Sunday, November 15, 2009
According to research studies over a 30 year period, the Japanese island of Okinawa is the best place on earth for healthy aging. This island has:
More people over 100 years old per 100,000 population than anywhere else in the world
The highest life expectancy for both males and females over 65
The lowest death rates from cancer, heart disease, and stroke
While healthy eating and exercise have contributed to their longevity, the Okinawans credit their long lives to what they call ikigai (eek-y-guy), or a “sense of purpose.” The studies showed that these islanders were generally unstressed and maintained a positive outlook on life. They demonstrated good coping skills and a deep sense of spirituality, meaning, and purpose even when circumstances were bleak.
Ikigai can be described in English as life-satisfaction or as that which makes life worth living. The French call this raison d’etre, “a reason for being.”
Aren’t these the characteristics that should describe a Christ-filled life? Aren’t we as Christians supposed to have a sense of purpose? Shouldn’t we, like the Okinawans, maintain a positive outlook even in bleak circumstances?
How can Christians fully possess ikigai? How can we live a life that is full of purpose?
I believe our purpose in life is to glorify God and to express our love for him through a joyful life.
That God in all things may be glorified. - 1 Pet. 4:11.
Worship the Father in spirit and in truth for the Father seeks such to worship Him. -John 4:23
I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. - John 15:11
To glorify God is to worship him. Campus Crusade for Christ describes expressions of worship that glorify God:
Worship through prayer
Worship through the Word
Worship through Christian love
Worship through service
Worship through evangelism
Worship through missions
Worship through music
In other words, to glorify God means to honor him through what we say, act, and think. The God of peace promises to be with us when we honor him with our words, our actions, and our thoughts. This life of peace he promises is a life of ikigai.
When we make it our passion to glorify God, we will experience ikigai. It is then that we will have the abundant life, and that’s the life worth living.