I’m pretty bad at remembering the specifics of books I read a number of years ago. To be honest, I’m not that great at remembering the details of what was said in a book I read last month . . . but that’s another post. Anyway, while I’m not that good with the details, I seem to be able to grasp “big ideas” and a number of books I’ve read over the years have left lasting impressions which have shaped my thinking and have impacted how I live my life. One of those came to mind this morning, The Slumber of Christianity by Ted Dekker.
As I recall it, Dekker’s big idea was that so many of us believers are snoozing at the wheel when it comes to pursuing the kingdom of heaven and living life to the full here on the earth because we have so distanced ourselves from the hope that is ours on that day when we’ll see Jesus. We have come to believe that heaven is so unimaginable and that our hope is so far away that there is no link between this life and the next. Instead, Dekker suggests, there is much that we experience here on earth that is but a foretaste of what it will be like in the day of the new earth. That pleasures we know here are but the tip of the iceberg of the joy that will be there. That with our eyes wide open, much of everyday life can be a realtime reminder of the inheritance that awaits us. And when we have that awareness, then we stop snoozin’ and start cruisin’ . . . and really begin living.
Paul would also seem to suggest that having our eyes open to the life that is to come will influence how we live the life that is now.
Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. (1Timothy 4:7-10 ESV)
It’s those four words in the middle of that passage, “the life to come,” that grabbed my attention this morning. Those four words that got the wheels spinning. Those four words that seem to say, “Shame on you for not living everyday with eternity in view.”
How I need to remember that there is the life to come. How I need to plan for this day in light of the life to come. How I need to experience this day by being alive to everything in it that can speak to me of the life to come. How I need to guard against so distancing this day from the day of Christ that I fail to invest in my future by training myself for godliness . . . something that holds promise for the present life and for the life to come.
Jesus said that He came that those who hear the Shepherd’s voice and, by faith, enter the gate He has provided, might have life . . . “and have it abundantly” (John 10:9-10). Abundantly . . . as in “to the full” (NIV) . . . as in “rich and satisfying” (NLT) . . . as in “better than they every dreamed of” (MSG) . . . as in exceedingly, supremely, extraordinarily. And that’s not just life that’s pie in the sky in the sweet by and by. That is eternal life that begins at the moment we are saved . . . at the instant we are regenerated, . . . when our sins are forgiven and washed away . . . and the Spirit is given as a seal to guarantee our inheritance . . . and we are robed in Christ’s righteousness . . and we become new creations in Him. That’s abundant life that we are to be living now because we do is in light of then.
And so we do life not only in the context of the here and now but also with an eye on the there and then. Every sanctified pleasure we experience is not only the fruit of the present life, but is also a foretaste of the joy that is to be ours in the life after life. Every evidence of God’s hand operating in and around us today ignites our passion to prepare for that tomorrow when faith gives way to sight.
That by God’s grace His people might live, more and more, for the life to come. That for God’s glory, we might not be snoozin’ but be cruisin’ because of the hope set before us.