As N.D. Wilson (2013) said in his book Death By Living, “Life is here. Life is now.” (p. 185) Of course life is here right now, we might think. No big deal. But these words are profound, and we should consider them. We so often get lost in looking at the future with worldly eyes, thinking that things will be better if and when we get more. But things will only be better with Christ, and when we leave Christ out of the picture things will only get worse.
If only I were married, then my life would be so much better. If only I had more money or a better job. If only I had a nicer house and more bookshelves filled with more books. If only I could . . . STOP. Seriously, take a step back and look at the big picture. God made a canvas, and he is breathing life into it. He created light to spread across the heavens and the earth. He made you and me. In his infinite love he died for the whole world. He rose so that death would swallow itself. He ascended and is reigning at God’s right hand to subdue all his enemies. We, his friends, are called to reign with him. He is our father, and we are his heirs.
We are often lured into the trap of materialism, especially in America. More. More. More. This is the world’s way of thinking, and if we are wearing it, then we need to throw it off. Die for others, don’t live for yourself. That is the only way to truly live. Give what you have so that you have less, because then, and only then, you will receive more. We are called to look to Christ and be about our Father’s business. Well, Jesus’ life is our Father’s business. And the reward for serving God is Christ himself. Is that not enough?
We should wait expectantly for Christ, but we must not think that somehow a year from now, even if Christ has not returned, everything is going to be perfect. Even though I have a hard time loving my brothers and sisters, when I get married I will definitely be able to love my wife without difficulty. No. The cross is hard for us to follow now, and it will be difficult for us to follow then. But there is hope. We can be encouraged.
Christ is sanctifying us to be like himself. Every day we sin less and less. We are growing stronger every second. And every second death consumes more of itself. Next year, if we continue steadfast in Christ, we will be stronger over sin than we are now. That is something to be thankful for. Jesus’ yoke is light, and the only reason we are struggling is because we are stilling wearing parts of our old yokes, yokes of sin. But as we throw off these weighty yokes and put on the yoke of life that is Christ, the path of life is easier for us to follow. So even though following Christ a year or two from now will still be difficult, it will be easier.
Be realistic about the future. Life is not going all downhill from here as some would have us think; rather it is traveling steadily uphill towards Christ for us who believe in Christ. Uphill is hard, but sore muscles are stronger muscles in the end. And when our legs can’t take us any farther, then we have finished the race. We will be richly rewarded if we finish the race because Christ has promised that everyone who runs this race gets a beautiful reward. Christ has promised.
Our father sets life and death before us every day to test our hearts. Choose life. Choose the furnace that will burn your dross away. Choose to run uphill. I warn you. If you choose life, then you will experience tribulation, and the fiery furnace will sting, and all of your muscles will ache, but all these things are momentary. They will pass away because a greater weight of glory is coming. So choose life, and remember that you don’t have to do all these things by yourself. You couldn’t if you tried. Lean with all your weight on Christ, and know that the body of Christ is here to suffer and rejoice with one another. Live now with these things in mind, and look ahead to greater things to come. Greater things are here now, and more are coming second by second.
So . . . serve God and he will grant your desires. Buy books and read them. Enjoy life with your wife. Make your home a fortress of life. Build on rocks, not sand. Trust in Christ, our rock fountain of living water. Build a sand castle next to the ocean and watch the waves topple it. Build your life on Christ and watch the devil flee.