Grand entrance to a luxury homeThe art of living is not found in living many years, in having great knowledge, or in accumulating much wealth. It is found by keeping Jesus as the center of our lives to give us forgiveness, strength, and hope.

To live well is to be optimistic. Paul writes in Phil. 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” In Psalms 23:4, we are told, “I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.” To be optimistic gives us an attraction that causes others to want to follow us. Who wants to be around a person who dwells on his troubles and is constantly negative? Why would someone want to be like us (a Christian) if we are continually unhappy?

We must also be meek and humble to live well. “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thy own eye” (Matt. 7:3). The meek and humble person is aware of his own imperfections, which makes him more tolerant of the faults of others. We should be hesitant to find fault and criticize others or to gossip and spread rumors (whether true or untrue). We should keep in mind how we would feel if we were the one being talked about.

It helps our quality of living to remember that others have a viewpoint. We should consider the views of others unless they are in opposition to the will of God. Even then, we should correct and instruct with gentleness and meekness. “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another” (Romans 14:19). We should also not be afraid to admit when we are wrong. The admission of guilt or sin is a necessary quality of Christian life. We must confess our sins both to God and to man. “Forgive our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matt. 6:12). “Confess your faults to one another, and pray for one another” (James 5:16).

Forgiveness is necessary to live well in this life. We cannot receive forgiveness unless we are willing to give it to others. Forgiveness is a matter of mercy rather than justice, and forgetfulness is one of the characteristics of true forgiveness. It has been said that forgiveness is too beautiful for ugly people and too big for little people. When we read the account of Joseph’s forgiveness of his brothers, we don’t read of Joseph saying; But I’ve been mistreated. I’ve forgiven but not forgotten. I’ll get even. I’m offended. I resent.

To live well is to live unafraid. Fear is one of our greatest adversaries, which we must overcome by faith, hope, and love. “I had fainted unless I had believed.” (Psa. 27:13). “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.” (Heb. 6:19). “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.” (1 John 4:18).