We're going to live for ever
We need to hear that again and again, because in the maelstrom of our lives we easily lose sight of this fact - this basic statement that makes sense of our lives. As Paul says:
"If the dead are not raised,
'Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.'" (1 Cor 15 v32b)
But instead we have the hope of everlasting life. From this follows two questions: the standard one - why will we live with God rather than be justly condemned for all that we've done wrong. This, of course, is what the cross is all about, and I don't want to go there for this devotional.
From our perspective, it will be the case that in a few million years time we will look back on the fleeting period when we are on earth, and be very regretful for all the missed opportunities that we had to make a positive difference to others' lives.
What I want to focus on instead is the prospect of judgement and reward for believers as a result of what we've done on this earth: as Paul expresses it:
"For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad." 2 Cor 5 v10
"If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames." 1 Cor 3 v 12 - 15
(This expectation of reward from God for our faithfulness during our lives is also present in the teaching of Jesus, most obviously in the parable of the talents - Mt 25 v14-30 and the minas Luke 19 v11-27)
It's hard for us to keep this perspective on our lives - the message of all that is around us is that this is the only reality we know so we should indulge ourselves because it is the only chance we'll get. This is seen in attitude of people who grab at relationships because 'they are their only hope of happiness'. And it is seen in us when we let our love for boys drift over into lust or even merely idolatry - when our YF becomes more important to us than our other relationships, including sometimes God (been there...)
There's no easy way to keep a proper perspective on our lives, but it is surely one of the roles of real fellowship between Christians to help us work at this. So this is another reason why Christians need to find fellowship and not pretend they can do it all on their own. Of course BLs struggle to find safe places for such deep sharing; I am happy to say that CBF has provided me with much of such fellowship, and I hope others will find this also true in their experience if they are not able to find it in 'real life'.
Lord God - may we live in the truth that we will live forever, May we build our lives on the foundation provided by the work of your Son, and build with gold and silver and costly stones, not with that which wil be burnt up when we come to review our lives with you. Give us the fellowship we need to live as you want us to, that we may bring glory to your name.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who has opened the gate for us to enter your presence
[For a more extended discussion of this topic, I recommend John Bevere 'Driven by Eternity'