Glory in eternal life

The second of three avenues that Jesus says bring glory is the road to eternal life.

Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (John 12:25)

This eternal life is our hope; the hope of a life of intimacy with the God who loves us. Jesus expressed eternal life in these terms-

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. (John 17:3)

Our anticipation of this intimate relationship with our Lord in heaven inspires us to remain faithful to the end. We don’t want to meet him in the end with the shame of betrayal. So Paul wrote of

endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 1:3)

This faithfulness to our Lord leads to choices that force a choice between our Lord and those we love, even ourselves. In choosing Jesus, we can look like we hate others, even our own lives. Since God is love, when we look back we see those choices expressing his love and demonstrating our knowledge of him.

This hope is ready to wait for eternal life in glory and it is developed through patient endurance. It is also fulfilled in facing crises. Knowing Jesus’ goodness, we set our hope on the grace he will bring at just the right time, often completely turning the situation around.

So let us, by grace, endure to eternal life!

Return to intimacy

When we feel far from God, restoring intimacy seems doomed to failure. We feel like prisoners, devoid of life. Sometimes the Lord has brought us to this place!

 When I speak to the rivers and say, ‘Dry up!’ they will be dry. (Isaiah44:27-NLT)

The Lord does this with an intention of restoration.

… I say to Jerusalem, ‘People will live here again,’ … I will restore all your ruins!’ (Isaiah44:26-NLT)

This is a message of hope, but can we listen? The Lord’s message comes with a context,

“Pay attention, O Jacob, for you are my servant, O Israel. I, the Lord, made you, and I will not forget you.” (Isaiah44:21-NLT)

The Lord calls on Jacob, ‘the deceiver’ whose life he had turned around after creating a threat Jacob could not worm his way out of. Having won him, he will not forget him. Jacob struggled with God through a night of anxiety till finally he surrendered and received a new identity – Israel, ‘he struggles with God and overcomes’.

We cannot orchestrate our own struggle with God only prayerfully give him permission. The Lord does the hard work of surfacing the issues, then he looks for a response.

I have swept away your sins like a cloud… Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free.” (Isaiah44:22-NLT)

In Christ the price was paid. There is no chasm for us to cross, yet returning to freedom in God requires a surrender and many hang on to the end before being willing to give it.

 

You can read my source Bible study at this link.