Ask A Pastor: How Do I Live With A Focus on Eternity?
“How do I live eternally minded in such a distracting and busy time of my life, knowing that my life will just continue to get busier and there are so many things I still want to enjoy? (Ex. Marriage, parenting etc.) How can I long for heaven when it is so easy to be content with everything around me – finding happiness in things of this world?”
Your question is about how to live a godly life. We call this sanctification which is necessary to prepare believers for heaven. If you have repented of sin and trust in Christ and his accomplished work, then this results in a daily striving against sin and a daily devotion to God.
You ask about the how of sanctification. Sanctification is not in the first place what you do, but what the Spirit does in and through you. When you are united to Christ you have a perfect holiness in Christ. He works His holiness out in the hearts and lives of believers by His Spirit. In spiritual growth, Christ has the most important place in your life. You are focused on Him and you learn that repentance is not about me and my desires anymore, but about His will. Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” That is the subject at the commencement, development and accomplishment of sanctification. You die to self, more and more, making more and more need for Christ. Your heart is filled with love to Christ which affects all dimensions of life. Your mind, affections, knowledge and actions change in this ongoing process. The secret of this life of sanctification is Christ Himself. He fills your thoughts and directs your actions. You increasingly depend upon Him. You increasingly hate anything and everything that offends Christ. You increasingly abhor a superficial lifestyle (there are so many things I still want to enjoy) and you desire to increase in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Your knowledge and understanding of the depravity of your heart deepens, and Christ becomes more precious to you.
Spiritual life is many times disturbed by spiritual sloppiness and laziness. If we are honest, we can see that we are so easily enticed by sin and occupied by the busyness of life. Daily you struggle between the new man and the old man. Have you ever seen a torso? A torso is a sculptured form that represents the trunk of a body. It is not the complete body but it is a part of it. This is a picture of a Christian. The life of sanctification is always in part in this lifetime, until the day of Jesus Christ’s second coming. “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:4).
Martin Luther gave a practical lesson. He said, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” We need daily prayer and meditation upon God and His Word. Life is busy, but in the way of seeking God’s kingdom first we will be less occupied with other things (Matthew 6:33). God sanctifies His people through His Word (John 17:17). Pray daily for the work of the Holy Spirit, “O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!” (Psalm 119:5).
Pastor Willem E. Klaver