Week 7 Hope and Anticipate
Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow[i]
But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.
2 Peter 3:13-14
ur physical bodies are bound over to death. Sin reigns in our mortal bodies[ii] so that we are unable to make Godly choices in our own strength. When we are born again into new life through Jesus Christ, the compulsions of the flesh lose their rights to us. The power of sin is broken as we make conscious decisions to live like the new people we are: cleansed of sin and adopted into the Kingdom of Heaven through Jesus.
The Bible tells us in numerous places and in a variety of ways that this world is not our home, and that our hope is to be placed fully in a future we can’t imagine. Our Savior will be there, and that’s enough information to rest upon, but how do we manage the transfer of our affections and hopes away from the world we can perceive with our physical senses? What are the characteristics and habits of people who truly believe that the best part of life lies in a future that can’t be seen or even imagined?
It is our Savior’s love and the responding chords of love for Him in our own hearts that enable us to take the first tremulous steps toward faith in His promises for the future. We are like Peter, who did not sink beneath the waves so long as He kept His eyes on the Lord’s face;[iii] when we nurture a relationship with Jesus we begin to know that this earth is not our home. So how do we act? What does storing up treasure in Heaven rather than here on earth look like?
The overwhelming characteristic of lives lived for Christ is that we serve the needs of others. The Lord Jesus didn’t take His own needs into account, nor did He assert His rights as the Son of God. He humbled Himself and took on the nature of a servant, even to the point of death on a cross.[iv] We prove that we believe treasure really can be stored in Heaven when we follow Christ’s example of dying to our own desires for the sake of other precious souls who need the love we have through Jesus Christ. That’s how the world knows us, by our love.[v] It is love and service to others that is the unmistakable mark of people who understand that earth is only where they live for now, but Heaven is their home.
It is almost amusing that we so often dismiss the areas of service nearest us as being of no import and become convinced that in order to prove our worth to God we must seek bigger and better mission fields. We each must pray for God to allow the scales to be removed from our eyes so that we recognize those He has given us to serve. We must allow Him to help us see that our ministrations to aging parents, young children, and our spouses’ needs are worthy sacrifices of love to the Savior who died for us. These seemingly mundane challenges that have spurred our hearts to resentment are actually one of God’s most precious mission fields.
“Thou preparest a table before me…”[vi] The Lord provides for our needs as we do His work. He tells us we’ll be taken care of here, protected as with a shield[vii], and that wonders we can’t imagine are in store.
Pray: Father, help me to serve those You’ve given me to love. Forgive me for acting out resentment when I should have exhibited humility. Grant me grace to follow Your example so that I reveal You even to those closest to me, in my own home, where I long to act as I should.[viii] In Jesus’ Name, amen.
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
The Lord's people feast at his table, upon the provisions of his love.