“No one gets out of this world alive” refers only to the body. Our souls are eternal. Are you preparing? Our happiness and our future depend upon our current outlook.
12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
In what is your hope? For what do you long? Christians hope for Christ’s kingdom and the life He has for us with Him. If we expect perfection in this world, whether it be in health, wealth, security, relationships, or anything else, we will be sorely disappointed. We will only see perfection in Christ’s kingdom, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control [see Ephesians 1:9-10 NLV], will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” The Holy Spirit-empowered life is the ONLY way we experience even a little bit of heaven on earth.
In the meantime, we live in these decaying bodies, in a decaying society and a decaying world. In this world, we will suffer. But, suffering doesn’t have to be the villain that the world makes it out to be. In fact, suffering can be our friend–if we look at it as the means that makes us more like Christ.
We boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:2b-5
Suffering brings us to a point of decision:
A. Will we accuse God of wrongdoing and blame God for our suffering?
B. Will we turn to God and ask him to take control of our lives?
The first choice rings of anger, resentment, bitterness, and despair in the situation. The second choice brings hope, light, comfort and peace to it.
Although God never intended for us to suffer, we do live in a fallen world and live in sin ridden bodies. He has a new country and a new body in store for each of us. In the meantime, we suffer: because of dying bodies and free radicals, bad habits and bad decisions (either ours or someone else’s), or because this world is overrun with evil. To a certain degree, this world is the devil’s playground. Paul called him the mighty prince of this world:
2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the mighty prince of the power of the air. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. Ephesians 2:2
The apostle Peter had this to say about suffering, “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased to (is done with) sin” 1 Peter 4:1. When we see sin’s effects and feel it’s consequences, it loses its appeal. When we turn to God through Jesus, the Spirit imbues us with his love, joy, peace, hope and grace. When compared to the lists of what it’s like for those who do NOT have the Spirit,
Here is our motto:
“Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good. “Romans 12:21
Let’s not let our present circumstances detract us from the real goal, which is to be Christ’s ambassadors here on this earth for a little while. We are to let our lights shine for Him in this dark world, but always keeping in mind that “soon, and very soon, we are going to see the King!” We have this promise, “This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.” 1 John 4:1.
Abba, I pray that You will become so real to us that the things of this world lose their lustre. The old hymn is true, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” May we take these words to heart today, all day. Amen.