Ephesians 2:7-10 Now God has us where He wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all His idea and all His work. All we do is trust Him enough to let Him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish! We don't play the major role. If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and the saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join Him in the work He does, the good work He has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing. (MSG)
A friend asked, "What if I get to heaven and find that I missed the life that I was supposed to live?" I believe that this is a question that many ask, but ask amiss. In reality, I don't think we are asking "when I get to heaven" as much as we are asking "when I leave earth." The difference is this: Heaven has no time - past, present or future - therefore, these will not be a concern. The question stated is actually a worry over our future becoming our "failed past." In other works, we are presently concerned about our future living producing our past's legacy. Talk about pressure! We haven't even got there yet and we're questioning whether or not we lived life "right." Matthew 6:34 "Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it's own." (NIV) We are to live to live a life that glorifies Him alone. With this as our vision, He is our victor.
"God cannot be disappointed," that same friend told me years ago. By that nature of God, whatever our choices are, when we stand in His arms - known as He is known - we will hear Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness." (Matthew 25:21 NIV) We will hear these words not because we are good or faithful in our choices or accomplishments (because that would be prideful) but because He is good and faithful and lives His life through us (that would be humility). When we trust Him and obey Him, others experience Him through our lives.
Side note: Please keep the eternal perspective in mind. The preceding verses state that, "After a long time, the master of those servants returned and settled account with them." (Matthew 25:19 NIV) God is intimately involved in our lives and I believe that He will have a personal conversation with us about our "eternal lives in our human experience." As we see and understand it on this side of time, this will be future event with discussions of our past. However, in the reality of experiencing this eternal moment, it will be a part of an eternal discussion in an eternal relationship. Think of it as our greatest desire - eternal conversation with out Deepest Love. The only way to be cast into darkness is not to obey His request of investing our lives in His Son - it is a choice of eternal relationship, not temporary works. Other than that, we will not face condemnation for a nonproductive life, but an intimate conversation of our eternal relationship with Jesus and how that is lived out. It's a discussion our spirits have now and in all eternity. (This is my own thought on an "Eternal view" of "earthy works." I keep in mind that I was "created anew in Christ Jesus to do good works" Eph. 2:10 says and I'd better be doing them. I don't do good works to gain my Master's favor, but to fulfill His purpose, as He already favors me through His grace. For me, living out my relationship with Him is my only motivation to be about my Father's business and His business is to draw all men to Himself through His Spirit).
Start with our beliefs, not our behaviors. We are called to view our choices from God's perspective Who is residing within us, not from our limited perspective hoping that "it's enough." One is relationship, the second is religion.
"I'm only human, how is that possible?" Not only is this possible, it is commanded by God. Deuteronomy 30:11-14"Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up on heaven, so that you may ask 'Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so that we may obey it?" Nor is it beyond the sea, so you have to ask, "Who will cross the sea and get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" No, the Word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so that you may obey it." (NIV)
"How are we to find that within us which seems to constantly elude us?" We have the power for proper perspective within, we must humble ourselves to ask and receive. "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." James 1:5 (NIV)
"So, if I ask for wisdom as to His will, and He gives generously, then why do I still not have a clue as to what I am supposed to do?" Most all of us are looking for the top of the puzzle box, not so much today's puzzle piece. Box tops arrive when breathing departs. 1 Corinthians 13:12 "Now we see but a poor reflection, as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part, then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." (NIV)
He never asked us to try and figure out the full picture (what we call "His Will") and arrange our lives, piece by piece, to complete the masterpiece in our minds. When we call Him Saviour, He said that we are already His masterpiece because He IS the full picture revealing the portrait of Himself, piece by piece and work by work, for His glory alone. Our hope is not in placing the pieces correctly, our hope is in HIM who guides us with enough wisdom and love...just for today - not the next 5 or 50 years, but just for today. The next piece may not come tomorrow, but we are satisfied in our Painter, not in our own picture.
Knowing Him is the piece we search to find; obeying Him is placing the piece into our empty spaces. Just for today, ask for just one piece and the wisdom to place it according to His Will. Trust Eternity to create the tapestry of your time.
Enjoy Him, Michelle