As I have pondered the question it has dawned on me that I know of only one thing that I want to be the distinguishing mark of my years on earth. I doubt very seriously that my college degrees or basketball prowess will amount to anything in the eternal long run. I doubt if the Lord will be impressed with the books I’ve written or the places I’ve been. Some people may be impressed with those things but I believe that most people are looking for something that distinguishes our lives for eternity. No doubt, this is what Jesus meant when He spoke of laying up treasures in heaven. When a million years have passed what will truly mean something in this life the Lord has given me? What will I treasure?
The answer is simple. Paul said it this way: “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). Christ in me is all that matters. Letting Christ live in me and express His glorious life in me is eternity’s calling on my life. If I am not living in such a way that Christ can be seen in me then I have failed. If people are impressed with something of my carnal existence but cannot see through the charade to the “hope of glory” within me, than I have truly wasted much valuable time.
Paul describes the eternal purpose of God as “to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (Eph. 1:10). When God finishes what He set out to do it will be clear that He wanted all things, including us, to be united in Christ. There will be nothing left but Christ and those who are in Christ. All else will be as nothing.
The church is called by Paul “the fulness of Him who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:23). Through His church God is attempting to fill all things even now in this age. We are destined to be the manifestation of Christ on the earth. This was God’s purpose from the beginning.
But many of us take this truth and filter it through our religious understanding. We think of a pastor, a church building, its programs, and the ritual that surrounds it all. That is not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about reading the red-letter edition of the New Testament and seeing the life of Christ there and realizing that He was revealing also the life that I am to be living two thousand years later. He still lives in me, in you and in all others who possess Him.
And so I commit my year to Him. I know that He will continually remind me as He did the apostles, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34, 35). Love is the only thing that lasts into eternity because it is Christ manifest in our lives. That’s the legacy I want to have. I want to be known as one who loved the people in my life and around me. By this only will people see my life and be impressed. Christ is impressive, to say the least, and when He is seen in our lives it gives our lives a special distinction—Christ in us the hope of glory.
Happy new year to you all, and let us remember that true happiness flows from His presence in our lives. We rejoice with you all that we have been delivered from darkness into His precious light. Whatever the new year brings, it is only the next step in eternity. God’s best to you all.
I am in full agreement with Lloyd’s words and declarations. I only want to add a short word. Psalm 23 says “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” These words are taking on a deeper, more meaningful place in my heart and mind. I pray for all of us that we will allow Him to truly be our Shepherd in every area of our lives. The sheep hear His voice and follow! I want to be a “follower” of The Shepherd. That is my heart for all of us for the New Year.
We love all of you so much and wish for you a special New Year filled with His glorious presence walking in His green pastures.
Photo courtesy of David Yu's Flikr Page -- Creative Commons License