If you were advising a teenager or a young adult on how to live a happy and meaningful life, what advice would you give? You might point to the people we often look to as models of success, to celebrities and athletes and CEOs. In that case, you would advise this young person to take very good care of his body and his physical appearance, to establish connections that will enable him to advance in his chosen career field, and to work very, very hard, to be ruthless in promoting himself at the expense of all others, always with an eye to reach the top. But of course, when you look closely at the lives of these so-called successful people, very few of them seem to be happy. So you might tell this young person to find something he really loves doing and do that work to the best of his ability. That seems like good advice, but it doesn’t say anything about relationships with people. So you might then tell your young protégé to make sure he marries the right person, or if he chooses to remain single, to invest in one or two very fulfilling friendships. But I can tell you by experience, as someone who definitely married the right person, no man or woman can bear the burden of making you completely happy. That is far too much to expect from any human relationship. Just to be clear: Attaining success, loving your work, and having a happy marriage are all good things, but they are not enough…even if you have all three.
If you really want to give your young friend good advice, you will tell him that the most important thing about him is that he was created for a relationship with God. In order to know God and experience God’s plan for his life, he has to trust God, answer His call and obey Him. That takes faith. We’ve been talking about faith this month. We started by looking at the journey of faith, how life consists of a series of turning points where we either trust God enough to obey or we do things our own way. We then talked about the call of faith, and how God occasionally calls us to make big changes in our lives, and if we disobey Him, we get out of fellowship with Him. But there are people who believe that faith is something you either have or you don’t; it’s like being tall. This Sunday, we'll talk about where faith really comes from. If the key to living a meaningful life is to know God and follow His plan, how can we have that kind of faith?We’re going to look Sunday at one of the most inspirational passages in the Bible: Hebrews 12:1-3. In the movies, whenever a commander sends his warriors out to battle, or a coach gets his players ready for the big game, there’s always a big, stirring speech. These three verses trump them all. And they show us how to gain the kind of faith that leads to the life God planned for us.