Monday, May 13, 2013

Live with eternity in mind

1 Corinthians 7:29-31 And I say this, brothers: The time is limited, so from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none, 30 those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess, 31 and those who use the world as though they did not make full use of it. For this world in its current form is passing away.

Paul writes this in the middle of a teaching about remaining in the circumstance of your life that you were in when you came to faith in Jesus. He is primarily addressing marital status, saying that those who aren't married shouldn't seek to be married, and those who are should not seek to be unmarried. He prefers that the Corinthians be unmarried as he is for the sake of devoting as much attention and time as possible to the service of the Lord. But in the middle of all this, he significantly broadens the scope of this principle's application in these three verses.

This world is passing away, and God will create a new heaven and a new earth that will exist for all eternity (Revelation 21:1). Tears will be wiped away, sin will be no more, and God will make everything new (Revelation 21:4-5). That is the joy that we have to look forward to.

To those who are married, the driving purpose of your life together should be bringing glory to God and advancing the kingdom of God. Don't be concerned about the relative triviality of the daily grind of your life together. That's not to say that you should neglect one another. There are numerous passages outlining how we as disciples of Christ should treat our spouses. For example, Paul provides some significant guidance regarding the nature of sex within marriage at the beginning of chapter seven. And in fact, the Word is clear that marriage here on earth is meant to serve as a symbol of the eternal marriage between Jesus Christ and His Church. But the overarching principle is this: your marriage is temporary (Matthew 22:30); God's kingdom is eternal.

Paul continues in verse 30 to say, are you weeping? Your tears will one day be no more. Your emotional pain is temporary, but God's kingdom is eternal. Do you find happiness in someone or something here on this earth? That temporary happiness is not even worth comparing to the eternal joy we will have in the presence of God and His eternal kingdom.

What do you buy with the money God has given you stewardship over? The things of this world are passing away, but God's kingdom is eternal. Do you find security in the apparent stability of the culture in which you live, in the retirement nest egg you are building, or the government programs that promise to take care of you? "This world in its current form is passing away," but God's kingdom is eternal.

Paul drives the point home in verse 32: "I want you to be without concerns." This world and everything in it is passing away, but God's kingdom is eternal. Don't be concerned with the temporal and relatively trivial things in this world that demand your time and attention. On the contrary, live your life with eternity in mind.

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