Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. 1Peter1:3-9 (NAS)
Already so early in the New Year, I have heard some things that prompted me to think about things outside of the natural world that we as believers are a part of.
Considering just two recent examples of what people are talking about (although seemingly insignificant) portray how people hold on to ‘things’ in this world that have no bearing on eternal matters when it comes down to the crunch. Even the smallest of things show how easily we can be trapped by the stuff of this world.
It amazed me, recently, that an individual who is hospitalized with an ongoing issue for a few years now (that of a failing heart, and possibly close to death) wants to hear nothing about God’s ability to touch his life for the better, nor to restore his health and lengthen his days on earth. Instead, the main concern at the forefront of his mind is whether a few minor renovations to be done in his apartment are in process, and how important it was to him to have these completed right away. No concept of eternal values here, given his situation.
The second instance is of someone close to my family who is deteriorating from years of fighting cancer. Having tried everything to get well, including some New Age methods of healing, except for coming to the one true God who has actually purchased and provided the possibility for healing. This person, only days away from death, could long for nothing more than ‘just let me go one more time to my cottage up north, and be close to nature’. In her lifetime, she had spend many wonderful days there, close to nature – yet never came to a place of acknowledging God, though He made Himself known and clearly understood in all creation. (See Romans 1:19-20)
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3 (NAS)
Things and possessions – earthly treasures, generally speaking – have the power to shackle us to the present world we live in, with the thoughts and desires so wrapped around these so that the mind and heart cannot see past this visible world. It suffices to say that we need to be attached to stable foundations [not made by hands] whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:14-16 ) and an eternal substance that can be counted on, namely Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today and forever. (See Hebrews 13:8)
Apparently, a life that does not have an active relationship with God Himself, sees God only as some far-off, unreal, unattainable theory.
Our own limited visions and ambitions allow us to build either small or large subjective kingdoms that we cling to. They cannot become the ‘be all and end all’. Our work is to continue to develop the more permanent spiritual structure that God has intended and purposed for us. Man’s heart will always cling to whatever it has made its treasure.
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 neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21 (NAS)
It’s good for believers to do a reality check once in a while to reaffirm who we are, where we are going, what purpose we are here for, and how we are to live our lives to remain free from the chains that once entangled us.
It would be great to see this year be one in which we each individually bring many into a place of being made free from the chains and shackles that keep people from stepping into eternal things, and into an active relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ and all the benefits that come attached to Him.