The US Marines have a saying – “In order to get to heaven, you have to die!”
That statement is interesting indeed, but I would ask the following questions: Is your life over when you die? What comes after death? Do you think of life in two parts – one part that we are living now, which ends when we die, and then a second part, eternal life (or getting to heaven)?
When I have asked those questions, most answer: the afterlife is an entirely different life than our present life, whether you believe in God or not. In order to get to heaven (eternal life), you have to die (so this life ends).
Is this belief biblical? Or is it more like: when you die physically, you actually continue to live on, just in a different place? Maybe you haven’t given this much thought but it is really important to consider.
We typically think about our existence as two entirely separate lives, but Jesus spoke of one life that continues into eternity because we believe in Him. He said that our life here (on earth) actually impacts our life there (in heaven).
For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.
In other words, the consequences of our actions while we are here on earth are actually meaningful in eternity, yet most just “live for today” not considering any future return from the investment of our present lives. We often quote “He/she will reap what they sow” and typically are thinking about consequences soon after the action(s) occurs, not in eternity. This, of course, is true in the example of the farmer who sows seed to reap a harvest later in the fall of the year. It is interesting that the next verse following Gal. 6:7 (reaping and sowing) references reaping “eternal life,” connecting our life in the present with our eternal destiny.
Maybe we live our lives with too much of a disconnect from the eternal life that we are promised. I read something interesting from Mark Batterson’s book entitled “If.”
In the Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis demonstrates that God wants humankind to attend chiefly to two things: “to eternity itself, and to that point in time which they call the Present. For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity.
In light of that truth, Screwtape, the veteran demon, advises a novice named Wormwood with these words: “Our business is to get them away from the eternal, and from the Present. With this in mind we sometimes tempt a human … to live in the Past.”
Two things grabbed my attention:
1. The Present is the point at which time touches eternity
2. The conversation between demons discussing their business of distracting humans “away from the eternal.”
Our present lives today are meant to be lived in a manner that touches or impacts eternity. In order for that to happen, we must have an eternal perspective which will impact what we value. If all we do is live for today, we may be living a distracted life, distracted from what should be our true priority.
C.S. Lewis says it this way:
If you read history you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world are those who thought most of the next.
This means the idea about being “so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good” is a fallacy.
Do you feel you are only living for today? Would it be more impactful today if you could gain an eternal perspective?