The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis
Book 1 -Admonitions Profitable for the Spiritual Life
Chapter 17 Of a Religious Life
This was the takeaway question from a Bible Study, Practical Christian Living, I completed two years ago. Do the choices I make today matter? Will they matter in a year – or how about ten years? Maybe it’s middle age creeping up on me, but I am so overwhelmed with how short life is. Psalm 90:10 speaks to the brevity of life – 70 or maybe 80 years. In view of how long eternity is – that seems so short.
I remember when I was a child and thought I would never, ever, ever grow up. Forget growing up, I didn’t think Christmas would ever get here! Now, when I reflect back on my childhood and see how fleeting it was, it gives me pause to realize I will be thinking the same thing about my time here on earth when I’m in heaven.
Am I going to make choices today that I
think will bring me pleasure in the moment,
or will I make choices that have an eternal consequence?
Funny thing about the Christian life – the path you think you want to walk, the one you think will bring you happiness – well, it isn’t and it won’t. Luke 9:23 says, “And he said to all, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” We must choose to walk the narrow path. The path that means humbling yourself and living at peace and in harmony with others. The path that is more worried about not losing character by being impatient, unkind, unforgiving or hurtful. In being a servant you will find peace.
I know it sounds super weird. You think that if you focus on the things that make you happy – outward appearances, doing what you want to do when you want to do it, putting yourself and your needs first, you will be happy. But quite the opposite is true. You will have many trials and sorrows. God doesn’t promise us an easy life. But if we endure we will reap eternal rewards – as well as earthy ones like peace and joy.
There was a point in my life where I didn’t believe a word of what I’m writing. I was looking out for #1. Take care me and let everyone else worry about their problems. That was my motto. And you know what? I was depressed and anxious and just plain miserable. It wasn’t until I stepped out in trust and started reading and obeying the Bible by putting others before me that I found real peace and joy.