Have you ever sacrificed things in order to get something more valuable? Ever worked towards a goal and weighed out the long-view vs. the short-view, but in the end, decided the long-view goal was far more rewarding?
The same concept applies to our Christian walk. Hebrews 12:11 says: “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
In order to enter into eternity with God, forever, we must give up certain things down here. We must learn to control our appetite for sin. We must discipline our hearts from deceitful wandering of our flesh (Jeremiah 17:9). We must make sacrifices in the present to reap the eternal rewards of our future in heaven. We must focus on the long-view of salvation.
The Opposite of the Long-View:
What is the reversed of long-view? I alluded to it above. It’s the short-view. The short-view tells us: to live for today, do what satisfies your desire, exercise no discipline at all, do what makes you feel good, follow your heart, do whatever is right for you and to follow your own pathway of truth.
The problem with the short-view is that the rewards are hardly satisfying. That’s because, the short-view, only thinks about short-term pleasure. It doesn’t budget for the future. It spends all of it’s provisions on short-term pleasures and temporary sins that lead down the pathway to death (Romans 6:23). It doesn’t calculate into the equation of long-view of life in eternity.
The Conundrum of Life:
Considering both the long-view and the short-view, the difficult conundrum of life is this: Will we follow God and trust His will is good for us and obey by surrendering daily the things we think we want in this life that, in the end, dissatisfy or will we refuse to trust God and try to outsmart Him living life like an on-going chess game hoping to checkmate God thinking that He’s trying to trick us or keep us from truly living.
Standing Before the Judge:
The reality is, the choice is completely up to you. 2 Corinthians 5:10 says: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
We will all stand before God at the end of our life. No one can escape this reality. We will all stand before God upon death and be gloriously welcomed into the gates of Heaven or we will be frighteningly rejected by the ultimate judge. Those are the only two outcomes.
The beauty of the gospel — that Jesus came down to die on the cross to save lost sinners — gives us hope. It gives us another choice. By God’s grace we get to choose whether God will accept us into His glorious Kingdom or whether He will reject us for simply having a short-view mentality to living.
The Cost-Benefit Analysis of Salvation:
If this is the great and biggest question of life — to choose life down here in the temporary or life after in eternity — how do we reconcile the two and come to a decision that may not be our natural desire? How do we come to the place of full surrender, laying down our one and only life when there is breath in our lungs and dreams in our hearts that don’t correlate with God’s salvation plan for us?
The only answer is, we must understand that Christ is everything —that He is our most prized and most valuable treasure. We must understand that the wages of sin is eternal death (Romans 6:23), and that Jesus is the way and the truth and the life (John 14:6) –that He is preparing a place in heaven for those who believe that Jesus Christ raised Himself from the dead conquering sin, forever (Romans 10:9).
We must do a cost-benefit analysis of life and salvation. We must make a personal choice and weigh out the short-view rewards and weigh them with the fact that if we choose the short-term rewards we automatically reject the long-view rewards of life and hope in eternity, forever. Everyone must make that choice. What choice will you make, today?
Pressing on Towards The Goal:
If you’ve already made the choice to follow Christ, then there is another step. As Christians, once we have received Christ and given up our life, we need to work daily at becoming experts at dying to self. We must work at daily focusing our eyes on Christ and our reward in Heaven.
We must work hard at disciplining ourselves with the Word of God and work hard at the daily on-going process of surrender in prayer to continue to give away everything in this life in the short-view –the things that tempts us daily, steal our focus and allure our desires.
Philippians 3:14 says: “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” As Christians, we must take these truths to heart and drill them into our head until we truly believe the only thing worth doing is pressing on for the heavenly prize –to desire the reward of Christ, only, and nothing else.
Bringing it Together:
When you look down the lens of binoculars and you focus your eyes on a far away target all of your energy and focus is shifted towards that target. Suddenly, everything else around you falls away. The tree’s in the corner of your eyes blur. The wind around you seems less present. For that moment, all that matters is focusing your eyes on the destination you desire to focus on.
We need to apply this concept to our Christian lives. When we have our eyes focused solely and only on Christ, every temporary problem in the short-view falls away. Our financial struggles diminish, because we are rich in Christ. Our health problems are less of a worry, because we are alive and renewed in Christ. Our marital problems and temptations towards lust, impurity and pornography, seem small in light of spending eternity in purity in Heaven.
When we fix our eyes on Christ, and nothing but Christ, everything temporary and unimportant deterrent in this life begins to slowly fade away. Before we know it, nothing else matters, we are more focused on looking through the eternal binoculars of glory –the long-view of salvation, where nothing else matters but the peace, joy and security of the anticipation of where we are heading.