As we pass from one year to the next, it seems natural to reflect on the past year’s achievements and make plans for the coming year. But how much attention do we pay to our spiritual state? Do we think more about material or spiritual achievements? If we are happy in our relationship with Jesus, it means that we had a good year and that all the challenges, difficulties and “light affliction, which are for but a moment, are working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory," (2 Corinthians 4:17).
The Christian life is not without suffering or failure, but if we choose to put things in the right perspective, we can find something good in every trial or pain. There are many verses that urge us to set our eyes upon Jesus, so that we “do not lose heart,” and become discouraged and fall into the trap of the evil one. There are also several verses that show us that the Lord brings something good for us even out of suffering. One of the most wonderful examples is seen in the way Paul talks about suffering, calling it “our light affliction, which is but for a moment,” in the second epistle to the Corinthians. Then to the Romans he wrote “that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18). The list of sufferings and trials that Paul went through, from 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 show that he put everything in the perspective of eternity, which means even decades count only as a moment. It was certainly not easy for him, but his love for Jesus and his desire to help as many as possible become saved, made him consider all the achievements and gains of this world as “loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus His Lord.” Then Paul goes even further by saying, that for the Lord “I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8).
When we understand that “our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20) we can “set our minds on things above, not on things on the earth. For we died, and our life is hidden with Christ in God.” And by doing so, we can “seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.” (Colossians 3:1-3).
How often do we get upset, sad, and frustrated by so many things that will not matter in a few months, or sometimes even in a few days or hours? If we get into the habit of thinking that all our frustrations will mean nothing a thousand years from now, we can get over the little things much easier and have more peace and joy.
Our heavenly Father has called us to His eternal glory, through His Son, and to get there He gives us grace after grace. The Lord does not enjoy seeing us suffering, but if we trust Him, He uses any suffering to help us become more and more like Jesus, He establishes us and gives us the strength to handle trials and helps us able to stand no matter what. God wants us to succeed and if we continue the good fight of faith, He helps us finish the race and be with Him forever. What a wonderful future we have waiting for us in heaven and by keeping it in perspective, we can choose to rejoice in our Lord every moment of our journey on earth, even in the hard times. And as Paul says, we know that if we leave this world, we will receive the heavenly, glorious body that is eternal, and we want to be found worthy to be clothed with our “heavenly habitation.” If we are too comfortable in our physical bodies, we are not close to the Lord, because our hearts are full of the things of this world. But if we walk by faith, we are happy and full of confidence, waiting to leave this world to be truly at home with our Lord. The believer seeks to be pleasing to God while they live in this world, in order to arrive where his eternal home is, with the heavenly Father.
Eli Cockrell and Carmen Pușcaș share thoughts about the end times and life as a Christian in the world we live in today.