than others, but we all have to deal with problems, frustrations, and unwelcome surprises in our time on earth. Jesus taught us to resist worrying about the future (Matthew 6:34) because each day has enough trouble to keep us occupied!
If we are going to successfully navigate the hazards of life and live in a way that honors God and benefits others, we need some things to help us in our task. Here are four essentials for life that every person should have:
A Source of Power. Lots of things in life drain our batteries. Stress, conflict, change, frustration, work, and a hundred other things can leave us tired. The problem is that we often work so long that we tire ourselves out. In the mid-1970s, the average American worker put in 40.3 hours a week. By 1999, the time we devoted to work rose to 50.6 hours a week. Add in the fact that the typical American takes less vacation time than a Medieval peasant, and there’s no wonder why we’re tired! Here we need to carve out some time to spend in prayer and Scripture reading. In all the hustle and bustle of life, we need to take time to be still and know the Lord is God (Psalm 46:10).
A Support Group. Loneliness is a serious factor in the life of many people—and it contributes to a variety of health problems. Those who live isolated lives are more likely to die an early death, experience emotional burnout, suffer clinical depression, and require hospitalization for an emotional or mental disorder. God created us as relational beings—it’s part of us being made in his image (Genesis 1:26-27). Soon after Adam is created, God says, “It is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). There is a reason why the New Testament refers to Christians as family members (1 Timothy 5:1) and describes the church not as a group of people, but as a single body (1 Corinthians 12:12).
Principles. We need a moral foundation—a set of standards that govern how we live and behave. This is especially true given the fact that life on earth is not the only phase of human existence. There is a second stage of life that will follow our time here on earth. We need good morals to guide us in how to live a life of meaning, value, and worth, especially when it comes to having a harmonious relationship with God. The parable of the two builders (Matthew 7:24-27) should remind us of the importance of principles.
A Purpose. Everyone wants to feel like their life matters. Who wants to feel helpless, hopeless, and worthless? If we don’t have a purpose in life, things won’t make sense. We will set ourselves adrift on the sea of existence, letting everything else determine the course we take. God’s mission for mankind is to do his will (Ecclesiastes 12:13) which we understand by getting to know God and his Word (2 Peter 1:5-11).
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” With a plan that includes these four essentials, Christians will be well-equipped to handle whatever life happens to throw our way.