Someone once said, “You may not live by what you profess, but you will live by what you believe.” I guess that’s why Jesus once said that “the way to identify a tree or a person is by the kind of fruit produced.” Mt 7:20 TLB. That is to say, do their words and their actions or beliefs actually match or is there a disconnect between the two? Do those who profess they are disciples of Jesus, actually spend most of their life not even thinking about Him in their daily lives? Is He significant in all their life, or is He just that extra add-on to cover your bases just-in-case, what He said about heaven was really true.
These are genuine things to think about, because we will live our lives by what we believe more than by what we profess.
This morning in my time with God, I read the following verses from 1 John 5:13. There John said, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
The fact is, how we will live our lives will actually and literally depend on whether we think there is eternal life or not; whatever it is you believe about eternal life will impact how you live your life.
If you don’t believe you will try to wring everything out of this life as you can because you believe that this is all there is. It’s the YOLO effect as Os Guinness mentioned – You Only Live Once. Great if you’re wealthy or perpetually young, but not always so great if either of these things is not true. Then you’ll spend your whole life trying to ‘beat’ a satisfying life out of what you yourself can do…and you will fail in the end, miserably. In other words, it’s all about you.
But if you do believe in eternal life as a follower of Jesus, then your worldview will be framed accordingly. You will approach life with more joy, peace and hope, for you will know that this life is not all there is, but is something like a prelude to the real deal. That’s why John, speaking to followers of Jesus, emphasised that we must KNOW that we have eternal life. I pondered on that for quite some time this morning and I thought about the impact of deeply knowing that in my own life. It’s very life-changing and life-affirming…try it!
Of course I can’t leave it there. The Bible says that all people will live forever. Eternal life is real, it exists. Christians will have the joy and blessing of eternal life in that place where God is. What about the non-Christians; those who rejected the love of God through Jesus all their earthly life? The Bible says that they too will have eternal life, but God (and therefore heaven) won’t be there with them. They lived their lives choosing to reject Jesus as a part of their free will and now they will receive into themselves the very thing that they wanted; that place where God is not. God doesn’t put them there, they put themselves there.
This is nothing for we Christians to gloat about, but rather to join with God and weep over all of that lost humanity. So for us today as followers of Jesus, what can we do to help make a difference? We can continue to keep our lives in God’s hands being shaped by the reality of eternal life with Him, and we can share this Good News with whoever will listen that they too will receive the blessings by which we live.