The Right Premise

An old saying tells us if we don’t know where we’re going, we won’t get there. It’s also true if we don’t look where we’re going, we’ll go where we look. I guess that’s why many of us see January as a good time to either make new goals or renew our commitment to accomplish goals we let slip from previous years. Goals help us know where we want to go and help us stay focused in the right direction.

We all need to set goals and stick to habits and routines that help us live good, productive lives. Otherwise we can let life distract us. This is one of the reasons people get to the end of their lives and wonder why they didn’t accomplish as much as they wanted to when they were young and idealistic.

Goals are only as good as the premise from which we operate. If someone lives from the premise that wealth is the only important objective, the steps taken to reach that goal may land him or her in jail, or stuck in a lonely, frustrating life. The right premise produces good goals and the success that leads to contentment and joy.

So what is the best premise from which to live? Opinions about this are many and varied, depending on the age, gender, culture or religion of the one you’re asking. Even Christians, who all read the same Bible, offer differing viewpoints. Some operate from the premise that the body is evil so everything they do is geared toward punishing and keeping the body in submission. Others believe in predestination, which colors how they live, either as one of the chosen, one of the damned or one who doesn’t know and can’t do anything about it, so let’s eat, drink and be merry. Some are preoccupied with bringing others to Christ and some live as monks, with any and everything in between.

The Bible does give an answer and it’s found in 1 John 4:8: God is love. This is the starting place for learning who God is. If we don’t start there, reading the Bible can be confusing and lead us down wrong paths about his nature and his intentions toward humanity. Without this basic premise about God, life doesn’t make sense. Difficult circumstances and crushing trials can turn us against him and others. If we don’t believe he loves us, what’s the point? Life can seem futile.

God is love is also the best starting point for daily life. Waking up each morning knowing we are loved and that he is always for us changes our whole outlook on what’s ahead in the day. We see everyone else as loved by God too, which changes how we treat them. With God’s love as the basic premise of life, any goal we set will be for our own good and the good of others.

Make God is love your starting point for the new year – for each new day – and watch what happens to your goals, your relationships and your life. It’s the right and best premise and the only way to live.

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