Today I am fascinated by a quote from Gladiator. Maximus is rallying his troops before a battle, they are probably going to die, but he encourages them by saying:
It echoes another voice I know, Paul who writes to the Phillipians while awaiting his execution in Rome. He says:
“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now, as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or death. For to me to live is Christ, to die is gain.”
For those who don’t know Christ, as we do, the 5 P’s are important: Profit (or money); Power; Prestige; Pleasure; Popularity. Every activity, thought and motivation surrounds and is focused on the increase of one of these 5 P’s and depending on which is most important, it will be skewed towards that activity. These worldly values motivate people around us, because for them, this world and what it holds… is all there is.
No eternity, a limited time, limited abilities and constant change.
When we come to Christ, we start living on a new set of values: eternal values. Our walk and life with Christ, is learning about increasingly living our lives to these eternal values. Through the help, guidance and teaching of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, we learn to live life on eternal values.
What are eternal values? Just that! You will live into eternity, this just happens to be the season of your life here on earth. You will have unlimited time after this life. This life is small in relation to eternity. For this reason, one can devote this life to what really counts without fear of death.
What’s more, you do this life with the help of the Holy Spirit, who through grace, provides all power to do all things even though we are weak and have limited abilities.
Finally, all change is managed by our King, known to us as Father, because we are His children. His rulership means that His will and purpose will prevail and my purpose is built into His eternal plan. So, I can serve Him despite change all around me.
Therefore, like Paul, we can trust God to work it out for our deliverance, whether we live or die. Which is why faith in Christ enables one to be sustained during adversity.
How we approach our day to day life, is determined by our view of eternity.
Paul prays that he would have courage to exalt Christ no matter how the circumstances turned out. Could this be because he knew his final destination? Knew what would happen in eternity. If he died, he would see Christ face-to-face, if he lived he would continue to serve and exalt Christ.
His eternal values contributed to his purpose in life i.e. to exalt Christ. He was free to serve Christ, because Christ has made it possible to live by eternal values.
“The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:17)
This world is temporary, here until an appointed time. The moment we confess Jesus as Lord, we receive the gift of eternal life; “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This gift, enables us to live our life to a different set of values to the rest of the world. Values that include:
Eternity, unlimited time, unlimited abilities and controlled by God change.
My friend, think on it. If these values are a reality for your life right now, then in this life a decision for Christ has given you eternal life as a gift. Which means that this time on earth is just a short, temporary, blink even in your time in eternity. Plus, you have all grace available to you, living under the authority of your King.
‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matt 6:19-21)
Eternal values for life living.
Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of eternal life, which becomes mine as I accept your death on the cross and declare you my Lord and my savior. Such a simple decision, but such an enormous implication for my life in eternity. It totally changes every motivation of my heart to know that this life is not all there is, but there is more. I do not have to operate in fear of death, or when my life will be over, because in You, my life is never over. I am free to live this life for the things that are really important, treasure in heaven, and I don’t live it alone, but with You. Thank you, Lord.