“He who would love life and see good days…”(1 Peter 3:10). Peter gives us an invitation into higher living. Many love God but do not love life. If you’re sparked by Peter’s challenge, this blog—an excerpt from my book Victorious Mindsets—is for you. Let’s start with some lies and declarations about loving life.
COMMON LIES TO OVERCOME
God does not want me to love and enjoy life
I should not expect life to get easier
The quality of my life is not affected by the words I speak
Jesus did not come to give us an abundant life here on earth
The Christian life is meant to be boring and unattractive to others
DECLARATIONS TO STRENGTHEN THE “I LOVE LIFE” MINDSET
I am increasingly living the abundant life Jesus has given me
I love and enjoy my life
I consistently activate my child-likeness as part of my journey toward loving life
I come boldly to the throne of grace to find empowerment for victorious living
I work with God, not for God
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life…more abundantly” (John 10:10). “He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil…” (1 Peter 3:10).
Do you love life? I am not asking if you love God, but something different. Do you truly love to be alive? Peter lets us know there is a pathway to “loving life.” Jesus said He came to give not just eternal life, but an abundant one.
The Greek word for abundant in John 10:10 is “perissos” which means “superabundant (in quantity) or superior (in quality); excessive; advantage; exceedingly; very highly; and beyond measure.” If we combine any of these words with “life,” we realize we have been promised something wonderful for living now.
One main way to grow in loving life is to focus on working with God instead of for God. This perspective will help us be child-like, which will enable us to see life as full of possibilities, adventure, and opportunities (because we are friends with a good and big God). Those with a “working for God” mindset can find it difficult to live life to its fullest because their belief that God is evaluating them rather than on their side creates a fear of inadequacy and punishment.
A “working with God” mindset can be easier when we’re doing well than when we struggle, if we wrongly believe we must “get our act together” before reconnecting with God. This mistaken thinking is at the root of why many Christians don’t love life. Hebrews 4:15-16 is an antidote to this error and an igniter to loving life. “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses…Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace…and find grace to help in time of need.” Even in our weaknesses, the Father delights in giving grace (divine enablement), so we can experience abundant life. Now that is good news!
PRACTICAL WISDOM TO LOVE LIFE
Develop your wonder – Jesus told us to be converted and become like little children in Matthew 18:3. Children walk in wonder and amazement at the things adults tend to take for granted. As we cultivate a wonder mindset of excitement about God’s creation and the greatness of our salvation, we will increase our ability to truly love life.
Celebrate progress, not perfection – Those with a perfectionistic and/or religious performance-based mindset cannot love life because they think they do not deserve to be happy. This inability to be joyful or celebrate themselves limits the flow of God’s strength into their lives. Just as we celebrate a toddler for taking one step, we too must celebrate ourselves and others in walking at higher levels of living.
Eliminate word curses – Those who would love life and see good days are people who have developed self-control in what they say. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). If we regularly speak defeat, lack, and victimhood conclusions, we will experience those things. James 3:2 says if we can bridle our tongues, we can bridle our bodies. The words we speak are more powerful than we know in determining the quality of our lives.
People reading this right now are getting grace and revelation for not only how to love God, but how to love life to ever-increasing levels. This joy will be a crucial ingredient for what lies ahead.
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Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.