Test yourself against this message by John Piper. I find in myself the need to continually resist valuing gifts over the Giver. God is the satisfaction of the human soul: not money, not power, not relationships, not anything. The Bible is full of people who suffered greatly and lived very simple lives. How were they able to pass up earthly pleasures? They believed that serving God and sacrificing for God would be worth it in the end, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18).
This is where Americans are often held up. We act as if this life were our end goal. So we accumulate as much as we can and experience as much as we can, all the while neglecting things that will matter for eternity. Many Christians affirm Jesus is the most important part of their lives. But a surface level observation of time management reflects various entertainments are really on the throne of their hearts.
I’m challenged by these words by Scottish Presbyterian theologian Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661), “I urge upon you…a near communion with Christ and a growing communion. There are curtains to be drawn by in Christ that we never saw, and new foldings of love in him. I despair that ever I shall win to the far end of that love, there are so many plies in it; therefore dig deep, and sweat, and labour, and take pains for him, and set by so much time in the day for him as you can: he will be won with labour.” I can’t help but wonder if Rutherford would have had television in his home. Setting aside as much time as possible for communion with Christ probably wouldn’t have allowed much time for it.
The work of the Christian life can take on many forms, but it must always be sustained by a passionate pursuit of Jesus. We must believe there is more knowledge and enjoyment of him to be chased down and embraced. Christians that don’t know how to enjoy Christ won’t be able to suffer for him, resist sin, or love offers sacrificially. We need more of Jesus, for without him we can do nothing (John 15:5b).
Only one life, it will soon be passed, only what’s done for Christ will last.