“Since everything will be destroyed in this way,
what kind of people ought you to be?”
(II Peter 3:11)
Thoughts… Many believers live like Planet Earth is their forever home. They set their priorities, plan their activities, and spend their money like this is all there is. They’re investing pretty much all they’ve got in this world. Hopefully you are not one of them, ’cause there ain’t gonna be no government bailout when this old world folds!
As I write these words, by contrast, I think of my brothers and sisters in the poverty-stricken Benishangul-Gumuz region of Ethiopia. The church is thriving in this region where a mere four years ago there was no church to speak of. Now, 65,000+ believers gather each week for worship in over 1300 churches that, by God’s grace, I’ve had a hand in helping to establish.
Not only is the church healthy, the individual believers in this region are thriving as well, despite extreme poverty and intense persecution. By watching their lives, you quickly come to realize that they who have so little material wealth have so much more joy that we who have so much material wealth yet have so little joy. By comparison, they are far richer people than we.
Why? Because they have put their hope in the Lord. They are looking forward to a city whose architect and builder is God. They have very little by the world’s standards, and even what little they have, they hold loosely. They have invested everything—sometimes they have even given their lives—in the eternal kingdom of our God. They have made good investments that will produce ever-increasing returns throughout all eternity.
We need to take stock in the kinds of investments we are making. Ask somebody who knows you well what they have observed your priorities to be. What does the way you spend money or plan your calendar or live your life in general tell them about you? If your life is like mine, they would likely conclude that you are making far too big of an investment in a world that is soon going to come to a fiery end. Now in all honesty, that’s a very bad investment, isn’t it?
Peter asks the question that, given the fact that our planet and everything in it will melt away, what kind of people should we then be? How then should we live? Then he gives the answer:
• We should make every effort to live holy and blameless lives (verses 11b & 14)
• We ought to be anticipating God’s promises rather than promoting the things of this earth (verse 13)
• We ought to be focusing on Christ’s return more than the remainder of our days on earth (verses 12 & 13)
• We ought to be at peace with God and keep pure in our faith (verses 14-17)
• We ought to be giving every effort to our spiritual growth (verse 18)
To live any other way shows that we are still investing in the ephemeral stuff of earth rather than the invaluable stuff of heaven.
Take a look around. Whatever you see is going to vanish soon. Only what is done by faith will carry over to and count toward the next life.
Today is a great day to start making better investments—eternal ones—because eternity is going to be here before you know it—as some say, “in the twinkling of an eye!”
Prayer… Lord, my hope is in you and not in the things of this earth. I will hold things loosely and cling tightly to you. Enable me to live the kind of life today that will prove on that final day that I have been rich toward the things of God.
One More Thing… “The one and only characteristic of the Holy Spirit in a person is a strong family likeness to Jesus Christ and freedom from everything that is unlike Him.” —Oswald Chambers