L.I.F.E. – – – – Live Intently For Eternity
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
A life lived for eternity is all about living for others.
In my last post, we talked about how our life is short and that we need to make the most of every opportunity. T way to do this is by matching our potential with God’s power to see His message of hope brought to this broken world. This takes humility. It takes realizing that life does not revolve around us. It takes showing care and love to the broken people in this world. So often, we, as Christians do not share our faith. We reap the benefits of Christ’s love but we keep it all to ourselves. I don’t think that we realize how selfish this really is. God has given us the greatest gift we could ever receive: eternal life, redemption, freedom from our sins, purpose, and forgiveness. We have the cure to world’s most deadly disease– sin. The Bible says, “for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). It’s sobering to think that thousands of people die each day, unknowing of the cure for sin, and spend their eternity in Hell. I’ve heard it said this way before: “If you had the cure for cancer and an unlimited supply of it, would you keep it to yourself or would you share it?” Not only should we want to share our gift with the broken world, but it is our duty.
Matthew 8:18-20 says, “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’”
God has commanded us to share His good news and He has also prepared us by giving us gifts to aid us in our mission. We choose whether we use our gifts for our own benefit or for the sake of others. God has blessed me with a mind that can retain knowledge and process things well. I’ve realized that I use this gift to puff myself up. This past year, this became a real problem. Whenever God would allow me to use my gift to do something for Him, rather than giving Him all glory, I’d take some for myself. This built a pride in my mind which then began an inward battle that seemed to tangle up all my thoughts. My focus no longer was on God but, instead, it was confusing. I would try to focus on Him, but I would do it my own way. I told myself that I was trying to be the best for God, but in reality, it was for my own performance. When my performance was high, I felt great! But when I didn’t match up, I felt lost. Pride began to capture me and influence me with other sins (fear, low self-esteem, laziness). I took what God intended to be used for His glory and tangled it all up. My heart desired to do what was good, but my mind became a stumbling block. I started to become frustrated with my mind, but God reminded me that He had different plans for it- to be used for His glory. I asked Him to free my mind from the pride and fear and, since then, He has been remolding it into the gift He intended it to be, giving me the opportunity to write this blog!
What gift has God given you? Whose glory are you using it for? Ask God to continue to shape it into the beauty He intended it to be.
Jesus is the greatest example of living for others. I think one of Jesus’ greatest attributes is His meekness. Meekness is often associated with weakness but it is quite the opposite! Meekness is not the absence of power, it is the use of power for the benefit of others. Like He says in Matthew, Jesus has full authority, yet He served us. He is the second person in the Trinity, God Himself, The Word of Life, and the one by whom and for whom all things were made, yet He served us! He is both creator and savior of this world.
To understand the significance of what Jesus did, it is good to understand who we are. In the New Testament, Jesus often refers to us as sheep. Sheep are dependent upon the shepherd. Often, when they are scared, they abandon each other, hopelessly searching for safety. Another humbling fact about sheep is that they really are not crucial to life. In John chapter 10, Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). We are dependent upon Jesus, we are hopeless, and Jesus died for us! We are the ones who crafted the sin that He died for and the ones who rebelled against Him, yet He chose to lay down His life for us. Jesus, undoubtedly, is the best example of meekness.
While Jesus was on this earth, He set an example for us to follow. We ought to follow His example of meekness by caring for the broken people in our communities. It is so easy to use our power for ourselves or to put others down, but imagine what it would do if we all, together, used the authority God gives us to give back to Him. In the beatitudes, we see that the meek will be blessed. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). The ones who use their power to give are the ones who will receive. We will see lives, communities, and the world changed for the glory of God. We are meant to invest eternally.
This post was inspired by the poem, The Dream of the Rood. It is thought to have been written around the 8th century. It is a beautiful illustration of the crucifixion of Jesus from the viewpoint of the cross, itself.
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.