Holding on . . . Looking Higher

 

livedie“All men are like grass … the grass withers and the flowers fall.”  Peter quotes Isaiah in his letter to the church as he urges them to holy lives. The words rip my emotions which are still bloody and raw after Bev’s death. Who likes to remember the brevity of life? Yet, there it is, a stark statement of the fact.  Christians need not be morbid, death-obsessed people but deep devotion will include a healthy appreciation of the brevity of life!

A young and beautiful couple, whose wedding I performed in August, hugged me on Sunday. A twinge of envy swept through me as I remembered – it seemed only like yesterday – when we were like them; in love, eager, bursting with vitality. Their young beauty swept me into a reverie – my life flashed through my mind in a second –  we finished school, began to make a place in our world, had our babies, loved them for a moment then watched them go off to find their own lives, dealt with our parents’ deaths, watched lines etch themselves into our faces, and then… the unthinkable – death tore us apart!

Our mortality is not a cause for despair. Instead it is a reason to choose to live with a higher goal than merely finding a good meal, a moment’s pleasure, or acquiring wealth. Here is what the Spirit says to us through the pen of Peter. “For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. As the Scriptures say, “People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. But the word of the Lord remains forever.” And that word is the Good News that was preached to you. So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.” (1 Peter 1:23-2:3, NLT)  “Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.” (1 Peter 2:11, NLT)

Christian, the culture in which we live tries desperately to deny the reality of time, doesn’t it?  We pretend that we can live forever, pushing the reminders of aging away with creams, potions, medicines, and surgery. We hide the dying in hospitals and make little space for grieving, preferring to hurry on to happier themes.  But, God asks us to remember that we are like the grass so that we will live lightly, “aliens and strangers” in this world, setting our affections on our True Home. The Message puts it this way: “Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul.” (1 Peter 2:11)

Here is the paradox of the Christian life: those who understand death most, live most fully! Instead of chasing what is ephemeral, they build solid lives around love, worship, holiness, and devotion. Jesus says that their investment is secure!  His life investment counsel is that we should “Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.” The Message (Matthew 6:20-21)

So, God helping me, I will keep holding on, looking higher. 
How about you?  Most likely you have taken some time to evaluate your finances at the beginning of this new year. Take some time to evaluate and, where needed, to reinvest the true wealth of your soul in a way that is aligned with the eternal values a genuine Christian life.

Here is a word from the Word. “In keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” (2 Peter 3:13-14, NIV)  “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” (2 Peter 3:18, NIV)

_______________

 Jesus You Are My Life

 You are my life,

Oh, precious Christ.

You are to me

The pearl of greatest price.

My love for You will never die,

Jesus, You are my life!

 

I come to You!

I run to You!

There’s no greater joy

Than knowing You.

 

Oh, Holy Fire,

Love’s purest light,

Burn all desires ‘till

You are my one delight.

 

Oh, conquering King,

Conquer my heart

And make of me

A pleasing gift to God.

 

My love for You will never die,

Jesus, You are my life!

 

Steve Fry

© 1994 Word Music, LLC (a div. of Word Music Group, Inc.)

Universal Music – Brentwood Benson Publishing (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.)

CCLI License # 810055

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