Throughout the Bible God gives us many rules, commandments, and guidelines. To many, especially after comparing the life of the world, these seem very restricting. Why is it that God set all these guidelines? The easy answer is to say, so that we can be saved, or so we can get closer to God. We sometimes fail to see or admit that God tells us these things, because in doing them, we will have a better life. He loves us and wants us to find joy, peace, happiness, and has given us the answer of how to find it. For with out a doubt this is what human beings, since the beginning of time, have been seeking after; true happiness and fulfillment for our existence.
I like to use a silly example to explain how this plays out. Imagine one of those baby block toys, the ones where the triangle fits into the triangle hole, and the circle fits into the circle whole. Now we are the triangle piece, and we have gotten it into our heads that we if only we can fit into the circle hole everything we will be good. And just like a baby we start jamming, twisting, and turning that piece, to try and fit it. But no matter what we do it just doesn't seem to work. Negative consequences result in our lives when we try and fit into someplace we were not created to fit into. We become helpless, we hurt ourselves and other people, anger becomes a problem, depression could result, and at the very least we never fulfill our life's true potential and end up living in some sort of half life. God, just like a parent, is watching and shaking his head. He created us and because He created us he also know what will truly fulfill us, and bring us happiness. He has given us instructions, and continues to tell us to try it His way. He does know what is best for us, because he created us, and because He loves us. Life apart from Christ is no life at all for we are still dead in our sins. God did not send Jesus to only give us eternal life, but so that we can have the same life here on Earth as well. For as Christians we are already apart of his Kingdom.
The life he has for us is spectacular. Relationships take on a whole new level of openness and trust. We feel connected to God and others in a way that is sometimes unbelievable. The body of Christ, the church of God, is supposed to be the kingdom come. This kingdom is full of everything that is good, where relationships are real and fulfilling. No gossip, no vainness, no grudges are present. The fruits of the spirit abound and are an integral part of this perfect Kingdom. Conflicts are handled in a mature and Godly way so that the truth can be revealed in the situation. In regards to the world, life in Christ gives us freedom. Before Christ we find ourselves in bondage to the world, to expectations, to success, to our selfish desires. This abundant life, and the transformation of our souls gives us freedom from the shackles that hold us. Activities can be enjoyed for the sake of enjoyment instead using them for a means to an end. An end that is usually selfishly motivated. Conversations, and interactions with others no longer revolve around impression, or manipulation. Of course this is speaking in absolutes and the Kingdom won't be complete until Jesus comes again; but striving to bring this Kingdom is what gives us the closest to that abundant life that we can achieve. Once we become apart of the Kingdom and bringing its reign here to Earth we realize that we matter less and less. We begin to loss our worldly selves and find our true identity in Christ.
This is very hard for a lot of people to do, including myself, because the 'worldy' life seems very appealing. But it is just like the apple in the garden that Satan used to tempt Adam and Eve. This worldly life I like to compare to wonder bread. The wonder bread life is fake/processed, insubstantial, and unfulfilling. Because of the way we are created, it isn't even good for us. However wonder bread has some tantalizing aspects. It is sweet, sugary, fluffy, it goes down easily, and everybody else says it's good. The fact that it doesn't do much for us doesn't stop us from craving it or following a poor example from someone else. God's abundant life however is like home made wheat bread. It is substantial, fulfilling, full of nutrients, and it is good for us. As many of you can attest, (and just remember this isn't a perfect analogy), when one moves from the wonder bread phase to the wheat bread phase; our perception of both changes. Many may have a taste aversion to wheat bread at first, but once they realize it's benefits and choose to taste of it regularly, they realize it is just better than wonder bread. Wonder bread can even become revolting, I would choose to eat home made wheat bread any day over wonder bread.
Lets choose that wheat bread, and bring the 'bread of life' to others around us. It just isn't fulfilling to eat of the wonder bread life and the happiness that is perceived to exist in it, is temporary, unsubstantial, and unfulfilling. God offers us the life we seek and the life we intrinsically desire. Sometimes it is hard to adjust our eating habits to follow God's will, but it is well worth it.
"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned, he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live." John 5:24-25
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self control; and to self control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins." 2 Peter 1:3-9