Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Will I be different?

What happens when we die? What happens when it’s time for judgement? Do we retain the character that we had at the moment of death? Are we changed into something better, worse? Think of how many people fully expect to enter heaven as jealous, petty, mean-spirited, abusive, selfish and self obsessed. Think of how many people fully expect to enter heaven as lust-filled, fearful, anxiety ridden, worrying individuals. And these people think that they’d be happy surrounded by, never mind a perfectly Holy God but by those who have a character much like His. How could someone be happy in the ever present reality of God in heaven, when they seldom if ever experience His omnipresence here on earth? How can you know His joy there when you’ve never experienced it here? If we’ve never been enraptured by God’s stupendous Creation here, why would we expect to find that sense of awe in heaven?

It’s been my experience that those who have a low view of God here on earth, also have a low expectation of heaven. They simply cannot conceive of the glory that awaits them. We are so weighted down by the burdens of life, we are so hobbled by the perceived absence of God’s presence in and during our trials that we hardly raise our eyes heavenward to apprehend the wonders of His presence. Many Christians don’t even know that they can have the joy of the Lord in and during their difficulties, during an illness, during a difficult marriage, during a searing loss. Because of that, other than to escape today’s difficulty, for many people who call themselves Christians, there really is no longing to be in the presence of God.

Now I know that my perception of people is influence by those I see as a counsellor. It’s no accident that those who seek counselling are also those who cling so desperately to their worries. They grab on to anxiety and squeeze it for all its worth, when in reality, it isn’t worth anything. Worry and anxiety totally block out the goodness of God, a God who is in our midst wanting to care for us, because He cares about us.

I used to be in a different business. And while I managed to raise our two oldest kids and come out of it all debt free and with a few extra dollars in the bank, at the beginning, I wasn’t very good at it. I had my own ideas on how to do things and in reality, they weren’t working out so good. One day, a neighbour who had been in the business all of his long life stopped by. And as we were visiting in the yard, he said, “You know Rod. If you want to be good at this business, you have to do the things that others who already ARE good at this business are doing.”

That advice can of course be applied to virtually all areas of our lives.

Most importantly, if I want to be a changed Christian, if I want to be a victorious Christian, if I want to enter heaven with a character like that of Jesus, then I need to do the things that victorious Christians do. I need to think the things that victorious Christians think. I need to imitate those who like Paul, said, “Do the things that I do . . . and the peace of God will guard you heart and your mind.” He is saying, 'Imitate me because I imitate Jesus.' It is then and only then that we will know a peace beyond all understanding. It is then that we will be able to pray with thanksgiving in all circumstances. It is then that we will be able to cast all my anxieties upon the Lord, knowing that He cares about us. God is as present in my today as is my wife or even this computer. This room is filled with His presence. My very being is filled with His love. Nothing in this world can touch me or harm me for all is well with my soul.

Will I be changed? I'm being changed on a daily basis.
“Heaven came down and glory filled my soul.”
“Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”

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