By Ron Bartanen
Are you an artist? Usually we think of art in terms of categories such as visual (painting, sculpturing, etc.) and musical. However, the word “art” is defined first as: “a skill acquired by experience, study, or observation (the art of making friends)” (Merriam Webster’s Deluxe Dictionary). All forms of art have an innate, God-given base, but must be developed. Life itself is a precious gift from God, but the fulfillment of life into the purpose for which God granted life is in our hands. To illustrate: it is sometimes said of a painter or musician, “He was born with that talent,” yet unless the talent is put to use in a meaningful way, it will be wasted. Likewise, we may think of life itself as an art. We have all received it, but how we use it will be a deciding factor in its outcome.
The art of living must begin with recognition that life is a precious gift from God. The tragedy is that few recognize the value and purpose of their lives, and, as a consequence, find their lives inadequate and unfulfilled. God, who has created us, has provided in His word, the Bible, sufficient direction for attaining that fulfillment of life which all crave. The status of life is not to be found in comfortable living conditions, or in material wealth. The Bible offers a more satisfactory answer.
It is impossible to single out one single scripture that would fully provide this instruction. However, the admonitions of Philippians 4:1, 4-9 would be a choice selection. Pick up your Bible and read the characteristics that will help make your life an adequate, fulfilled life. We might summarize it by saying that in Christ there is to be found adequate love, joy, gentleness, security, inspiration and peace.
Many have mastered the art of existing, but few the art of truly living. The art of living may well be the most seldom learned of all the arts. It doesn’t come naturally. It begins when one is “born again (from above)…of water and the Spirit” (John 3:3, 5) in a commitment of life to God. That’s the beginning point. Continued adherence to Christ and His word will then make you a master of the art of living. Jesus indicated as much when He declared, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
- Ronald Bartanen preaches for Arthur Church of Christ, Arthur, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://arthurcoc.com/