Worldly Cliches and the Christian Life
Do you ever just stop and listen to the way we Christians talk to one another about life? Perhaps that is the best test of whether we are worldly or not. I've often heard and used expressions that have as of late got me to thinking. The two that come to mind are: "you only live once" and "this is as good as it gets!" There are more and these are may have valid uses in the right contexts, for it's true we do only live once before Christ's coming. And sometimes I have uttered on a beautiful sunny day when I feel all is right with the world: "ah, this is great! This is a good as it gets!" And that maybe true on this side of "the sunny banks of sweet deliverance" (as Anthony Mangun says).
However for the born-again believer these must be turned on their head. The cliche "you only live once" is really only true for the unbeliever. The unbeliever lives once and dies forever. The believer dies once but then lives forever.
The cliche "this is as good as it gets" is really wrong-headed as well. For the unbeliever this is as good as it gets, and the worst day on earth will be far better than hell. But for the believer, the best day on earth will never compare to what's coming. No, for the believer it's always: the best is yet to come. And that's a word for all of us, and that's hope. That's what caged Christians facing beasts in a Roman coliseum held to and that's what every suffering saint of God can find hope in. This is not positive thinking, it's faith in God that He's building a city--a Kingdom--that's coming and will right all wrongs and conquer all evil. And even there I believe we will live in hope and see greater things forever.
I've always liked the ending of C.S. Lewis's The Last Battle, the final book in the Chronicles of Narnia, and it's fitting here:
"...the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before".
This is not a rant and I'm not claiming these as signs of the times, no they have been constant dangers to all Christians since Christ ascended. The question is: do I live and talk in such a way that points to a reality beyond me? That reality is God and His Kingdom that is soon coming in it's fullness. Am I walking and working in such a way that displays a real belief that treasure and reward in that great reality are greater than anything in this life?