Devotional Readings

July 13: How Human Beings Live Well

How good and pleasant it is when brothers [human beings] live together in unity! Psalms 133:1, NIV.

Here's my take on being human and, beyond that, living well. It is the nature of being human that we make mistakes, that we occasionally offend one another, and that we sometimes fail in our efforts to live well. Genetics, temperament, environment, and habit may each play a role in our clumsy behaviors. Nothing, however, exceeds the fact that we are, first of all, human beings. Fundamentally, being human is what we're designed for. It's our generic self, much like the automobile we drive away when we pay only the base price.

For a human being to live well, however, requires something more. It implies physical, emotional, and spiritual health, none of which carries a particularly high price tag. It has to do with our desire to rise above generic living and above our ability to simply exist. It implies at least a measure of physical fitness. It involves emotionally healthy relationships, intimacy, and genuine forgiveness. It involves connecting with a God who says: "Here I am. Trust Me. We need each other. I hope you'll accept Me and let Me be a part of your life."

A wise and loving God created within us the gifts to succeed and the ability to fail. As human beings, we do plenty of both. Out of the balance of success and failure, however, we derive character, humility, integrity of mind and spirit, and we experience both joy and grief. Living well is not so much about success or achievement, nor is it about the absence of humiliation or sadness; we need all of those experiences. Living well spiritually, emotionally, and even physically is all about process. Golfers have a saying: "It's not how you drive, it's how you arrive." The process between the tee and the green is what matters.

Living well is about correcting mistakes while trying to avoid their repetition. Living well is about apologizing to those we offend while trying to avoid repeated offenses. Living well is about making choices that reduce the magnitude, frequency, and consequences of our failures.

Living well is to view, to behave, and to respect all others as we would have them view us, behave toward us, and respect us. This is the plain and simple golden rule of a human being's life well lived. It is Christ's life reflected in our lives.

Thank You, Lord, for creating us human, with all the potential of living well.

--Leonard L. Bailey


from Fit Forever: One-A-Day Devotionals for Body, Mind, and Spirit
Kay Kuzma (editor) | Review & Herald (2005)
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