Saturday, July 16, 2011

Only Visiting this Planet--Taking Your Faith Seriously

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The last few weeks, our Sunday School lessons have focused on the End of Time and Heaven.  To be honest, there is a lot that I do not understand about these two topics, and I don't know that we will ever fully understand them until after they take place.  What I do know, is that I focus way too much in what is happening here and now, that I lose perspective in the main thing...which is I was not created to live on this planet as it is now.

Every person is an individual created for eternity.  When God created Adam and Eve, his intention was that they and all people would have fellowship with Him and live in a perfect world. 

God in His loving nature, gave man free will and one simple guideline to follow--Do NOT eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  Satan enters the garden, talks to Eve and entices her to eat the forbidden fruit, and then she gives it to her husband Adam--and life has been hard ever since.

God in his love, knew we would sin, and planned to send his son Jesus, to take away our sin through his horrific death on the cross--because sin requires a sacrifice.  Jesus, the sinless son of God, is tried, unjustly convicted and sentenced to death on a cross.  Because this sacrifice was offered, we can be made right with God and live in Heaven with him for eternity, if we accept the gift of His sacrifice and allow him to be Lord of our lives.

Knowing this truth, we can say that this world is not meant to satisfy us.  We live in a fallen world with suffering, sin, war, famine, injustice, and sickness.  Life here is hard and unfair.  We yearn for more, but struggle to find satisfaction in our lives, our careers, or our possessions...but something always seems to fall short.  These longings inside our heart is God's way of reminding us that we were not made for this world.  Our security and happiness will not be found here, but rather in Heaven--because that is where we were meant to be--in complete and total fellowship with Father God as our provider, our helper, our sustainer.

We know this, but yet we chase after this world as if it is the only thing that counts.  Sometimes I wish I could just get a glimpse of what Heaven will be like, so that I could totally understand that the present sufferings and sacrifices that we are making in this life are such petty offerings compared to the joy and wonder that we experience when we get to Heaven.

I think if we really knew this with our hearts instead of just our head, it would also change how we relate to the non-christians around us.  If we really believed that Heaven is the ultimate good place where we will fellowship with God forever without any more sin, strife, suffering or anxiety--and that Hell was real and that those who do not accept Jesus will spend eternity there--our walk and our testimony that we live out would be totally different.

Non-christians would  be drawn to us because we would reflect Christ's love to them.  We would do everything possible to make sure that our friends, family and the people we meet will be in Heaven with us for eternity instead of suffering eternal torment and separation from God.

This is something that I have been thinking about and has honestly slapped me between the eyes, and I don't think we as Christians can ignore this truth any longer.  If we do not take our eternal destiny seriously as christians, then how can we expect those outside of Christ to do any differently.  This is the cross that we should take up daily, and use every opportunity to live in a manner that shows the world who we are and what we stand for.  

This does not mean boycotts and picket lines, and telling people that they are going to Hell and God hates them--like the Westboro Baptist Church does.  What it means is sharing Jesus' love to each and every person we come in contact with, so that God can use that love to draw others into fellowship with him. 

It is time that we quit putting on and taking off our Christianity based on the situation and people we are around and trust God to help us live the life he wants us to live.  I want a life that honors God and speaks that I submit to his authority and leadership in my life.  I want a life that shows His love to each person that I meet.  I want a life that encourages others to seek God and find the eternal life and peace that only comes with a relationship with Jesus Christ.  I want the world to know that I am only visiting this planet, and I want to bring as many people "home" with me as I can.

I will never know all of the answers this side of Heaven, but I am so thankful that I will spend eternity with the one who does.

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