Living authentically: A framework for your life
Jan 12, 2022
The New Year is a time for new beginnings. But those new beginnings will come to naught if we're not going in the right direction. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said, “If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.”
Commencing this week and continuing throughout the month of January, I want to help set you in the right direction for your new beginnings. That way, not only will you be going in the right direction, but you'll have a very sturdy railway car to travel in. The weekly topics we'll cover are: living authentically, getting your mind right, and pursuing your calling.
This week we'll take a look at how to live authentically in an inauthentic age.
Frameworks for your life
To live authentically, you first have to have the proper perspective of your life. In other words, the proper framework for life.
Your framework for life
To start out, please finish this sentence for me with the first thing that comes to mind:
So how did you answer that question? Did you respond something like: “Life is what you make it”, or “Life is a bowl of cherries”, or “Life is beautiful” or even “Life sucks.”? (C’mon now, you can be honest.)
Do you think that how you answered that question – your framework for life—affects how you:
Look at life?
See yourself, your identity?
See yourself in it, your purpose?
Engage the world, your mission?
Let me illustrate with an example.
“Life is a party”
To help you think this through further, let’s take the example: “Life is a party.”
If this was my life framework, I would:
- Look at life like a party
- See myself, see my identity as a partygoer
- Believe my purpose as having the best time possible
- Make it my mission to have as much fun in life as possible
So the first point I want to make is:
Your framework for life affects how you view life and also how you view your identity, your purpose, and your mission, all to varying degrees.
One reason we live in an inauthentic age is that people are not living within their frameworks for life, they are not being true to their identities, purpose, and mission.
But that is only a part of the story. Just as a building needs a strong and true framework to stand up against all manner of weather, so, too, do we need a strong and true framework for life to stand up against all manner of trials. This is truly living authentically.
The importance of having the right framework
Let’s continue with our “Life is a party” example.
Do you think that having a framework like “life is a party” could:
- Keep you going when life doesn’t make sense or when bad things happen?
- Be deeply satisfying, over time?
When our framework for life rests solely on our own opinion, within our own limited viewpoint, and takes no account for the realities and complexities of life, then we are ill-equipped to meet them.
God's framework for life
Therefore, to confidently know who you are, why you are here, and how to live meaningfully in a way that will be deeply satisfying, will provide a strong foundation for you when life gets tough, and will stand the test of time, we need to have more than a personal opinion about life; we need a solid framework. And that solid framework is God’s perspective as revealed through His Word, Scripture. That is the true framework for life, the basis for Christian living.
So what is God's framework for life?
Throughout Scripture, we can discern 3 themes:
- Life is a test
- A trust
- Is temporary.
Example: Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac (Genesis 22:1-19)
Test: All throughout his life but most starkly here, God was testing Abraham. He was testing him to see how strong was his faith, and was he willing to give up everything – including the most precious gift he was given, a son—to follow God? And the answer to Abraham’s test was a resounding “Yes!”
Takeaway: By God using circumstances like this in Abraham’s life, God shaped Abraham’s character into one of deep faith in God. Faith in God alone was a strong part of the framework for Abraham’s life and for our lives.
Trust: But Abraham’s test was also one about trust. In what did Abraham trust? In his son or in God. Once again, Abraham demonstrated his trust in God above all.
Takeaway: Faith and trust go hand in hand. You have to have faith—believing—that God will come through. And then you have to put that faith into action by actually trusting—relying upon, depending upon—that God will come through, even when it doesn’t make sense. By doing this, you are framing your life with supports that will withstand anything you experience in life.
Is temporary: Even though Isaac represented to Abraham not only the long-awaited son and the joy of any father’s life, but Isaac was also the son of promise, God’s promise, to Abraham. So much was entwined and embedded within this special child and his special relationship. Yet through Abraham’s simple act of obedience, the willingness and the readiness to sacrifice Isaac, Abraham demonstrated that even something most precious to him was temporary—Isaac really didn’t belong to him, Isaac belonged to God.
Takeaway: Living life as though things in this life—human relationships, careers, homes, the civil society, even—will remain forever is setting yourself up for deep disappointment, disillusion, despair, even hopelessness. But living your life as though everything—and it is—is on loan to you by God, to be enjoyed, cared for, etc., but to be treated as temporary—gives you great stability in life.
So as you prepare yourself for next week, think about God’s framework for life: It is a test, it is a trust, and it is temporary. Then apply that to your own life.
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Copyright 2021. Sandra A. Eggers. Sharing is encouraged; however, please give credit where credit is due. Thank you.