The term Quality of Life is not precisely defined. People define it various ways in various contexts. It is largely subjective in nature and largely depends on the values of the person or group. For our purposes here, it is defined as the general well being, comfort and happiness of a person or group. It includes, but is not limited to, spiritual, mental/psychological, emotional, physical, medical, family, social, educational, financial/economic, and political health elements. It differs from standard of living such that standard of living has more to do with the level/amount of income/money available. A person can have a high quality of life with low income. A person can have a high income but have a low quality of life. Thus, the availability of income may affect one’s quality of life but it is not the determining factor.
The following are some, but not all, considerations to maximize opportunity for high quality of life. Of course, the timeline for such considerations will be different for different people. Also, these are not necessarily listed in priority order although some intuitively should have priority over others. For example, recognizing God should be first and foremost. Some are best pursued concurrently rather than sequentially. Also, every rule has an exception; for example some school drop outs do well and some people who never marry do well. But in general, the below considerations are wise for most people. Some of the principles you may have already violated; if so, commit to them now forward. No matter your age, start now! No matter what the past has brought and the future brings, trust in the love and grace of God and commit more so to him as you move forward.
- Recognize God (Father, Son Jesus, Holy Spirit).
- Recognize Jesus came to bring life and life more abundantly.
- Recognize Jesus gave his life for human sins; his death, burial, and resurrection gives us hope for resurrection unto eternal life in Heaven. Yet, also recognize Jesus warns of the existence of Hell.
- Promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ as God’s chosen method to reconcile us to himself and grant eternal life.
- Be steadfast in seeking God, his righteousness, his Kingdom, and his truth. Be not only a hearer and speaker of God’s Word but also a practitioner of the Word of God (Matthew 22:34-40; Matthew 28:18-20; John 8:31-32; James 1:22-25). And remember Jesus began preaching saying repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 4:17).
- Remember, Peter still went through a learning process even after the day of Pentecost (Galatians 2:11, Acts 10).
- All of us regardless of ministry level are to be humble lifelong learners. Let’s be patient with each other.
- Get in and stay active in Jesus church (universal, regional, local) including lifelong regular public assembly with other Christians (disciples of Jesus Christ). Remember the perfect sinless Jesus yet assembled with imperfect folks; as he did so are we imperfect sinful folks expected to assemble with other imperfect sinful folks for God’s glory and our/their betterment.
- With love, equitably receive all Jesus disciples and all who seek to be so, regardless of race, color of skin, ethnicity, nationality, gender, wealth, education, etc (Acts 10:28, 35; James 2:1-4, 5-9, 26).
- The place where the local church meets is not of paramount importance.
- The name, labels, preferred terminology, and other human preferences (not mandated by God) of the church or group or denomination is not of paramount importance. For example, the Bible in Acts 11:26 refers to the disciples as Christians. Some may not prefer to use that biblically sound label while others do; some may prefer other labels to identify themselves.
- What is important is that all believers, local churches, denominations, or other groups have the biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ as their foundation and core as they seek and promote biblically sound doctrine and to live a life that pleases and glorifies God!
- Be mindful there is no perfect local church or denomination or other group for each is filled with imperfect people like you and I at varying levels of spiritual maturity.
- Wisely give of your time, talent, and treasure being mindful to properly balance church obligations with immediate household and other obligations.
- Be mindful that the church’s primary focus is the soul with temporal matters secondary.
- Pursue biblical spiritual/moral excellence and maturity. As the scripture says all are without excuse. This is especially true given the numerous churches available in most if not all cities in America and given the preaching/teaching available on the Internet, television, radio, print, etc.
- Optimize life by maximizing and leveraging opportunity and personal responsibility. Once you become an adult, quality of life is primarily a function of you and God. Life is too complex for your extended family, organized church, nonprofits, schools, governments and similar institutions to ensure a high quality life. Such institutions can provide a foundation on which you build; and, they can help temporarily provide some of the basic necessities such as food in times of personal famine. However, such institutions do not exist to ensure you have a high quality of life. That is your personal responsibility in living a life that glorifies God.
- Leverage childhood church and childhood academic schools to build a solid lifelong foundation generally free of charge to you and your family. If you are a parent, plan for and help your children to do this. It is your parental obligation.
- Obtain/maintain available employment either as an employee or business owner unless other sufficient assets/resources are available. If financial poverty is an issue for you consider having combined family wages above the prevailing poverty level. Do so with spiritual and ethnical integrity; trust in God no matter your economic status. A snapshot of 2015 poverty level amounts based on family size is given below. These figures are what the government uses to determine eligibility for food stamps and poverty assistance programs. These amounts most likely will not move a person out of poverty. Latest complete chart for 2015 is available at http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/15poverty.cfm
1 Person – $11,770
2 Persons – $15, 930
3 Persons – $20,090
4 Persons – $24, 250
- Obtain/maintain biblical healthy hairstyle, modest wardrobe, and sufficient transportation.
- Obtain early biblical marriage with a compatible mate to avoid fornication (1 Corinthians 7:1-3) unless you have the rare calling and gift of singleness (Matthew 19:10-12); divorce only as a last resort and under biblical principles. If marriage brings a blended family treat step-children as you lovingly treat your own; respect and work with the external parent. God ordained the male husband to be the household head with female wife having a supporting role; no one is to be verbally or physically abusive to anyone in the household.
- Only within a biblical marriage, have sex and have children early; fulfill parental obligations to underage children. Wean adult children and do not interfere in their life and household including regarding their children without their permission; certain not speculative physical danger is an exception but examine carefully.
- Give priority to spouse/children over all other persons and things, e.g., career, job, friends, organized church but not God.
- Obtain education: Reasonable minimum of Associate Degree; Preferred minimum of Bachelors Degree
- Establish sustained retirement, emergency, and other savings accounts.
- Purchase and maintain/improve a home early; minimize renting living quarters.
- Establish a sustainable investment portfolio.
- Strive to be a wise and careful lender rather than a long term indebted borrower; credit cards have value but also a trapped door to a pit from which it is hard to climb.
- Avoid abuse of legal drugs and use of illegal drugs–this includes improper use of alcohol.
- Avoid obtaining a criminal record–yet be mindful that non-violent protest against injustice and unrighteousness is proper as in the case of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.
- Be friendly where possible. But for those who strongly show themselves unfriendly without clear and compelling repentance, love them as an enemy.
- Maintain and protect personal health/hygiene, giving special attention to the following which the labors/activities of life may lead you to neglect:
- Don’t allow others or concern for others to degrade or otherwise spoil your success/achievements–not even excessive concern for family members and close friends.
- Don’t be a parasite or leech sucking the lifeblood out of family, friends, nonprofits, churches, governments, and other charitable institutions/programs when you are able to work.
- Be mindful that poverty is not necessarily bad and that its definition is relative. For some callings of God, temporary or permanent poverty on earth may be a necessary characteristic.
- For an associated discussion of political socio-economic classes and related data see below links. The referenced data should not be viewed as necessarily absolutely correct and precise but rather as useful to give you a general idea of where you may stand in relationship to the rest of society.
To God Be the Glory!