Jesus could return any day. His eternal kingdom could come at any moment.
In a world with endless enticements, it can be difficult to live in light of God’s eternal kingdom. We get so distracted by what we go through on a daily basis that living intentionally for our King can become an afterthought.
As Christians, we must live in light of God’s future kingdom while combatting the world’s endless temporary pleasures. If we are going to live faithfully, we must have eternity in mind every day. God has redeemed us, not so we can simply sit and wait. He redeemed us so we can live like kingdom people.
There are several avenues in which we can live in light of eternity.
Evangelize the Lost
If we really believe what we say we believe about heaven and hell, we will evangelize. If we believe the truths of Scripture, we will be compelled to share the good news of Jesus Christ with this lost and dying world. Evangelism reveals that we’re living in light of the eternal kingdom. The culture may consider those who share their faith as bigoted proselytizers, but we know we have the favor of the Lord. Regardless of the response, we need to push through the vitriol by God’s grace and keep proclaiming his gospel!
You may have heard Penn Jillete’s surprising comments about evangelizing the lost. The atheist remarked that he doesn’t respect Christians who don’t evangelize:
How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that? If I believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that a truck was coming at you and you didn’t believe it, and that truck was bearing down on you, there’s a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that. (quoted by Jonathan Dodson in The Unbelievable Gospel)
Jillete gets it. The world needs to know about the gospel, and they will only believe it if we share it (Rom. 10).
Evangelism is a wonderful means of grace for sanctification. As we share our faith, God uses each encounter to grow us and mold us into his Son’s image. When you obey the Great Commission, even when you fumble your words, you are still obeying the Lord.
Read Your Bible
Allow me to give you an analogy. Becoming a Christian and living in light of God’s kingdom should look similar to a man proposing to his girlfriend and then waiting for the wedding day.
Evangelism is a wonderful means of grace for sanctification. As we share our faith, God uses each encounter to grow us and mold us into his Son’s image.
Once you propose to your girlfriend (assuming she says yes), you would be remiss if you ceased from pursuing her. Just because you proposed doesn’t mean you stop learning more about her. Quite honestly, it should mean you’re even more eager to know her!
So it should be with Christians awaiting God’s kingdom. Some Christians think that once God saves us, we don’t need to learn more about him. The deal is done. The “save the dates” have all been mailed. Nothing to worry about.
But we should not think that way. When God saves you, he transforms your affections. You will want to pursue him even more!
How do we do this? How can we know God more? By reading the Bible—God’s Word! Reading our Bibles propels us to live in light of eternity as we eagerly await the day we will see God face-to-face in Christ.
Commit to a Local Church
The local church gives us a glimpse of this, a sweet taste of what we will experience in the fullness of God’s kingdom.
Perhaps you are a Christian who is wary about becoming a member of a church. Why might that be? If you don’t like church, it’s quite possible you won’t like heaven either. Why would you enjoy heaven—where you will be surrounded by Christians forever—if you don’t enjoy the church right now?
Perhaps you say, “The church is made up of sinners,” and you use this as an excuse not to attend. The only problem is that you are a sinner too. We all are. Of course, this is a problem we face on earth, but in heaven this won’t be a problem. In heaven, all God’s people will be sanctified and perfected, made righteous and beautiful in a way that they never were on earth. The beauty of heaven is that God will bring all types of people from all different backgrounds as a gift to his Son, all united by a common interest: the glory of God!
As we wait longingly for glory, let’s see the best in our brothers and sisters in Christ and remember that Christ redeemed them too.
Don’t despise the church simply because it’s imperfect. It’s the most beautiful thing in the world.
We should love the church despite the flaws, ultimately, because God ordained it. Despite the pain you may experience, despite the hurt others may cause, there is sweet fellowship to be had. The church is the means God ordained to use for you to grow more into the image of his Son (Rom. 8:29). Don’t despise the church simply because it’s imperfect. It’s the most beautiful thing in the world. Christ brings in people from every tribe, tongue, and nation to be a part of God’s kingdom (Rev. 5:9). The church is God’s church, and we should long to be a part of it.
Fight Your Sin
As we seek to live in light of God’s everlasting kingdom, we should look to Paul’s weighty but important words in Romans: “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Rom. 8:13).
There will be no sin in the kingdom of God. In light of this, we must see fighting our sin now as an integral part of Christian life and a way to live in light of God’s kingdom. It shows outsiders that we’re different, allowing us to give witness to the one who helps us to fight our sin.
Fighting sin reveals we are longing for the future kingdom. It reveals we love God, who will dwell with us for all eternity. If we don’t battle sin it gives evidence that we may not be ready for God’s kingdom.
Living in Light of His Kingdom
I follow someone on Twitter who tweets the following each day: “Christian, we’re one day closer to heaven.” This is true, and reminds us to move the focus of our hearts from our own kingdoms to God’s kingdom, where there will be no more sorrow, tears, or sadness—only joy, peace, and sinlessness.
In the meantime, by the Spirit’s power, let’s live like we’re eagerly awaiting that kingdom! Let’s live as though his kingdom is a mere day away. Let’s live like we will see Christ face-to-face tomorrow.
As we expect Christ’s coming, let’s glorify God by seeking to bring the glory of his kingdom to earth.
This article was originally published on Gospel-Centered Discipleship.