Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What is more important?

There's a terrible trend in modern Christianity. Actually, to call this trend "modern" is misleading, because its roots are as old as Aristotle. Western philosophy would have you believe in two worlds: heaven and earth. God and the angels and all the faithful departed are in heaven, while we are far, far away toiling on earth in our mortal flesh.

This wasn't the philosophy of Jesus. First century Palestine wasn't a place concerned with the future. Jesus was talking to people trying to survive. Jesus spoke of heaven and hell briefly, but He spent the bulk of His time here on earth teaching people how to survive and thrive. Life to the fullest--Jesus' self-proclaimed reason for coming, doesn't start after death.

Focusing on the future, especially the afterlife, robs you of the most precious thing in the world: this moment. No breath is more important than the one you are currently taking. No world is more perfectly suited to you than the one in which you already live. Besides, if we are to take Ephesians 1:10 seriously, Jesus has already united heaven and earth anyway. As citizens of heaven, each breath brings you closer to God. You can't breathe tomorrow's air yet.

Living in the moment, what I call "momentous living," solves a lot of life's problems. Jesus rebuked worrying by asking if worriers if they can add a single hour to their life (Luke 12:25). They can't. Worrying is a waste of time you cant get back. Jesus' masterful example of contentment is on display here. There's no reason to worry about anything in this life, unless you want to make a habit out of doubting God's provision.

Easy for me to say, right? I have enough money to eat every day, and my light bill stays paid. I really don't have any major problems, so it's easy for me to not worry about the future, right?

I have a hard time being content in what I find myself doing. I am constantly wanting new places, new things, new experiences, I am constantly daydreaming about made-up future events. Daydreaming and worrying look different, but have the same problem. Both are vandals to the present. Both despise your contentment and joy and will stop at nothing to see your eyes darkened with dissatisfaction.

You're in heaven! Right now! It may not feel that way, but it is. God's presence is yours for the asking. You have access to worlds of joy in this moment if you decide to take it captive for the loving gaze of the Father. An hour spent in silent contemplation of God's beauty is worth more than a day spent planning for the future. A content life is the garden in which joy digs deep roots.

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About Drew

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A follower of Jesus, trying to build myself and others up from the inside out.