The desire of most people is to enjoy life. I believe that it is safe to say that, as much as possible, to drink life to the lees and live life to the fullest is our ultimate goal. All of our energies are directed to getting the most that life has to offer. The preacher in Ecclesiastes 8:15 put it this way: “So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life that God has given him under the sun.”
Jesus in John 10:10 put it this way: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.”
Now I could write a series on the ways that the “thieves” and “stealers” and “killers” and “killjoys” operate to steal and kill our joy and take the abundant life from us.
One of the saddest commentaries on life is exemplified in the lives of those who for some circumstance or other have lost their pizzazz (zest, zing, energy, quest for adventure, etc.). It is a discord in the melody of life, when someone “dies” long before the undertaker comes; dies, that is, when the pursuit of adventure is lost.
Fifty-four years in the ministry have taught me that life sometimes takes us on a scary trip. Life is like a roller coaster ride with horrifying twists and turns and alarming steeps and breathtaking drops.
Sometimes adverse circumstances can drain us of our energies and steal our will to continue our search for the good life. The valley of the shadow of gloom and despair enshrouds us in despondency and dejection and leaves us without any spirit and determination. Eliphaz the Temanite stated it to Job this way: “Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees. But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged; it strikes you and you are dismayed.” Job 4:4-5
Some of the best-selling books on the market are “how-to” books. If you want to be a best-selling author and you know how to do something that no one else knows how to do but they would like to know how to do, write a book about it and publish it and you may well become a best-selling writer.
It is the method of the Tempter to take our eyes and mind off sublime and heavenly things and direct us to worldly things that at first appear to be exciting and alluring but in the end are deceptive and destructive.
The Bible, on the other hand, is a “How-To” Book; it tells us how to be saved and to become a Christian and how to live the Christian life and be prosperous and successful and keep our pizzazz.
Although the Bible in its entirety is God’s plan book, the passage I want to use comes from Joshua 1. The Israelites, after forty years in the wilderness, were camped on the bank of the Jordan River in preparation to cross over into the land that God had promised their ancestors. The time for God’s people to move on had come. Life is not meant to stand still and stagnate. When we stop moving and seeking new adventures we lose our pizzazz.
God’s plan calls for us to “be strong and courageous…and to be careful to obey all the law (God’s plan, word)…do not turn from it to the right or to the left that you may be successful wherever you go.
“Do not let this Book of the Law (God’s plan) depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Jesus teaches us to seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all the things we need to make us prosperous and happy will be provided. However, we must keep in mind that success and prosperity by God’s standards do not always parallel worldly standards. Isaiah 55:8-9 states it thusly: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
God’s plan for success is the best. It is when we get out of God’s program that we lose our pizzazz.