Chances are, you want “the good life.” And even if you’re not quite sure how to define the good life, you know you’d like to experience it. After all, who wants to live “the bad life”?
Google “the good life.” There we’re told, “Make lots of money, spend it on yourself, and you’ll be happy. Then you’ll be living the good life!”
That’s a lie. Yes, we all need food, clothes, and shelter. But once our basic needs are met, money often stops helping us and starts hurting us.
Throughout His ministry, Jesus told us that parting with money to help others actually brings us more joy than holding on to it for ourselves.
In other words, generosity is the good life.
Deep down, we all know we can spend every last cent on ourselves and still end up miserable. What Jesus calls us to do is far more radical and satisfying: love others by giving away our money and time. That sounds like loss, not gain, right? Yet in God’s economy, that’s exactly how we expand and enhance our own lives.
The Bible shows that anything we put in God’s hands is an investment in eternity. That doesn’t just mean that our giving will bring us good someday in Heaven. It will also bring us good here and now—while it does good for others. That’s why the good life is inseparable from generosity.
Living the good life is far better than you could ever imagine. And because of Jesus, it’s absolutely possible for you—regardless of your income—to experience it.
Where Does the Good Life Begin?
To understand what constitutes the good life, we need to grasp where life comes from and where it’s going.
God is the eternal source of life. He gave human beings “the breath of life” (Genesis 2:7), and He designed the first people to experience communion with Himself, the living God. He walked with Adam and Eve as they enjoyed a life-giving and delightful relationship. Then they sinned, disobeying God’s one simple rule (Genesis 3:8). While Adam and Eve’s physical death came gradually, the end of their life-giving spiritual relationship with God was immediate.
Jesus died, then rose from the grave, ensuring the ultimate death of sin and the defeat of death itself. His resurrection gives us life (Romans 4:25). In fact, His resurrection is the basis for God moving us from death to life (1 Corinthians 15:17).
Jesus calls Himself life in these four passages:
the bread of life (John 6:48)
the light of life (John 8:12)
the resurrection and the life (John 11:25)
the way, and the truth, and the life (John 14:6)
Jesus is not just a signpost or a compass to life; He is life. He’s not merely a map leading to water or an X that marks the spot where treasure is buried. Rather, He is the wellspring. He is the treasure.
The first step to finding life is clear: we need to place our lives in Jesus’ hands. That’s where eternal life—the ultimate good life—begins.
Once We Become Jesus‑Followers, How Do We Experience Abundant Life?
Attempting to experience the abundant life Jesus spoke of while burying ourselves in material abundance isn’t just difficult; it’s impossible. While possessions may be neutral or even fun, it’s too easy to end up trusting our stuff instead of our Savior and suffocating under the accumulation.
If abundant stuff equaled the abundant life, wealthy unbelievers wouldn’t need Jesus. Materialism puts makeup on the corpse, but it’s still dead. Jesus redirects us from death disguised as life to true abundant life. He says He came into the world to give us “a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10, nlt) or “life to the full, till it overflows” (amp).
“Give, and it will be given to you,” Jesus said. “A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap” (Luke 6:38, niv). The more we give in Christ’s name, the more His life flows into us. And the more life flows into us, the more that life flows out to others.
When will we take hold of that abundant life? Not after we die, but after we give! In fact, after each gift. While the treasures Jesus and Paul spoke of (Matthew 6:19-21, Philippians 3:7-11, Colossians 3:1-2) await us in Heaven, attaining the true life happens here and now.
Our investments that result in treasures in Heaven have an expressly stated purpose: “so that” we can take hold of Jesus’ gift of abundant life. Of course, that’s not the only purpose. We give because we love God and people. But 1 Timothy 6:19 also tells us to grab hold of the good life here and now. We don’t need to wonder how to do this. God directly tells us it’s by generous giving.
By giving generously of our money and possessions, we’re able to open our hands to receive the abundant life God has for us.
How Can Giving Become an Adventure?
While it’s wise to do most of our giving in a thoughtful, planned way, there’s certainly a place for spontaneous giving. But even unanticipated giving is not ultimately random if you believe in a sovereign God.
One afternoon, I left my credit card with the cashier while I ate pizza and told her to use it for whoever came in next. As I saw the stranger smile, this thought came to me: God has me here today, not for a random act of kindness, but to fulfill His ancient plan and purpose. He prepared in advance for me to buy lunch for this man at this place and time.
Okay, you might be thinking, I understand that giving to others can bring happiness and even a wonderful sense of adventure to my life. But is there really any benefit beyond that initial good feeling I get when I help someone?
Your role in God’s Kingdom is not only as a son or daughter of the King but also as an investor, an asset manager, and an eternal beneficiary. Your reward may include the privilege of being a ruler in that Kingdom—a king or queen serving under the King of kings (Daniel 7:18, 27; Luke 19:17).
Who would dare to think such a thing possible—that we creatures of dust can make choices in this life that result in eternal gain? Jesus said it: when we give to eternal causes the treasures we would otherwise lose, the heavenly treasures we gain will remain ours forever!
What Are You Waiting For?
“Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
We simply cannot say yes to God’s promises of overflowing abundant life without simultaneously and consciously saying no to the false claims of the one whom Jesus called “a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). Giving helps us do exactly that.
Since Satan is a chronic liar and is bent on robbing us of the good life in Jesus, it’s likely that the moment you leave this page, you’ll be tempted to forget how God might have prompted you to respond. Jesus tells us to be generous and eager to share right now, in the present. If you wait until you have no doubts or worries, you’ll probably never take that next step. But if you do take that step by faith, you will find it exhilarating. Ultimately, giving is the healthiest and most joy-saturated addiction you’ll ever experience.
Don’t let the devil whisper rationalizations to keep you from a transformed life. Don’t let him convince you that it’s better to hold tight to what you have. And don’t let him tempt you to think, Sure, someday when I make a lot more money, then I’ll start giving. If you buy into that, it will simply never happen.
While our adversary argues that giving will rob us of the good life, Jesus tells us the truth: giving generates the good life. Now the only question is, whom will we believe?
Jesus makes it clear that the abundant life consists not in material abundance but in the life-giving spiritual abundance found only in Him. Eternal and abundant life begins in this world when we come to Jesus, the ultimate giver, and continues as we become more like Him.
I assure you that once you experience the good life, the abundant life, the generous life, you will never want to settle for less. Life will never be the same—nor will you want it to be!