Living in Light of Eternity | January 6th, 2017
I woke up New Year’s Day to a dreary, misty morning. Not exactly what I wanted to wake up to the first day of 2017. As the mist cleared, however, it did not look much better as I stared out my window to see mostly droopy, dead plants from previous nights of freezing temps.
We have only had a few really cold days here in Dallas, but I am already anticipating the warm sun to come out and the flowers to bloom – even if that means I didn’t ever get to wear my new boots!
Several weeks ago, I read a verse in the Bible of which I am continually reminded. On that misty, New Year’s Day, once again it came to mind…
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:14
For many of us, it is custom to set New Year’s resolutions. We resolve to abandon bad habits, achieve greater success, and acquire more things to make ourselves feel better. Of course, that feeling is only temporary.
If life is like a mist that lasts a very short time, how much more important it is to live life in light of eternity, valuing the same things that God values – the things that have eternal value.
What on Earth has Eternal Value?
There are only two things that have eternal value. God and people. Having a relationship with God is more important than anything else. If you believe in Him as your Savior, you will be living with Him for all eternity. Get to know Him while you are here on earth! He greatly desires to have a close and intimate relationship with you.
Reading His Word and talking to Him daily in prayer are ways you can grow in your relationship with God. He will show you exactly where to focus your energy and time so you can give priority to those things that truly matter in light of eternity.
The things of this world will not last. They were never meant to. Striving for that which is temporal is a serious waste of the short time God has given each of us.
And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. 1 John 2:17
It’s All About Love
What pleases God most is that we love Him and love people. It is His greatest commandment:
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39
As followers of Christ, the focus of our lives should be spent on those things that reflect our love for God and for people. When we have a close relationship with God, He will provide many opportunities in which we can show love to others. God blesses us with so much in the way of talent, knowledge, influence, and material possessions, just to name a few. We can use these and other blessings to serve others and show God’s love.
My husband and I recently moved to another house in the same city and decided we should only keep those things we would really need and use in our new house. After sorting through everything we owned, we had an entire garage filled with beautiful home decor items, kitchen gadgets, towels, blankets, and furniture.
I prayed that God would send people to us who really needed these things. After telling a friend of mine about my desire to help someone in need, she excitedly informed me that she had a friend who had been helping a young married couple move into an apartment in Dallas. They had just arrived in the United States from Turkey.
Originally from Iran, this couple had been seeking asylum here for four years as they waited patiently in Turkey. They were finally given this precious gift of asylum with their final destination in Dallas, Texas. They located just a few miles from our house and needed everything you could imagine as they arrived with only one small suitcase each.
We were connected, and the next day they met me at my front door. My heart filled with joy as I watched this hopeful couple, who came to this country with nothing but faith, fill the back of my husband’s truck and their friend’s vehicle with everything they would need to begin a new life here in the U.S. God listened to my prayer (and theirs) and answered it in the most amazing way.
Tools for Eternity
Although these blessings He gives us in the form of material things are temporary, lasting only the short time we are here on earth, they can be used as tools to help prepare us and others for eternity. It is by God’s grace that we have these earthly blessings. If we can use them to show love to others, we are sharing God’s love which brings Him glory and greatly pleases Him. That has lasting, eternal value.
It won’t be long before the dreary, misty days are gone, the sun comes out shining brightly, and the colorful flowers pop back up out of the newly thawed ground. But for now, I will resort to wearing one of my cheerful repurposed vintage rings in full bloom.
Although it does not have any eternal value, it’s a good reminder for me to remain open to all God desires for me to focus on this new year as I grow in my relationship with Him and live each day He gives me in light of eternity.
Sparkler #1: Prayer
Ask God to show you opportunities to share His love with others so you can use the blessings He’s given you as tools to prepare you and others for an eternity with Him.
Sparkler #2: Action
Write down a few New Year’s resolutions focusing on that which has eternal value. A few examples include giving up your time to help someone in need, spending quality time with God by reading His Word each day, and making more time in your schedule to invest in relationships.
Sparkler #3: Challenge
Memorize James 4:14 to help you remember three important lessons: Life is short, keep your focus on that which has eternal value, and live each day in light of eternity.
*Forest in the mist – photo credit: Wing-Chi Poon
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