Don’t Die Waiting for Eternal Life

My kids love Lucky Charms cereal and they get to have it on the occasional Saturday morning. But they have no idea how much more enjoyable cereal was when I was younger. What was in the cereal box was what made it so great (and I’m not talking about all of the extra sugar and chemicals). The toy action figure, basketball card or car waiting for you at the bottom of the box gave you a sense of anticipation that this next bowl of cereal could be the last one before you got the prize. Full disclosure, my Mom never let us grab the toy out before the box of cereal was empty, we had to wait until it had all been eaten.

Growing up in church, I was trained to have this same mentality when it came to the idea of eternal life. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” If we only read this verse, eternal life might sound like never dying. When we read other scriptures, we get a fuller view of eternal life and it might be different than you think.

Jesus himself described what eternal life was in John 17:3.  “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” Notice he didn’t say this is how they get eternal life, but that this is it. Eternal life is not a prize you get when you die or Jesus comes back. It starts now.

What does this mean for us?

1. Start embracing “heaven” now.

While “heaven” is described in places like Revelation 21 using metaphors of precious stones and metals, the New Testament writers don’t put much focus on what is there. They are more concerned with who is there. It is the dwelling place of God where all who are there can have an unhindered relationship with the creator of the world. This may seem disappointing for some but the biblical hope for our death is the perfect relationship we will have with God. He wipes away all tears, pain, and sadness (Revelation 21:4). Our deepest longing is to be connected to our creator and we should start living for that now because that is what heaven is about.

2. Stop living for this earthly life.

All of us know that this world is broken and flawed. Yet, many still live to try to get the most pleasure and the most fulfillment from this life on earth. If you live long enough, you will realize that nothing can fill you up for long. You’ll always want just a little bit more. Rolling Stones’ frontman Mick Jagger embodies this issue with the simple repeated phrase  “I can’t get no satisfaction.”

We should take another writer’s advice to heart. C.S. Lewis said, “Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth ‘thrown in’: aim at Earth and you will get neither.”

Let’s enjoy the gift of eternal life.
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