About two weeks ago, I couldn’t sleep so spent the time lying in bed listening to Christian songs. A lot of times when I have insomnia, I get messages from God and insights into Christianity. In fact, quite a lot of the material for this blog comes from times when I’m lying in bed, unable to sleep.
During one recent night of insomnia, a thought from God suddenly popped into my head. God said to me – “You don’t live for eternity”. Immediately, I realised it was true. I am very focused on my earthly life in the present moment. My focus is usually on how I can best enjoy myself in the present moment, and the bad thing about this is that sometimes I thus neglect future consequences of present actions. I was convicted by God telling me that I don’t live for eternity. So I started meditating on this thought – how would my life be different if I was living for eternity? How would my life be different if I really believed that I was going to spend eternity in heaven and I lived my life according to a desire to earn heavenly rewards instead of earthly ones?
Immediately, I was convicted that I don’t give enough. This verse popped into my head –
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)
I got laid off in December 2012 and for the past three months I haven’t had an income. So I stopped giving to church and charities. This verse from Matthew convicted me that I should start giving again, that I shouldn’t spend money just on earthly needs and pleasures, but to continue to give to the church and the poor, so as to store treasures for myself in heaven. I realized that what I buy for myself only gives me temporary satisfaction in this life, but what I give to others brings me rewards in heaven for eternity.
I also realized how important it is to live for eternity. One thing I always feel is about how quickly time passes. I’m turning 40 next year and I can’t believe how quickly those years have passed, especially the last 20 years. It seems only last year since I graduated from college, life seems to have zipped by in a flash. This brought home to me the danger of living for this world. Life is fleeting and will be over before you know it. James 4:14 says – “You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”
If you’re only living for this life, it’s a very fast and short term pleasure. But if you live for eternity, it’s a long term investment that will last forever.
Living for eternity will also change your perspective on suffering. In 2 Corinthians 4:17, it says – “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” When you believe this truth, it will transform your attitude towards suffering. Instead of resisting suffering, getting frustrated or depressed about your troubles, you rejoice in the fact that your trials are bringing you eternal glory.
James 1:12 says – “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
Our troubles will bring us a heavenly crown. Knowing this truth will empower us to rejoice in suffering.
In Hebrews 12:2, the writer tells us that Jesus – “for the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
We should follow Christ’s example and bear our crosses in life patiently and fix our eyes on our victory in heaven.
One thing which God convicted me of was my habit of living life for earthly, temporary pleasures. I struggle with eating a healthy diet and often indulge in fatty, sweet foods. As a result, I am overweight. God convicted me that I should not indulge in temporary pleasures at the expense of long term consequences, to not indulge in the flesh’s unhealthy cravings.
Colossians 3:2 tells us to “set your on things above, not on earthly things.”
I also realized that I shouldn’t focus just on earthly success. I’ve been working on a Christian book and one thing which I’ve focused on is how to make the book a bestseller. But God was telling me to work on the book just as a means to glorify Him. Even if the book sold only 1 copy, I shouldn’t be discouraged because I would still have my reward in heaven for working on the book, since God had called me to work on the book and it was part of His will for me.
Matthew 19:30 tells us that in heaven, “many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.” Maybe you feel you are of low status or have a job that’s mundane and unglamorous. I’d encourage you to work at your job with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for earthly rewards. God sees your dedication to Him and you’ll receive high praise from Him when you go to heaven.
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