L.I.F.E. – – – – Live Intently For Eternity
“What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes…If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is a sin for them.”
-James 4:14b; 17 NIV
Let’s face it, our life is short. As James says, we are a mist, here today and gone tomorrow. We do not know exactly how much time God will give us on this earth, so we need to make the most of every opportunity. But what’s the point? If our life really is so short, in the large scheme of things, why does it matter what I do? Will anyone really notices, and if they do, does it even matter? These are some questions that come to mind when we are reminded of the shortness of life. James’ point was not to depress us to think we have no time to accomplish anything nor enjoy anything important. He intended the opposite, that we would search for the good and do it while we can; that we would make the most of every opportunity. Paul puts it this way in Colossians 4 verse 5, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.”
What is this “good” James talks about and what are these “opportunities” that Paul mentions? The answer is found just a few verses earlier. Paul is asking the Colossians for prayer. Specifically, that God would “open a door for [their] message” and that they may “proclaim the mystery of Christ clearly”. Then he tells the Colossians this, “Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:5;6 NIV). These “opportunities” are our potential to share Christ’s grace with the world. The “good” that James talks about is bringing glory to God. We have potential. But potential by itself has no direction. When we match our potential with God’s Power, it gives us a direction; something to strive for; a purpose. When we match our potential with God’s Power, amazing things happen!
The difference we make is not simply something that is displayed on this earth, but it impacts eternity. However, often times we put ourselves in the center of the universe, and we think life revolves around us. We live for our own pleasure, our own fame, and glory, and try to make a name for ourselves. But what’s the point of this? Since our life is short, we cannot even enjoy these things. Before we know it, it will all be gone. “The Teacher” (thought to be King Solomon) repeatedly says in the book of Ecclesiastes, “This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” Solomon was the richest man in the world. As far as earthly treasures went, he could receive anything he wanted. He accomplished a lot in his life and built a great kingdom for himself. He was also given wisdom. Take it from the wisest and richest person to ever live, he says that life is meaningless when lived for yourself. But there is something that is not meaningless: reconciling others to Christ. This is our eternal impact through Christ Jesus. Showing “outsiders” (the world) the message of hope, the message of grace, through what we say and do. Anything we accomplish of earthly value will be forgotten, but when we focus on the one thing Christ focused on then we will make an eternal impact through Him. Christ focused on the lives of people, so that they may know Him and be saved. The whole purpose of theLifeBlog is to encourage you to live a life centered on others, not living for earthly gain but living earnestly in light of what Christ did for us. There is no greater purpose we can find in life than enjoying God and bringing Him glory by showing His saving grace to others. Love God, Love others (Matthew 22:37-39).
Granted, this is not easy to do each and every day. We face opposition and hardships and, in reality, we fall to them at times. We have doubts, we give up trying, and we wonder if it’s even worth it. This affects all of our lives and it shows in different ways: through our pride when we try to make life about us; through a spirit of defeat, which leads to depression and laziness; through fear from our doubts; through low self- esteem from messing up, etc. Are we held captive to these things? “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37 NIV). The battle may be draining and wearing on us, but through Christ we have strength.
“16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV).
I couldn’t sum it up better than that. We are refreshed by our eternal purpose. We need to keep our focus on eternity.
Life is short, make the most of every opportunity. There are many times when we see something that needs to be done and we know what needs to be done to accomplish it, but we set it aside “for later”. We all know how that goes. I think back to what James says, “If anyone, then knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is a sin for them” (James 4:17 NIV). Consider what Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Church, says in his book, Ask It,
“We can’t go back. We can’t go back and relive, relove, retrieve, rearrange, reprioritize, redirect, or refocus. Looking back, there are times we wanna go back. But we can’t. You can’t relive your teens, twenties, or thirties. You can’t rewind your marriage. You can’t reraise your kids. Depressed yet? Here’s my fifth and final statement:
In the critical arenas of life, you cannot make up for lost time.”
Excerpt From: Andy Stanley. “Ask It”
We all have things we regret in life. But we can’t undo or redo them. Stop dwelling on the past. Learn from it and strive for your future, for ETERNITY. It’s now or never, don’t “save it for later”. Life is short, live earnestly! Make the most of every opportunity and discover the eternal impact you can make in someone’s life. Focus on people just as Christ focused on you. Everyone needs the saving grace of our Savior.
L.I.F.E. – – – Live Intently For Eternity
Life is not about living for ourselves, it is about living, earnestly, in light of what He did for us.