As I mentioned in my previous blog post on hope, we are suffering from an over-emphasis in having an earthly mindset verse eternal mindset. This is a major problem not only in society at large but in the church as well. We know that unbelievers live by the motto “Eat, drink for tomorrow we die” (1 Corinthians 15:32), but Christians should not!
2 Corinthians 5:7-10 says: “We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
I fear too many of us are living more consistently however by the exact opposite of this. We live by what we see and what we feel and can experience now, not faith. We are not living in confident faith but wavering faith. We would prefer to live longer not leave our body and this earth and be with the Lord in heaven (our true home). We live to please ourselves not God. And judging by the way we often live we don’t seem to really believe that we will one day stand before the judgment seat of Christ to receive whatever reward is due us.
I am not trying to be negative I am simply stating a weakness that we need built up in and encouraged more in. We need more preachers to preach on eternal realities. We need more believers spending more time thinking about and studying and living in light of eternity. We need more believers having the heart cry of Psalm 90:12 “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
Because of our weak (or lacking) view of eternity and emphasize on “having our best life now” we suffer from a weak (and often wrong) view of suffering.
How many of us live in the reality that Paul spoke of in Romans 5:3-4: “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
Or how about 2 Corinthians 4:16-18: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Focusing on eternity and eternal truths (and eternal reward!) actually will (or would) motivate us and inspire us to live more fully on earth (though not in accumulating more possessions but in being more of a servant, making more sacrifices and being more selfless and giving).
Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Focusing more on eternity and eternal rewards and the reality of our citizenship being in heaven (Philippians 3:20) would actually make us better citizens and stewards here on earth.
Focusing on eternity and eternal truths (like the truth that one day Christ will return and we will all give an account of our lives to God) would motivate us to live a more responsible, productive, faithful and loving life.
Jesus said in Matthew 24:45-51 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Focusing on eternity gives us a proper perspective of our brief time on earth.
Can you not see that this is what is lacking and what is needed to be taught not only more in our churches but especially to a generation/youth that are bored, pleasure-obsessed and earthly minded?
I encourage you to spend more time reading, meditating on and studying portions of Scripture or books of the Bible that speak to eternal truths. You may find a series I did on the book of Revelation helpful by visiting our church website at www.theallenwoodchurch.org/messages and on the right hand side finding that series and listening to it. At the time of writing this blog we are also in the process of going through the book of Ecclesiastes and those messages will likewise be posted online, which will be another good resource along these lines. Finally, later this year, after the Ecclesiastes series, I plan on taking our church through the book of Daniel. That as well is another book and study that will be beneficial for us at this time, along these lines.
May God wake us up to eternal truths and help us live in light of them!
Hebrews 11:13-16 “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country — a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”