While it is in the nature of man to avoid the contemplation of his own demise, it is very healthy to consider the fact, the harsh reality that, no matter what we say or do, you and I will one day die. I know this isn’t popular preaching in the age of the self-help, life-improvement gospel, but the Bible is very clear on this matter. For the scripture says,
“How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog–it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” - James 4:14
The Bible also says,
“By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.” - Genesis 3:19
I’m not telling you this to frighten you. I’m not telling you this to discourage or depress you. I’m telling you this so that you can live your life in the light of eternity.
Today, you often hear it said, “Live for the moment; the moment is all that matters.” While we should find cause for appreciation during every moment of this life, it is foolishness to live as though the moment is all that matters. It’s silly and naive to think that the moment is all that is worth consideration. First of all, what is “the now” if not the result of past decisions? Every now moment has been directly influenced by the accumulative effect of “then moments”.
Furthermore, the only reason that “now” could ever possibly, actually matter is if there is a future to be affected.
Truly consider the nature of purpose. Purpose is only imaginary if all things are only temporary. Remove eternity from the equation and what purpose have you left?
Why does tomorrow actually matter if there is no eternity?
Some would say, “Well, the good you do today can long outlive you.”
That is definitely true, but what about afterwards?
If we seek to find our purpose in adding a page of our own to the history books, we fail to recognize that history too will someday itself cease to be. Even if your legacy should reach beyond to the generations to come, your legacy will only last as long as the society which honors or remembers said legacy. But what about when the generations are no more? What about 200 years from now, when your kids, grandkids and maybe even your great grandkids have returned to the dust? What then?
What happens at the fall of a city? Of a nation? What is to become of anyone’s accomplishments when the earth itself is gone? Even if we should advance so far along that we, as a society, are able to travel throughout the vast distances of the cosmos, won’t all material things come to nothing? Can any created being, without the protection of God, see its species survive indefinitely? Nothing lasts forever. Eventually all odds of catastrophe stack too highly. Throughout the eons, an apocalyptic event would become unavoidable, certain. In fact, the universe itself is headed toward dark and cold nothingness.
Death is the great equalizer: every billionaire and ever beggar, every president and every prisoner, every king and every kid – all of us will face death. All of mankind, of current days and of ancient days, spends his or her life, a brief moment, upon this earth. Our limited time is spent in a temporary world, and there is no escaping that reality.
Without the existence of an eternal place, there is no purpose other than the delusional purpose we might subjectively embrace for comfort’s sake. All that matters, all that is left, is what we do to affect eternity. Only the life spent for the eternal is a life filled with purpose.
This is why the scripture says,
“Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.” - Colossians 3:2
There are at least three benefits that belong to the one who bears an immortal mind, a mind fixed on eternity.
#1 – The Immortal Mind knows the purest gospel.
The eternal perspective is the perspective which leads one to find the most truthful interpretation of scripture and the gospel message.
If ever you have heard a version of the gospel with which you found a small, difficult-to-justify discomfort, you are not alone. For a while, whenever I would hear a gospel being preached which only promised blessing, a better life, humanitarian success and social justice for all, I found it difficult to place my finger on what exactly it was that I found to be disagreeable. Much of the modern preaching sounded orthodox, but, still, I found something to be amiss.
It wasn’t until recently that I was able to successfully identify the source of my misgivings. You see, the true gospel promises most of its impact to one’s eternity. There is nothing wrong with being blessed or devoted to aiding one’s fellow man. But, when our proclamation of the gospel becomes mostly about what we do here on earth, we’re missing something big. Jesus Himself said,
“Jesus answered, ‘My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.’” - John 18:36
The gospel will improve your life, but that’s not what it’s all about. Following Christ is a commitment to self-denial, not self-improvement. The gospel may be advanced by humanitarian efforts, but the rescue mission to save souls is the greatest humanitarian effort of all time. It is dangerous to preach only likable portions of the gospel to attract people to Christ.
First of all, why would you ever share only a portion of the gospel when not a single one of us is promised tomorrow? Secondly, we see no example of portioned presentations of the gospel in scripture.
It is the duty of every believer to preach all of the gospel.
Only when one is thinking through the paradigm of eternity can that one remain properly grounded.
The second benefit of having an immortal mind is that it inspires godly decisions.
#2 The Immortal Mind inspires holy living.
“Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.” - Hebrews 12:14
When you are aware of the fact that you will be held responsible for how you’ve lived your life, you gain the motivation to live right and holy. Your thoughts and your actions have an audience with God.
How much would your behavior change if you knew that you were going to stand before Christ today? Are you ready to give an account for your life? If you were to stand before the Lord right now, would He find you faithful? Though I may falter, I am determined to give my all to Him. I want my walk with the Lord to be one of consistency. When I am well, I will walk for His will. When I am refreshed, I will run for His will. When I am weary, I will crawl for His will.
Yes, I am determined, when this life has ended, to be able to look at my Master and be able to say, “Lord, I did all I could do. I gave my all for you.” Can you maintain your honesty when you say, “I’m living in a way that is pleasing to the Lord.”? If so, continue. If not, consider the brevity of life, while also contemplating the scope of eternity.
When you are mindful of just how fragile the human body is, something in you will change. We are so easily broken unto death. Life is a thin, fragile glass upon which we walk. Below us is eternity, and, once that glass shatters, we must meet the Creator.
There is no do over. Do not wait for the ideal situation to present itself to you, for no such ideal situation exists. Don’t wait for anything. Instead, use your every moment to store for yourself treasure in Heaven. Disdain sin and avoid evil. Be aware of that which comes after this life here on earth. Know that you will one day give an account for your every day.
But, contrary to what some might believe, living with the immortal mindset is not the same as living in fear. Just the opposite is true. When you live with an immortal mind, fear loses its power over you.
#3 The Immortal Mind is not fearful.
We fear loss. We fear pain. We fear death. We fear rejection, failure and harm.
But, in eternity, for the believer, none of those things exist. This life, compared with eternity, is not even equal to a second. So, no matter what may come in this life, it does not compare to what eternity has to offer.
“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.” - Romans 8:18
“For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!” - 2 Corinthians 4:17
Therefore, we can rest in peace now. Most count on death to bring them that sort of rest, but we count on the Word of God to bring us that rest, for Jesus promised,
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” - John 14:1-3
If you wait for death to allow you to rest in peace, then you have crowned the grave as prince. But, if you stand upon the promises of God, you can in this life rest in peace, for Christ is the prince of peace.
What, therefore, should cause us to fear? Should we lose a loved one, we have the hope of seeing them once more. Should we be martyred, tortured or persecuted for Christ’s sake, it is only for a moment. We have no evil to fear – sickness, terrorism, financial crisis – none of these should be feared. For all of that which causes men to fear, we will outlast in the beauty of eternity.