This week marks our final mess to master this Lent. Going through this life with a shortsighted perspective makes a lot of messes, but by increasing our understanding of living eternally we can master them and begin enjoying God’s best for us today.
The Problem with Shortsightedness
Shortsightedness is a condition of the eyes causing things in the distance to appear blurry. It makes it dangerous to drive (or maybe even walk) without corrective lenses. Sufferers of severe shortsightedness often cannot see well past the nose on their own faces. Shortsighted living happens when we are unable to see beyond our selves, our desires, or our feelings. Decisions made with this limited perspective can get messy.
And Satan loves it.
Because shortsighted living robs us of rest, steals our security, creates chaos, kills community, promotes pride, drives doubts, spins shame, confounds consequences, stirs up strife, fosters fear, impairs our identity, hides our holiness, makes us forget forgiveness, weakens wisdom, poaches peace, creeps into our contentment, jumbles our joy, and puts down our power. In short, living shortsightedly makes a mess of life here on earth. Satan is pleased to make a mess of this life, because he knows he can’t steal the one Jesus died to give us.
Focusing on what we see and feel here on earth blurs our eternal perspective.
What’s so good about Good Friday?
Shortsighted living makes Good Friday seem anything but good.
It is a fantastical story, right? One that makes no logical sense. At least not without an eternal perspective. God the Father begot a son born of a Virgin who was fully God and fully man. That Son, Jesus, lived a perfect life, fulfilled ancient prophecy establishing Him as the Messiah. But He was betrayed, beaten, mocked, shamed, crucified, died, and was buried.
Living by only what they could see, unable to reconcile it with what He taught them, Jesus’ followers found themselves in a mess that day. All hope seemed lost. The One they called Messiah died on a cross. Though they had seen Jesus perform many miracles, including raising Lazarus from the dead, they were distressed by what they saw happen to their friend. Thomas doubted. Peter denied. Some feared. Many hid. Mary and Martha cried. Others scattered.
Their shortsighted perspective kept them from seeing God’s eternal plan.
Jesus’ sacrifice absorbed the entirety of God’s wrath for man’s sin. It was finished. Jesus accomplished everything necessary for salvation on that cross. His finished work secures our eternal acceptance. We cannot add to it or take anything away from it. The blood of Christ paid the full price God requires for us to spend eternity in His presence. That’s what’s so good about Good Friday!
Sunday is Coming
We have a perspective Christ’s original disciples didn’t possess that Friday. We know what happened three days later. He rose again in victory over death. He walked the earth in His scarred flesh for 40 days before finally ascending to the Father upon promises to return and establish His kingdom for all eternity.
Our own shortsighted perspective often leaves us questioning God, too. We doubt, deny, fear, hide, cry and even scatter because we don’t think God can do anything to fix our problems. Or we choose what feels good today because eternity is too far away to see clearly. We become disillusioned and disappointed when we look for the fulfillment of God’s promises in this life. We live in the shadow of the cross instead of the light of the empty tomb.
But make no mistake, just as surely as He rose from the grave on Easter Sunday, Jesus is coming back. And He will make everything right. Even though every thing may not feel alright right now, it will be then. Having faith in that final fulfillment is what give us His heavenly peace despite earthly chaos.
Though temporary, there is an eternal purpose to this earthly life. Our lives give us the opportunity to share with others the love of Christ, so they, too, might learn to live beyond this moment. Our love reveals the life Christ died to give us. Because we believe, we speak and love and serve one another so that they might also believe in God’s glorious grace.
Living this way, with an eternal perspective, makes our trials and tribulations in this life seem small in comparison to what awaits us in the next. What we see and touch and taste here on earth, even the best things, are all wasting away because of sin’s curse, but the glory of heaven has not yet been fully revealed. Even if everything we love and own is destroyed this side of heaven, nothing can take away what God has prepared for us on the other side. (2 Corinthians 4:6 – 5:11)
Shortsighted living doesn’t satisfy our eternal longing. Because each new moment promises its own share of pain or pleasure. So we strive for more of what feels good and less of what causes pain. But the more we seek to satisfy ourselves, the dimmer our eternal perspective becomes.
It is possible to be saved for all eternity and still forfeit the benefits that salvation affords us today. When Jesus ascended to heaven after His bodily resurrection, he promised a Helper for all His followers. This Helper is the Holy Spirit who seals us for salvation and also brings the power of heaven to our earthly lives. The power of the Spirit working through us is how we bring eternal purpose to our earthly lives.
The Holy Spirit helps us bring eternity into focus, so we can stop short sided living and start living eternally.The Holy Spirit helps us bring eternity into focus, so we can stop short sided living and start living eternally. #masteryourmess #livingeternally Click To Tweet
Defeating Our Earthly Foe
Though defeated in eternity, Satan remains a worthy adversary on earth. Understanding his methods and motives keeps us from allowing him to make too many messes. (Billie had a great list for discerning between the voice of God and Satan in last week’s post!) Satan tries to distract us in the short game because he knows he is defeated in the long run.
God, whose Spirit lives inside us, is never surprised, never hurried or anxious, never perplexed, and never defeated. He is able to make all things work together for His glory. Learning to follow His lead is the key to living eternally. When Satan tries to make a mess of our lives, we lean desperately on God’s omniscient view of all that happens under His heavens and on His earth. We trust that He knows what He’s doing, His promises are true, and His plans prevail.
No matter what. Even if the prodigal hasn’t returned, the healing doesn’t come, the job falls through, habits won’t break, husbands don’t appear, wombs remain empty, the mountains shake, or the grass withers. We defeat Satan by trusting God.
Earthly living with an eternal perspective protects us from Satan’s messes.
We are in this world, but we cannot be of it. Yes, God calls us to use the work of our hands and feet (which He prepared for us) to show the world the love of Jesus, bring glory to the Father, and point people to the salvation He made available through the cross. But our hearts rest in eternal security. When my hope is anchored in heaven, held securely by God’s hand, what happens here on earth cannot dislodge it.
Christ endured the cross by looking beyond it to the eternal glory awaiting Him.
If anything Good Friday is a reminder for us to always be living eternally. By only looking at what we could see, Jesus’ death painted a dismal picture filling His followers with doubt and fear. Only by looking beyond the cross to the empty tomb can we see God’s glorious master plan to bring hope and peace to this broken world.
May we always live life looking beyond the crosses we bear toward the fulfillment of our glorious resurrection with Jesus in His kingdom.May we always live life looking beyond the crosses we bear toward the fulfillment of our glorious resurrection with Jesus in His kingdom. #masteryourmess #livingeternally Click To Tweet
Master This Mess
Filtering everything we say and think and do through the lens of eternity is what enables us to enjoy God’s peace, joy, hope, rest, purpose, wisdom, humility, forgiveness, perspective, and security, despite what we see or feel here on earth.
We master the mess shortsighted living makes in our lives by looking beyond the crosses we bear to the glory that awaits us in heaven so we can fully enjoy all God’s blessings in this life.
Linking Up With
For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne Eller, Faith On Fire, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith and Fellowship Friday, Soul Survival, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His Story, Sitting Among Friends, Testimony Tuesday, Planting Roots, and Fresh Market Friday, Salt and Light, and Becoming Press’s Writer Wednesday, Moments of Hope