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What Does it Mean to Have a "Well-Ordered Life" According to the Bible?

It's time to get my life back in order. This is a phrase I've heard often from people of all ages and stages, and it's a phrase I've repeated many times myself. From losing weight to decluttering our homes, our attempts to bring order to the chaos is a noble endeavor. But have you ever wondered what it means to have a well-ordered life according to the Bible? Is it all about being healthy, having money in the bank, keeping a tidy home, and living happily?

As I've prayed about this topic, especially as we enter a new year, I'm convinced a well-ordered life is much more than all these things put together. Yes, the different areas of our lives need to be cared for and managed well, but there will always be something amiss without the Holy Spirit's guidance. The Scriptures point to the foundation of a well-ordered life as walking in the Spirit and remaining in step with Him. Galatians 5:25 says, "If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit." (ESV)

Could it be, the key to having a well-ordered life is less about how structured or organized we are and more about living each day in step with the Lord? If you've been thinking, It's time to get my life back in order, here's what the Bible has to say:

Apart from Jesus, We Can Do Nothing

In the words of Jesus, "Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:4-5)

We can be the most organized people on earth but miss out on the rich blessing of abiding in Jesus day after day. A well-ordered life is a life that gains every ounce of vitality from the vine - the True Vine - Jesus Christ. As we remain in Him, His life flows through us, producing fruit for His glory and the good of others. May I repeat that? As we remain in Jesus, His life flows through us, producing fruit for His glory and the good of others. Temporary goals take a back seat to this kind of well-ordered living. And the peace that comes from abiding in Christ is indescribable!

If you're familiar with Psalm 1:1-3, you know that "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers." (ESV) This imagery takes us deeper into a well-ordered life by focusing on the Word of God, abiding in the True Vine, and prospering in all things. What a comforting image to carry with us as we seek to order our lives according to the Bible.

Let's Pray

Gracious God, help us turn our focus from the temporal things to the eternal. As we seek to order our lives in every area, help us start with Your Word and commit to abiding in Your Son. For in Him, we live and move and breath. We are nothing without Him. In His holy name we pray, amen.

Here's another helpful article titled "7 Marks of the Godly from Psalm 1."

We Should Do Everything for the Glory of God

When my kids were little, and they struggled with schoolwork or had bad attitudes about chores, I used to remind them, "In all the work you are doing, work the best you can for the Lord, not man."

Often, I was speaking as much to myself as I was to them, trying to keep the perspective of glorifying God in all things. As 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

This verse keeps us from trying to order our lives according to the world's standards which might include:

  • Climbing the corporate ladder when our families need more of our time
  • Doing things to please man instead of God
  • Working hard to store up treasures on earth instead of heaven
  • Trying to fit into the world's standards of weight and beauty
  • Feeling pressured to make our homes magazine-worthy

The thing is, when we turn away from ordering our lives after the pattern of the culture and instead order our lives in honor of God's glory, we will find ourselves most content and at peace. It's been said that nothing on earth is worth sacrificing God's peace - and it's true! Paul's words to the Philippians reiterated this point when he said, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV)

A well-ordered life is grounded in the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding. It has far less to do with the world's standards and everything to do with living to glorify God.

Let's Pray

Holy God, we seek Your peace today above all else. In our attempts to order our lives, we don't want to do anything to forsake Your peace. Help us let go of anxiety and walk in the freedom You've provided. We long to live an abundant life in You. In Jesus' name, amen.

If you struggle to find peace, here's another resource titled "How to Not Be Anxious."

We Are to Live a Quiet Life of Love, Work, and Witness

1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 is rich with encouragement for a well-ordered life. It says, "We don't need to write to you about the importance of loving each other, for God himself has taught you to love one another. Indeed, you already show your love for all the believers throughout Macedonia. Even so, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you to love them even more. Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others." (NLT)

Loving others and gaining their respect through a quiet life of hard work is a sure recipe for a well-ordered life. Though not always easy, minding our own business and doing the work God has called us to do in an orderly way to live. Often, we believe we have to evangelize the world by going on foreign missions or starting a non-profit, and in some cases, God calls us to these things. However, there's something to be said for living a quiet, hard-working life committed to God. Others will take notice of a life that's lived honorably and contentedly. People will want to know how you are so peaceful in a world full of turmoil. They will see your quiet conduct and be curious about your "set apart" life. What a beautiful witness to the world!

According to the Bible, a well-ordered life is far simpler than we make it out to be. It takes the pressure off of losing weight, organizing our homes, and building wealth. Instead, it points us to the True Source of abundant living - Jesus Christ. By abiding in Him, remaining in step with His Spirit, and seeking to live a quiet life of love, work, and witness, all areas of life will come into order.

Be encouraged today. You can get your life back in order sooner than you think. And it all starts with falling in step with the Holy Spirit and remaining in Him.

Let's Pray

Heavenly Father, please help us stop running so fast and so hard to keep up with the world. We stop right now, Lord, and seek You. Pattern our footsteps to fall in line with Your Spirit, that we will walk in Your direction from this moment on. We release all pressure to live up to the world's expectations and embrace Your will for us - Your good, pleasing, and perfect will. In Jesus' holy name, amen.

More resources for your journey:

A Well-Ordered Life by Charles Spurgeon

When Life Crumbles by In Touch Ministries

What Does it Mean That 'God Is a God of Order'?

Photo credit: ©Unsplash/Pablo Merchán Montes

Jennifer WaddleJennifer Waddle is the author of several books, including Prayer WORRIER: Turning Every Worry into Powerful Prayerand is a regular contributor for LifeWay, Crosswalk, Abide, and Christians Care International. Jennifer’s online ministry is EncouragementMama.com where you can find her books and sign up for her weekly post, Discouragement Doesnt Win. She resides with her family near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains—her favorite place on earth. 

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