Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Crawford Loritts' book, For a Time We Cannot See: Living Today in Light of Heaven, (Moody Publishers, 2005).
The concerns of your life right now give you plenty to deal with every day. But if you don’t look beyond them to your future in heaven, all your busy activity will lead only to emptiness.
Instead of living for the present, live with your eternal destiny in mind. That way, you’ll fulfill God’s great purposes for your life before you leave this earth for heaven.
Here’s how you can live today in light of heaven:
Make sure your life reflects the foundation on which you’re built. Remember that Jesus Christ is the foundation of your life. Don’t let anything or anyone else replace Him as your top priority. Recognize that you will be held accountable for the choices you make. Whenever you’re faced with a decision, choose what reflects values that endure rather than what seems appealing but is perishable.
Embrace the confidence God wants to give you. Realize that, since you will forever, you don’t need to walk through life burdened by fears and worries. Thank Jesus for His sacrifice on the cross that has made your eternal life possible and given you the power to overcome any sin that assaults you. Moment by moment, surrender your thoughts and actions to Jesus, relying on His unlimited power to deal wisely with every challenge you face.
Keep your eyes on the prize. Ask God to give you a vision of how He would like you to fulfill His purposes for your life. Think and pray about specific goals you should set for yourself to stay focused on those purposes. Constantly ask yourself how any activity you’re considering might contribute to what you want to accomplish or who you want to become. Eliminate distractions that deplete time and energy you could be using to fulfill God’s purposes for you. Work diligently, remembering that you don’t know when you’re time on Earth will be up. Persevere, refusing to quit because of pressure or adversity. Serve with excellence, giving your best effort to whatever assignments God gives you.
Pursue significance instead of success. Don’t waste your efforts working toward what society considers success, such as achievements and wealth. Instead, work toward what God values and will last forever. Understand that you don’t need the worldly trappings of success to validate yourself. Remember that God loves you deeply, just as you are. Look to God alone for a sense of your true significance. Honestly consider whether you’ve surrendered every part of your life to God, or whether you are still pursuing your own agendas in some ways. Confess and repent of your efforts to control your own destiny. Trust your dreams to God, knowing that His dreams for you are better than what you could dream for yourself. Realize that you can’t predict all that God has planned for you and the full extent of how significant your contributions on Earth will be. So do your very best with everything you sense God calling you to do. Don’t compare yourself with anyone else, or compete with others. Understand that God has a unique plan for your life. Place your confidence in God Himself, rather than in the natural talents and spiritual gifts He has given you or the skills He has made it possible for you to learn. Be open to serving with humility in any way God leads you.
Invite God to use you every day. Be alert for opportunities for God to use you to accomplish His purposes each day. Realize that you don’t need to wait for a more exciting time or place to serve God; He can and will use you in the midst of mundane or difficult circumstances. Stay faithful, trusting that God will bring something of eternal value out of every situation in which you serve Him. Stay in close contact with God in prayer throughout every day, seeking His guidance and relying on His strength to help you. Whenever you sense God leading you to do something, obey right away, giving yourself completely to the work He has for you to do.
Be passionate. Fall in love with Jesus all over again, rediscovering the wonder of a relationship with Him. Evaluate your life to see if any other relationship (such as with another person, with your work, etc.) has encroached upon your relationship with Jesus as your top priority, and repent of whatever is hindering your intimacy with Him. Return to the excitement you felt right after beginning a relationship with Jesus, and express that passion when telling other people about Him. Remember the urgency of sharing your faith with others; every encounter you have with someone who doesn’t know Jesus might be the last opportunity that person has to embrace a relationship with Him. Ask Jesus to ignite your passion for His mission in the world.
Build the kind of legacy you want to leave. Keep in mind that the choices you make every day shape the legacy you’ll leave for others after you go to heaven. Ask God to help you live in a way that will inspire others to live faithful lives themselves. Be aware that others are watching you as you go about your daily life. Try to be the truth you want others to know and believe by practicing what you preach. Know that as others see you apply biblical truths to your life, they’ll be drawn to the faith that you authentically represent. Intentionally pass on spiritual lessons you’ve learned to others through discipleship and mentoring relationships. Ask God to use you as a channel through which to pour out His love into other people’s lives. Be willing to make sacrifices for the glory of God and the sake of others.
Get ready to meet Jesus face to face. Realize that you will be meeting Jesus Himself in heaven one day – and that day may come sooner than you think. Decide to use whatever time you have to grow in holiness so you’ll be prepared to meet your Savior. Whenever you recognize that you’ve committed a sin, confess it and turn away from it. If it helps, ask several people you trust to help you be accountable to the changes you’re trying to make. Strengthen your spiritual disciplines, such as regular Scripture reading. Seek counsel from others who can help you break patterns of sin in your life. Do whatever it takes to become more holy as you look forward to going to heaven.
Remain faithful to the end. Don’t allow disappointments or tragedies to cause you to become cynical and lose hope. Remember that what happens in you should not be determined by what happens to you. Expect God to use whatever happens to you to make your soul stronger and drive you closer to Jesus. Don’t give up; stay focused on your eternal destiny. Ask God to give you the strength you need to endure whatever suffering comes your way. Trust Jesus to carry your burdens, just as He took your sin upon Himself on the cross. Know that everything you must endure on Earth will be worthwhile when you’re rewarded in heaven by meeting Jesus face to face.
Adapted from For a Time We Cannot See: Living Today in Light of Heaven, copyright 2005 by Crawford Loritts, Jr. Published by Moody Publishers, Chicago, Ill., www.moodypublishers.com.
Crawford W. Loritts, Jr., who holds two doctorates, is the Associate Director of U.S Ministries at Campus Crusade for Christ in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the host of the daily radio program, Living a Legacy, and is a frequent conference speaker. He is also the author of six books, including Make it Home Before Dark, A Passionate Commitment, and Never Walk Away. Crawford and his wife live near Atlanta and have four children.