Living a Life that Becomes a Life Well-Lived

Ellen Dykas

Lately I’ve been soberly pondering how to live now, so that at the end of my life, I will have lived a well-lived life. Growing in grace while being daily confronted in my work with the devastation of sexual sin is one of the blessings of serving at a ministry like Harvest USA. Our staff and I are honored (truly!) to be invited into the pain of men, women, couples and parents who are facing the wreckage, pain and heartache of hurting Christians who, after a season of giving way to sin, are now turning back to Christ. The road is both glorious and painful as the grace and love of Jesus Christ floods into and awakens someone from the dulling and destructive impact of living in sexual sin. Emotional affairs, random sexual hook-ups, feasting on the ugly and foul “banquet table” of pornography, enslaving and obsessive co-dependent relationships and sexual-sharing with one or more persons outside of marriage; these are the things we hear of in our offices and our support groups.

It’s glorious to hear of the Lord’s rescue of women from temptation and sin, yet painful to watch/ hear/see them “waking up” and realizing, “How did I end up here? How do I get out of here… how do I change?” It’s super sobering for me and causes me to shudder every so often, knowing that this woman, or this man, or this marriage got “HERE” by taking a lot of little steps over time. All these steps are ones that we choose, even while, in the moment of struggle, we may feel that they just “happened to me.”

Gospel hope and wisdom tells us though, that a life well-lived is also the fruit of taking a lot of steps in a given direction… over and over, day by day.

Recently some sobering confessions of secret sin were shared with me just as I had finished an autobiography of Helen Roseveare, a missionary to the Congo from 1953-1973. I was also at that time beginning to read a biography of Charles Spurgeon, an amazing bible teacher, preacher and pastor from the 1800s. This woman and this man are two of my faith-heroes and their stories remind me that well-lived lives include suffering, ongoing battles against sin and lots of seemingly little steps of obedience.

I began to read and reflect upon Paul’s pastoral letters to Timothy and Titus, wondering how Paul arrived at a life-place where he could say towards the end of his life: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7).

Pretty sure that a part of the answer to this question is in knowing that a life well-lived happens as we live each day and through each circumstance like Paul did: deciding IN THIS MOMENT to fight when confronted by temptation and sin; committing TODAY to run the race and fix my eyes upon Jesus and surrendering in THIS SITUATION to trust the Lord through faith, believing that His purposes are always good for me.

What do you think? Are there heroes of the faith in your life? Who do you look up to, and what are the daily or habitual faith steps they took that bore the fruit of a life well-lived? No one walks this life of faith alone. God has given us a “cloud of witnesses” to show us how to live well.