OK, another spontaneous blog post from me! The aim of this post is to demonstrate that the Christian life that we are saved to down here on earth is NOT the one that God originally created for us. Please bear with me if that initially sounds strange or hard to understand – I aim to explain myself!
This is possibly the thing I have struggled with most in my Christian life. It’s as if there are two ways to live the Christian life. One is to live a life that is filled with striving to be the best you can be, to achieve your potential, to achieve wealth, and success. This is actually a life that has God firmly at the centre. This is the life that God created us to live. This is my natural inclination as a human being, to strive to be the best that I can be. This is not in and of itself an unholy life – how can it be, this is what God designed us for after all. However, THIS IS NOT THE CHRISTIAN LIFE! My struggles are a Christian are between wanting to live this life, and living the true Christian life.
So then, this is the true Christian life -a life that is centred on God and submitted to Him and TOTALLY DEDICATED TO THE SALVATION OF PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT SAVED. That is the difference. As Christians, we have one priority and one priority only down here on earth – salvation of souls. The life of our dreams where we can focus on our personal success and dreams is now reserved for heaven.
I know that this is hard, to have to forego everything down here on earth for the sake of heaven. After all, we can see this world, we can see the potentials right here before us, but there is always the question in our minds – “What if heaven is not real, after all? Am I to throw away what I have down here on earth, for something that might not actually materialise after all?” It is also a lot easier to encourage someone into the Christian faith by telling them that they will be able to live right now, the life that God originally designed for them, and talking about how wonderful that is (and it is amazingly wonderful!).
It is like this. God created this world to be our paradise. When God originally created the world, everything was perfect. We would not have had to wait for heaven, because earth was literally heaven on earth. We were designed to achieve our maximum potential in an atmosphere of joy, peace and harmony between all people.
And then sin entered the world. Everything was turned upside down. Pain and death entered to hamper our enjoyment of God’s goodness.
So God sent Jesus, His rescue package for the world. As part of that, God has decided that “Operations HeadQuarters” will now be moved to heaven. All the enjoyment etc that was originally planned for down here on earth will now largely be postponed to our lives there. Earth has now been set to rescue mode. As Christians, when we enter God’s kingdom we are now part of the rescue team, and our priority is to get as many people as possible into God’s kingdom by sharing with them the Good News of God’s love and Christ’s rescue so that they too can escape the judgement of hell. However, when they are saved, they too have to join the rescue team. This is why earth is no longer “where it’s at” for the Christian. Rather our hopes, our joys are fixed on heaven.
This does not mean that we forego all fun and joy down here on earth. We are still to enjoy our lives, enjoy food, the company of loved ones, working hard. However, we do all of this with a focus on expanding God’s kingdom, always. When we do get to heaven, we will not need that focus because everyone there will already be a part of God’s kingdom.
I think that this is one of the key ways the “Prosperity Gospel” gets it wrong. I think that no-one can reasonably deny that God is a God of prosperity and abundance. However the Prosperity Gospel teaching seems to be that you can have it all here and live right here on earth the life that God originally designed for you. Think of this book title: “Your Best Life Now”. The Prosperity Gospel seems to teach that you can redeem this life here and make this earth your heaven. But God has said that this world is going to be rolled up like a garment – God has not called us to redeem this life, but rather to rescue everyone within it so that we can all enjoy life in heaven. While we are here on earth we have to contend with the devil and sin in our own hearts and various disappointments that come from living in this broken world. And so, so much injustice. In Heaven, we will not have to deal with any of those! There will be no devil, no sin, no injustice and no disappointments – except the disappointments of possibly not seeing our loved ones up there with us, or the disappointment of knowing that we could have made more of our earthly lives.
Let us prevent those disappointments by making sure we do our best to live our best lives now, and do all we can to see as many people brought into the kingdom of Christ as possible!
Now, some aspects of the prosperity gospel I do accept. Like striving for excellent health while preaching the gospel. And like God providing the financial funds and other resources for us to be able to preach the Gospel. However, the fact remains that our focus down here on earth is salvation of souls. Let us not forget that. Heaven will be a time of love, joy and bliss in every way. We can afford to use our years down here on earth to get as many people there as possible 😉
Photo of guitarists by Geralt on Pixabay