Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Your Best Life Now?

It's all going to end. And it wasn't supposed to be this way.

I was driving down the road a couple of days ago, doing the same routine I do everyday. I thought about how much I appreciated the benefits of life's rhythms - I don't need to start from scratch everyday to think and understand about how God wants me to live or what my days should look like. I read the Bible, I pray, work on sermons, prepare and lead meetings, counsel, spend time with friends and family, etc. Different details, same categories day in and day out. There's something comforting about knowing the course of your life, even if its not always fireworks and games.

And I began to think about how great this life on earth would be if we knew that it would last forever. There's a longing in our hearts for permanence and stability. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God has put eternity into man's heart - I think this is what I experienced. I want to live forever and enjoy God forever.

So how do I reconcile this desire, which plays itself out every day in the ordinary of life, with the reality that this world is fading away and is temporary at best?

When I look at the original creation in Genesis, I find God creating His people for communion with Him and to rule over the rest of creation. Had sin not entered the world, it would have been an awesome scene. As people worked and played and rested, they would have done so in perfect communion with God. There would be no need for heaven because it WAS heaven - in the sense that heaven is the place where God is most fully present to bless. God was constantly, lovingly blessing his people as they lived "ordinary" lives.

This means that we would have indeed been living our best life now!

But sin has entered into the world through Adam and has corrupted EVERYTHING. Relationship with God was broken. Communion was lost. The earth has become cursed. Bodies have begun decaying. Death is the end result of everything apart from the vital connection and relationship to God.

And so now - apart from Christ - we live one of two ways. We either fail to recognize or accept the fallen condition of man/world and we continue to live as if it will all last forever...or we recognize the meaningless of trying to accomplish/build anything that will not last and we become fatalists.

Apart from Christ, these views are understandable. But Christ's redemption has changed everything! We look to heaven. We look to a time and place where the original creation is restored and perfected through Christ. And we let the solid promise of heaven transform the way we think and live today.

We are to live as if life will go forever because Christ has purchased for us eternal life with God. Instead of working for a shakeable kingdom made of money, possessions, power, and fame, we can build and accomplish eternal things now - investing and laboring for the kingdom of God as we store up treasures in heaven. Instead of moving toward suicidal fatalism, we can weep for the destruction of sin in this world and let it motivate us toward evangelism, forgiveness, and good works.

As long as we are alive on this earth, we must remember that sin has changed everything, but that the gospel is reversing the curse ever more as we march toward the day of glory!

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