We live in a culture that continually tells us to pursue a higher standard of living in order to improve our quality of life. But “standard of living” and “quality of life” are not the same thing. One has to do with the stuff we accumulate. The other is about the peace we experience regardless of our circumstances.
Of course there are certainly instances when quality of life and standard of living track alongside each other. And in the case of the materially poor, helping those less fortunate to improve their standard of living – access to clean water, electricity, decent education – these things can all have a massive impact on quality of life.
However, for the majority of us reading this blog, the constant call of our culture to pursue a higher standard of living in order to improve our quality of life, can often times be the very thing undermining that quality! Because here’s the truth:
Money doesn’t raise your quality of life, financial breathing room does that.
In fact, for many of us we may need to actually lower our standard of living in order to improve our quality of life. And if you, like me, are a follower of Christ, then you simply can’t obey the teachings of Jesus without financial breathing room because he said not to worry and you’ll worry a lot if you have no financial margin. That’s why Jesus says, “Don’t let your finances be your master”.
Of course this is easier said than done, and certainly not a quick fix. As Andy Stanley says, “You can raise your standard of living with debt, but you can only raise your quality of life with discipline.”
And yet it is that discipline that will ultimately bring us margin, and with that margin, freedom and peace. And THAT is quality of life!