ETERNAL LIFE IS REAL LIFE!
There’s a caricature out there about the Christian view of life. It goes like this, “Christians are so heavenly minded that they are of no earthly good.” In other words, people accuse Christians of being so focused on eternal life that the issues of today become insignificant to them. Is that really true? Chuck Colson, a ruthless political operative whose later life was transformed by faith in Jesus Christ, said, “Life changes when you realize that it is eternal.” Exactly! His statement embraces the biblical call to repentance and the realization that true, meaningful, and abundant life is a gift from God beyond the ability of any human being’s works. When you realize that real life is beyond your control and, instead, trust in God’s promise of eternal life in Jesus Christ, then even death itself is but a passageway to an unending life with Him. And that’s when you begin to really live here and now as well. You might say that once you realize that your life is eternal, then living really begins! And when you have eternal life in Christ, that’s an abundant life both now and forever.
In my 33 years of ministry, I’ve been privileged to serve in some pretty special places such as New York City, Los Angeles, Tampa, and now Washington, D.C. Every place I’ve served, there were people who were busy trying to make a difference, trying to live a meaningful life. If you’d ask many of them about church or going to church or the condition of their spiritual life, they’d tell you matter-of-factly that they were too busy trying to make a difference to have idle thoughts like those. To me, it seems that such thinking has it all backwards. You need to know who you are, where you are going, and why that all matters before figuring what you need to be doing today. Knowing the end of our lives, or, better, the eternal nature of our lives, makes all the difference for how we live each and every day. Otherwise we’re like the people on an airplane who heard their pilot come on the intercom and say, “Ladies and gentlemen, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that we’re making excellent time. The bad news is that our navigational systems are malfunctioning and we have no idea where we’re going.”
In Matthew 6:33, Jesus prioritizes the eternal destination of things by saying, “ But seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” God’s eternal kingdom brings a whole different perspective on how to live abundantly right now. The worries of today and tomorrow are best handled by seeing our eternal lives in Christ’s hands, seeing the Father’s love for us in the person and work of Jesus Christ, and then boldly engaging the challenges of each day within the eternal, enduring victory of the cross and the resurrection. That’s a great way to live today, as well as toward tomorrow! The truth of our eternal life in Christ, received by grace through faith, empowers and directs our walk purposefully each and every day in ways that truly love others, both now and forever.
Eternal life is real life. That truth calls you and me today to faith in Jesus who is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Life is precious. Life is sacred. As a result, God Himself wants you to know the power of living eternal life with Him by faith right now. How do I know that God wants that for you? Just read John 3:16 again and take it to heart each and every day!
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, we clamor for so many things in this life. But we forget that life is not just here and now; it’s everlasting. Give us wisdom to focus on the reality of eternal life. Then strengthen our faith to live with that awareness here and now in all we do each and every day. AMEN.