All teachers use different tactics to help manage their classroom and make things run as smoothly as possible. One of those things we have to control is our list of classroom rules and the procedure of discipline used to enforce them. Stoplights, star charts, and student planners are some of the ways teachers instruct students on how to stay out of trouble, but I’ve found that a simple call or email to a parent is usually enough to discourage undesirable behavior. As soon as I pick up the phone or fill out that discipline referral, there’s a sudden change of heart because no young child wants to get in trouble. That office visit or call home is no place a child wants to go.
Likewise, most Christians (all should) cringe at the idea of Hell or the possibility of going there. Anyone who has done any Bible study on the subject could easily admit that they have no desire to even pay a visit to a place like Hell. But I must ask, if we badly want to avoid Hell, why aren’t we overly excited about going to Heaven? Oh sure, ask any Christian if they want to be in Heaven with God one day and you will hear an unequivocal yes. I propose that if that were the case, if we really wanted to spend eternity with God, we would live entirely different lives.
Haven’t you noticed that we primarily live for the here and now? We live as this world and our stuff and our life will last forever. We’re typically satisfied with our life, our comfort, our lifestyle. Sure, we want more, but it’s typically more of what this world has to offer. More wealth, more time, more notoriety. Even our idea of retirement is to work hard so we can sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labor. While it seems that we’re planning for the future, we’re really just living for the here and now while this life lasts.
I wonder if we’ve got it all wrong. I wonder if we’re doing it all backwards. As we age and get close to death, shouldn’t we ramp up our efforts to serve God? Instead of resting on our physical success, shouldn’t we get more excited as we see the day approaching, the closer we get to heaven (Hebrews 10:24-25)? The reality is, everything we do here on earth will be burned up (1 John 2:17). Everything we’ve worked for, slaved for, saved for, and spent time on will be gone. That’s why we must look past the present. In fact, we must even look past our future, at least our future in this life. We must shift to an eternal mindset, one which sets our priorities on doing the will of God and not just staying focused on meeting our temporary desires.
Let us finish with a very important admonishment about how we should view this world and how little we should hang on to its attachments:
” Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
(1 John 2:15-17)