It is so easy to get caught up in our everyday tasks and our goals for this life.
Most of us are planners. We make to-do lists, we make 1-year, 5-year and 20-year plans, we think about what we want to buy, wear and do all the time. But what happens when this becomes our main focus?
When we find ourselves constantly thinking about our goals and agendas, we begin to set our hearts on our own accomplishments and growth.
It’s natural and it’s encouraged in our lives today. Work your way up the ladder at work, find the perfect spouse and have the best behaved children, serve in the most areas at church, etc. etc.
But these seemingly innocent goals start to steal our peace. When focused on our own accomplishments, we slip from the eternal perspective that God calls us to live in.
Paul is an amazing example of an obedient follower of God’s call. He has every reason to be focused on and proud of his accomplishments.
He had a past filled with credentials and successes. And yet, he considers it all “rubbish” in light of living for Christ.
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in him. Philippians 3:7-9
Paul knew what it was to be successful and yet, in light of knowing his Savior, he counted it all as nothing. This shows us an attitude of eternal hope. When we place our eyes on Christ, we no longer count our successes and credentials as our hope.
When you live with an eternal perspective, 3 things change.
Hope in our own accomplishments can be fickle. We cannot control so many things in this life. You may put endless hours in at work and be steadily climbing the ladder when the company goes bankrupt or you become sick. You can be raising your children to be well behaved and polite, when they suddenly decide to live a different way.
Our lives are not in our control. It is when we live with the belief that our lives are in our hands that our hope is shaky.
When you place your hope in Christ, you are placing it on solid ground. You are putting your hope in someone that will never leave or forsake you.
Paul says that his life on this earth is simply a time to serve and suffer for the gospel.
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21
His life on this earth was in obedience and passion for Christ and His mission. Paul lived to serve God and spread the gospel. His hope was in eternity. His hope was in Heaven.
He knew that no matter what happened here on earth, he had eternity with the loving and joy-giving God ahead of him.
His hope was on solid ground and it gave him the strength to walk through many trials.
That brings me to the next thing that changes when you live with an eternal perspective.
When you fully place your hope in Christ, you begin to find a strength that is supernatural.
Our strength to complete the goals that we desire and the plans that we have for ourselves oftentimes runs out. It isn’t in our control. In an instant, everything could change. Your health, your job, your family, nothing is truly in your control.
And as scary as that is, when you finally surrender every part of your life to God, you begin to find a strength that will bring you through the most trying of times.
This strength is from the Holy Spirit within you.
When your eyes are on Christ above all, you will be filled with the power to do what God has planned for you.
And through this, you will find a joy that is unimaginable.
Finally, when you live with an eternal perspective, you will find a soul-consuming peace. When your eyes are fixed on Christ, you will know a joy that follows you through any trial or suffering.
Peace can be hard to come by in our fast-paced, self-focused world. We try to gather it up by storing away money, filling our time with work and friends and planning, planning, planning. We try to create a life that is secure and stable and will support us in case of any emergency or struggle.
And yet, this peace that we grapple at is filled with effort and fear.
We cannot create true peace by our own works. Only God can give us a peace that fills our souls.
Only God can truly calm our hearts and still our minds. And the peace that God gives will carry you through any trial or hardship, for it does not depend on our circumstances.
The peace that God offers depends on a heart surrendered to Christ.
Have you surrendered every area of your heart to Christ?
If you have, I encourage you to live out the hope, the strength and the peace that God provides.
But, if you are like me and the many others around us, it can be hard to surrender some of the deeper parts of your heart to Christ.
Don’t be discouraged if you find it difficult to surrender parts of your heart and your life to Christ. He knows it is hard and He provides grace as we embark on the journey.
If you would like to take the next step in surrendering hidden parts of your heart to Christ, I would encourage you to follow these steps.
Ask God for the strength to do it. Ask Him to fill you with an eternal perspective and hope. Spend time every day in prayer. Even if it is just a few minutes, the simple act of talking to God about it will open the channel with which He can work.
I’ve heard it said that Jesus is at your heart knocking. He loves you and He wants to bring you healing, peace and freedom, but He will not barge in on you. He waits, knocking patiently and it is up to you to let Him in.
He offers a peace and healing that is beyond anything you can imagine, and yet He waits for you to open the door and let Him into your heart.
I encourage you to invite Him in and do it everyday. Most of the time, surrendering our hearts to God does not happen in one quick prayer. It happens through consistent prayer.
Read the Word.
There is so much love in the Bible. God shows His grace and His mercy over and over from the first pages of Genesis to the last pages of Revelation. Reading through Scriptures will open your eyes to God’s loving character. As you learn about who God is, you can find strength to surrender your life to Him.
When I first gave my life to Christ, all I knew was that He died on the cross for me. I was overwhelmed with the grace that He provided and on that day, He changed my life.
But, as time went on, I began to see that I was holding a lot of my heart back from Him. His grace on the cross was all I really knew and over time, it’s power faded in my eyes. It wasn’t until I started reading through Scripture, that I began to know God as a Father who loved me and not just a Savior who died for me. Both are important and I encourage you to search the Scriptures and get to know God as a Father who cares for you deeply.
When we embark on the journey of surrendering our hearts to Christ, we must surround ourselves with others who will support and encourage us. You will need friends to keep you accountable, mentors to lead and to guide you and teachers and preachers to instruct you in the inner workings of Scripture and how to live it out.
If you are struggling to surrender parts of your life and your heart to God, I encourage you to find a way to fellowship. Join a small group or a bible study, find an accountability partner or a mentor, or talk to one of the preachers or pastors at your church.
There are so many people out there who live to serve those seeking to follow Christ. I encourage you to find the courage to reach out to just one person and to find fellowship in your life.
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