In my last post, I mentioned that when it’s hard to give up something for the glory of God, we should shift our thinking. Instead of getting frustrated and annoyed about what we can’t do because it would dishonour God, we should think of what he has done for us, and consider it in an eternal perspective.
For example, I find it easy to look at Non-christians and see that they live sinful lives yet seem to get the best things in the world. They sleep around, they get drunk, they cheat people, and yet they don’t seem to face any punishment for it – in fact they often get wealthier and prouder from it. And that can be hard – sometimes it feels like serving God means you miss out on some of the “good stuff” of life.
But shift the perspective a little. Instead of thinking about what they get, have a think about the benefits we have for being Christians. Here are just a few of the bigger ones:
- We are completely and entirely forgiven for our sins – released from slavery to sin and death through faith in Jesus and all he has done for us.
- We are adopted as God’s children and Co-heirs with Christ through faith (Romans 8)
- We have a God who cares for us (1 Peter 5:7), and he tells us to cast our anxieties upon him.
- We have the promise that God is in control and works in everything for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28)
- We have the sure hope of heaven, where there will be no more pain or tears or suffering. Where we will be with God our saviour and Lord forever, glorifying him as we were created to do.
That last point holds another key to staying content in what God has done. In Psalm 73 Asaph explores these things. In verses 2 and 3 he says:
But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
Yet after considering how good the wicked have it, he considers it from a wider perspective.
…I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.
You see, those who reject God and continue to live their own way will get what they deserve – hell. Regardless of how “good” they are, without God they are still sinners (Like we all are). Since God is just, he cannot stand sin, and he will punish these people rightly and justly for eternity. And that’s what we all deserve.
But Jesus came and took our place – he took our sin and God’s wrath, so if we put our faith in him we can be forgiven. In the scheme of things, if you compared living a wealthy and prosperous life here which results in eternal punishment with a hard life here and an eternity with God in heaven, it is far better to have the worst life imaginable on earth and be with God forever than to have everything you could want here and go to hell.
But how does this affect our lives? I’ve got a few suggestions here, there are probably more ways it can help us.
- It can help is resist temptation: When we are tempted to sin, if we weigh it up in the scheme of eternity and if we consider all the good things we have already received from God, we can more easily say no to sin.
- We can have hope, fixing our eyes on heaven instead of worrying about life here and what we do or don’t have.
- We can be more thankful to God for what we do have, and rejoice in it, instead of focusing on what we want. This is definitely counter-cultural in our consumeristic society.
I hope those thoughts were helpful!