Each of us has his own idea about what is a pleasant life, and happy are those who feel that they have it. But most people think their pleasure of living is being hindered by bad memories and regrets of the past, a feeling of inadequacy and injustice in the present and fear of the uncertainties and threats of the future. No matter how much effort is made, even seeking help from doctors, counsellors and psychiatrists, they do not find tranquillity.
The Bible tells us that the human being is composed of three parts, interconnected as long as we live here on Earth, and their order of importance is:
the spirit: the part with which man can communicate with God (Romans 8:16).
the body: that Paul calls "our earthly house" (2 Corinthians 5:1).
Due to our humanity we tend to give importance to these three parts in reverse order, putting in first place the health of the body, then the satisfaction of the senses, leaving for last the communion with God. The result is that even if the body is healthy, the soul will be dissatisfied and the spirit "dead". It is not a pleasant life.
The body is mortal and we all know that one day it will break up. Whoever seeks to look after his body only, no matter how much success he has it will be spoilt if he does not also make right his emotions, desires, affections and the inclinations of his soul. When seeking to do this, he will find an obstacle that will seem insurmountable because his spirit is "dead": he has no fellowship with God. This is the "death" of the spirit, also called "spiritual death". It is to this that the Apostle Paul refers in Ephesians 5:14: "Therefore He (the L0rd) says: "Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light"", an adaptation of Isaiah 26:19 and 60:1.
He who is wise and seeks to have a really pleasant life, should get these three parts right in the order of importance that God shows us.
The essential first step to happiness is the resurrection of the spirit that is "dead", by restoration of communion with God. It requires as if a new birth generated by the Holy Spirit of God. It is effected by converting the sinner (such are we all) to Jesus Christ, and accepting Him as his Lord and Saviour. The sinner will from then on have a new spirit, alive for all eternity, God adopts him as his son, and he is included among the "elect" of God to enjoy a series of privileges and benefits, and assume responsibilities arising from this position.
In his first letter, the Apostle Peter addressed the Jewish Christians dispersed through several Roman provinces in his time. Persecuted and mistreated wherever they went, because they were pilgrims in strange lands, Jews and above all, Christians, they might think they were the most unfortunate among men. Their life was not pleasant, but they had already taken this first step. Peter, also a Jewish Christian, persecuted and mistreated just as they were, wished them "grace and peace": "grace " is the unmerited favour that God grants and "peace" is related to the well-being and inner tranquillity (of the spirit). They are the foundation of life presented in the conclusion of this article.
The second essential step to happiness is the correction of "soul", also referred in the Bible as the "heart". Human experience may provide some lessons, but the best source of information is undeniably the word of God, "because the word of God is living and active, and choppier than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).
The Apostle Paul explains in his letter to the Colossians: "as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him" (Colossians 3:12 -17).
Paul teaches: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:5). Jesus Christ suffered and died physically for the sinner who is converted, and thus he ceases (or is released) from his sins. Nevertheless, the believer is still able to fall into sin, but he is no longer dominated by it, nor has he any more desire to sin. Nourishing in himself the love for others, the believer ceases to be incited by the ambitions of the world as he lives the rest of his time in this world, but lives to the will of God, in obedience to Him (Romans 12:1,2). It is essential to study His Word in order to know His will, so that, by allowing the spirit of God to fill him, he may live for righteousness.
Having resurrected his spirit, and exercised in the correction of his soul, the Christian has a big target in his life: to be pleasing to the Lord God. To achieve this target, he learns that he has to "present his body a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is his reasonable service" (Romans 12:1). He will take care of his body, prevent physical pollution and activities not consistent with it because it is now the temple of the Holy Spirit, and in his body he will glorify God (1 Corinthians 6:18 -20). That's why the believer departs from the vices, which dominate and sicken the body, and does not participate in violent and aggressive games and activities that can damage it.
Finally, we have the commandment "do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” (Romans 6:12, 13).
Taking all this into account, we can now reflect a little on what a "pleasant life" consists of. We assume here that we are considering a pleasant life for he who lives it, so it must be free of what displeases him and full of what he likes. Life here on Earth is of indefinite duration and no one can predict what will come to him before he dies. It remains a constant struggle to keep away from what is unpleasant and to conquer what is pleasing. Satisfaction will never be complete or lasting.
Fortunately there is another alternative: preparing for a new life with our Creator, which is offered free of charge. His promise is of an eternal life in communion with Him, in the position of adopted children. It is far beyond our imagination. As long as we live here, which is for a relatively short time, we still will be subjected to many trials and tribulations. If we walk in love, in righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit we serve Christ, and are acceptable to God and approved by men (Romans 14:15 -18). It could be a pleasant life, despite the inconveniences, but no matter what happens here we will be preparing ourselves for a much better life with the Lord Jesus. "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:19. But may it not be so, and let us trust firmly in the authority of the Word of God, which is sure to bring us an exceedingly pleasant life in due course.