Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory (Colossians 3:1-4 NLT).
Yes, truly thankful!
There are many reasons, especially this time of the year. But at this seemingly uncertain time in our human history, I am thankful that I have a future safe in Jesus. My body and my heart will fail. I can’t win at biology’s truest form of success, keeping my body alive and mind alert. I might delay the inevitable, but I cannot stop it.
I am confident, however, in this: my future is safe in Jesus. I am the LORD’s, and he is mine. As the psalmist said so beautifully:
My health may fail,
and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
he is mine forever (Psalm 73:26n NLT).
I am not sure if the craziness of our world is worse or if we are just more aware of our vulnerabilities. The mask of our right to feel safe has been peeled away. The harsh realities of our mortality are the unspoken truth underneath the headlines of repeated horrors. Despite our advances, cures, inoculations, armies, police, and other forms of protection — both public and private — we are more aware of our vulnerability to forces, evils, disasters, and crazies that seek to do us harm.
In Jesus, however, our future is safe. We have died to this world in Jesus through baptism and have been raised with him through our faith in the power of God (Colossians 2:12). Our lives are joined with Jesus, hidden with Christ in God, Paul says. We are joined with him and put in a place where the winds of fate, the evil forces of the devil, and the frailties of our minds and bodies cannot steal us from Jesus (Colossians 2:13-15). He is our spiritual safety deposit box. We are in him, and he is in glory at the place of honor at the Father’s side. One day, that glory will be revealed to all realities and beings — heavenly and hellish, mortal and eternal — and we will share in God’s glory with Jesus.
How important is that? Well, let me share an insight from my personal experience.
You see, for years, I was blessed to have a family who was unified in Jesus, three generations deep. That meant that every goodbye was only temporary. No matter what happened, we would all be part of the great family reunion at Jesus’ return (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Then, the Lord led some precious young men and women into my life. They had no exposure to Jesus. They were struggling to come to faith in Jesus and what God did for them through Jesus.
Occasionally, we would sing the song, “Jesus is Lord,” in our church gatherings both public and private. When we would get to the words, “Lord come quickly, hallelujah,” I would add, “But please, dear Lord, not until these precious ones are in your grace.”
Many of us have enjoyed a time of reunion, as well as a time of remembering those who have gone on before us. I pray that you will now face the "more normal" part of your calendar truly thankful for having your future safe in Jesus. I pray that those whom you love who do not share your faith can find God’s grace in Jesus, so you know every “Goodbye!” is really “Until we meet again!” There is no greater joy until we actually experience this great reunion with Jesus in his glory.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls (1 Peter 1:3-9).
Yes, truly thankful!