I have been a follower of Yeshua since April of 1960, 60 years. I have also kept up with some who were in High School and those who were in my Church Youth Group. For two years in my last two years of high school, I served as the Vice President of the high school group. The four officers were given a lot of responsibility to develop and implement the program with the supervision of the Youth Director. Some of the youth from that era have left the faith but most have remained committed. In my secular High School, most of those I knew did not follow Yeshua, but then some of them, in their adult years, came to Yeshua. Then there were the college and graduate school years and 48 years in pastoral ministry, 28 years as a congregational leader, and then also as an overseer of congregations for a partially overlapping 42 years now. I have come to a conclusion about life.
My basic conclusion is that those who live as radically sold out to Yeshua live a much more successful and fulfilled life than those who do not. I am not speaking about merely nominal believers, even those that attend congregational services. I am not speaking about every individual. I am speaking about what I have observed in the lives of people over the last 50 years. Of course, there are agnostics and atheists who live in loyalty and fidelity and have been relationally successful. Their success might be better than nominal believers. However, the percentages of successful living, in my experience, is greatly in favor of those who have given their whole lives to God and are committed to obedience to His commandment through the power of the Spirit at work in them.
I will just give one example but can give many. One is the issue of lasting marriage and the problem of divorce. There are several surveys that say the divorce rate among believers in Yeshua is the same or worse than the world. Maybe so. However, the divorce rate in our congregations that I oversee is minuscule. It is due to the radical commitment that has been embraced by the members. What happens where there is such a radical commitment? The focus is on pleasing the Lord, not the self, and not on fulfillment in this life. When that is solidly established, then the parties in the marriage grow more and more into His likeness. They thus learn patience, forgiveness, mutual servanthood, compassion, empathy and so much more. The fruit of the Spirit is more and more evident. The parties to the marriage grow more and more into the likeness of Yeshua. If both marriage partners grow more and more into the likeness of Yeshua, they will have His view of the other and His love for their partners. Two people who are becoming more like Yeshua will love each other more and more. This also includes accessing the promises of God to enable fidelity. The Bible calls this to “reign in life” in Yeshua. Life is better in the Kingdom and in community with radically committed fellow followers of the King. The key is to access his presence and power to live in his ways.