For many of us “eternity” is just the name of a perfume…and not really the concept of a life unending. It’s easier to also focus on the here and now, there is so much going on, and life can be an all-consuming struggle day after day. Who has time to think about life after death? And is there really life after death? Isn’t that something used to “scare people out of hell” and into some form of religious life?
Sitting in class I can see where the differences lie. The concept of religion and what people believe is multifaceted, and humanized in so many ways. “Religion causes war”, and “the archaic beliefs that people still hold onto”, “so many of our cultural traditions are from religious roots”…etc…. There is a slight mockery behind some of the comments coming from the teachers, but they have to stay politically correct, so they stop themselves before they “offend”.
I get it, and in many ways I also agree. Religion has caused so many problems. Throughout history there have been war based on these differences. Atrocious acts of mass murder, genocide, perversion, and entertainment have been done in the name of religion. Religion even divides well-meaning churches, and friendships.
“All roads lead to heaven”, and “I am spiritual”…these are deceptive in their own right as well. What is heaven if I don’t believe in the One who created it? Some say that we should strive for heaven on earth. I don’t believe that as humans we can do that. Some “christian teachers” even say that this is heaven, and it’s as good as it’s going to get. Well, why believe in anything then? Wouldn’t it make sense to just do what feels right, and not worry about the consequences?
So, what makes us “spiritual”? A belief in a Something? Mother Earth? Morality? Innate goodness? And who decides what’s right? You can spiritualize human sexual sacrifice, and then who decides that it’s wrong? “Living our best life now…that is what matters”. That is what is said by some spiritual leaders, but it sounds pretty humanistic. And if that is the truth…that this is my best life, then what do I have to look forward to? The “secret laws” of the universe, or karma …”speaking” our lives into “betterness”. Really all we are doing is making ourselves into god…that somehow we are in control of what goes on, and what we deserve in life. Wouldn’t that be the most stressful way to live? What if we keep speaking good, and bad things keep happening?
I spent 40 odd years trying to be a “good christian” and doing right, speaking right, and looking right. What a waste of time. I came to realize that nothing I do makes me a better christian or a better person than the one next to me. If anything, it just made me more judgmental.
So, I chose Jesus. Yes, and it was a conscious choice. It’s a choice I make every day. He died for me. Who else in all of the world’s religions did that for me? Does this now make me religious? No. Religion is a scary word. Relationship with Jesus is a journey, a journey where I get to look forward to an eternity with Him. I believe that heaven is a place He is preparing for me…He says so in His word…
John 14:1-4 “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.”
I can’t imagine an eternity without Jesus. It would be the loneliest place to be. Striving here on earth really has no meaning on its own. Earthly reward is temporary. Building an earthly legacy is meaningless, and I can’t take it with me. And if I don’t believe in eternity, then how would I even really know what that legacy does?
Yes, this is the truth I choose to live by. It’s a life of joy, contentment, peace, and love. There is a lot to look forward to. I believe it to be true, but on the off chance that it isn’t, then it still will never be a waste of my life. We all have faith in something or someone, and the choice we make in that faith is the consequence we live with.
A few questions to ponder…
Do I even have faith? What/who is it in? Do I live my life according to my faith?