How do I remember eternity, when I’m stuck in the ordinary and consumed with the daily tasks and to-do lists?
The big thoughts of scripture are easy to see when we read the Bible. We even feel a stir of hope in our hearts when we hear them preached on Sundays. How do we live, though in the middle of our present with a view of something we’ve never seen?
I’ve always admired that passage in Hebrews which talks about the patriarchs and heros of our faith which lived with eternity in their hearts.
What does that mean, though for me? As a mom of four who homeschools, drives my children to soccer and gymnastics, and looks forward to a good cup of coffee every morning? I make to-do lists, set my alarm, fold laundry, wipe tables, empty the dishwasher, and try to be a good mom. How do I live with the idea of forever and ever and ever?
In 2 Corinthians Paul addresses this very thought. In this letter to a church who was very concerned about the temporary Paul made clear our hope, courage, and faith were found in eternity not the temporary. He urges the believers to not let these “light momentary afflictions” burden them. I think if we had been believers at that time we might not have liked that phrase.
Even today our affliction seems anything but “light” or “momentary” – it seems hard and like it will last forever. But Paul said in light of eternity, it is nothing. Eternity gives us endurance. We can withstand the trials when we turn our thoughts and allow our hearts to dwell on what is waiting for us beyond the grave. The hope of heaven and the presence of our Savior all but allows us to endure.
Courage is also something eternity gives us. We can be bold and brave to stand up, even when it might mean our very death because God is building for us a home which will last forever. I think maybe Paul is referring to our heavenly body waiting for us after we die. Our temporary life might be swallowed up in pain, suffering, and misery, but God has a better plan for us, as we walk by faith. Eternity allows us to be brave.
So how do we live, practically speaking, in light of eternity?
1. We walk in the new man. We do not live for the temporary pleasures of sin. We continue to grow and be more like Christ. One day at a time. It means I make time to read Scripture every morning before I start my day. It means I do a Bible study to learn how to grow and change in my Christian walk.
2. We will also give. Paul talks about giving in 2 Corinthians 8 and says “for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.” Paul is telling the church that another church was so poor, and afflicted so much, they gave. They gave their money and found JOY. You may not feel like you have much money to give, but have you really looked? I know I always have room in my budget to be giving more. We will live in light of eternity if we give generously, and out of our own poverty. Knowing all of our money will not follow us into the next life, why not spend it on the spreading of the gospel? Why not support God’s work in the church with our money? Maybe you can skip an indulgence to give. Maybe it means go without a new outfit or new shoes. Living in light of entirety brings a joy of generosity!
3. We accept, embrace, and glory in our weaknesses. Ok. This one hit hard for me. You see, I like to accomplish things. I like to say: I did that! I don’t like weaknesses. I don’t like my own inadaquices. But Paul was not ashamed of where he fell short. Paul only said: glory in these things. In light of eternity, weakness is the best thing you can own. Why?
God is found in our weaknesses. Not because He is weak, but because He is strong. He is able to fill a void when we acknowledge the void. He is able to soothe a sorrow when we decide to admit we are in pain. God’s grace is always going to be sufficient. It is always going to be enough. Just as coffee is available for me everyday, God’s grace is available and willing to meet me here. Mom guilt is real in my life, and I do struggle, but when I admit to myself (and to God) of areas where I fall short, God meets me there and is willing to show me He can be the one to lift me up.
The power of Christ is so much more, and if we are to remember these in light of eternity, how much better we will be! We will have courage, a deeper faith, and endurance living in eternity. Which of the practical steps can you take today? Can you start growing to be more like Christ? Is the Lord pricking your heart to give more? Do you need to accept your weaknesses and rest on the power of Christ?
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” 2 Corinthians 4:17
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