Sunday, October 1, 2023
The Holy Spirit told us, along with early believers, to set our hearts, hopes, and attention on Jesus so we can lay aside sin and run the race of life with endurance and courage.  Why? One clear reason is that Jesus lived for eternal realities, not temporal and mortal fancies. Jesus put it this way:
Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. But don't be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval."
"The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep." 
. . .
"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father's hand. The Father and I are one." 
The pleasures, allures, and things of this world are passing away; they will not endure — only those who align with God enjoy His blessings forever.  Bottom line, then, those people who seek the pleasures, accolades, rewards, and relationships with worldly things and worldly people will ultimately wither and die,  losing the promise of "what is mortal" being "swallowed up by life" — life with God forever.  Even those who pursue religious rewards in this life will miss out on these eternal blessings because Jesus says they have already received their reward on earth.  Jesus taught us not to try to have our treasure here on earth but entrusted to the Father in His eternal security:
"Don't store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be."
. . .
"Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." 
What do these verses teach us about our relationships? When we look around us, we see evil people, along with worldly people claiming to follow Jesus, flourishing. Some churches even have health and wealth preachers who teach the opposite of Jesus, saying that God wants us to be rich, happy, and blessed with worldly things. We can become discouraged and disheartened when we see misguided, selfish, abusive, greedy, evil, and dictatorial people flourishing in worldly happiness. Deep in our hearts, we know their time of apparent blessing will pass, and they will have to answer to God for their priorities. But, it is hard to wait and endure and accept such apparent unfairness at the moment. We need spiritual friends who share the values of Jesus. We need heroes who pursued the Kingdom of God even though that pursuit came at a high cost. We need to remind ourselves that evil people flourishing are soon gone, and for the long haul of existence, their blessings are as withered and gone as their dead bodies. We want friends that understand the apostle Paul when he says:
[W]hat we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 
Father, align my heart to seek what is eternal, crave what is holy, and yearn to be a blessing to others. I want to invest my life in activities, efforts, and passions that have eternal significance. I don't want to spend my life chasing things that wither and come to nothing. Empower me to seek what is right and good, O, Lord, and seek to be in the company of those who are honest and good in Your sight! Amen.
Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.
'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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