Friday, March 8, 2013

Living with an Eternal Perspective: Eternal Attitude Test

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

Let me give you a test for determining whether or not you are living with an eternal perspective: How do you feel about the Lord's return? This is an acid test that will determine whether you are in love with the world or the Lord.

The attitude of the person who is in love with the world can best be expressed in these words: "I want the Lord to return, but..." There is always a "but."

  • "I want the Lord to return, but I want Him to come after I have made a million dollars."

  • "I want the Lord to come, but I want Him to come after I've written a great novel."

  • "I want the Lord to come, but I want Him to come after I've made the cover of Time."

  • "I want the Lord to come, but I want Him to come after I've built a great church."

  • "I want the Lord to come, but I want Him to come after I'm 85 years old and have experienced all that life has to offer."

What these people are really saying is, "I want Jesus to come, but I don't want Him messing up my life!" They are in love with the world.

You see, when you are in love with someone, you want to be with them. That's a fact of life. Watch people who have just fallen in love. They want to be with each other all the time. When they are apart, they are constantly on the phone talking about when they will be together again!

The same is true of the Lord. If you truly love Jesus, you will want to be with Him. You will talk with Him in prayer. You will fellowship with Him in His Word and in worship. But these forms of communication will never satisfy your longing to be in His presence, to have personal, intimate fellowship with Him, face to face.

You will be like Paul, willing to stay on in this world serving the Lord, but yearning for the day when you will be united with Him, either through death or His return (2 Corinthians 5:8 and Philippians 1:23-24).


A Practical Suggestion

I suggest that the next time you let your eternal perspective slip, remember Psalm 73 and read it. When you finish, reverse the numbers and go to Psalm 37. There you will find a powerful summary of what Asaph learned. It is a psalm of Asaph's mentor, King David.

David says, "Do not fret because of evildoers... for they will wither quickly like the grass and fade like the green herb" (verses 1-2). He tells us what to do instead: "Trust in the Lord, and do good... delight yourself in the Lord" (verses 3-4). Over and over again he warns us not to fret over evildoers, for he says the day will come when they will be "cut off" (verse 9). In contrast, "those who wait upon the Lord" shall "inherit the earth" (verse 9).


What is Your Attitude?

Are you focused on this world? Are you attached to it, or do you have a sense of the fact that you are only passing through, heading for an eternal home?

This life is transitory. This life is only a prelude to eternity. The song writer, Tillit S. Teddlie, put it all in perspective when he wrote:6

Earth holds no treasures
But perish with using,
However precious they be;
Yet there's a country
To which I am going:
Heaven holds all to me.
Why should I long
For the world with its sorrows,
When in that home o'er the sea,
Millions are singing
The wonderful story?
Heaven holds all to me.
Heaven holds all to me,
Brighter its glory will be;
Joy without measure
Will be my treasure:
Heaven holds all to me.

There is a more contemporary song that sums up the whole essence of what it means to live with an eternal perspective:7

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth
Will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

A number of years ago I was given the blessing of meeting a great man of God named Leonard Ravenhill, a prophetic preacher from England. After our meeting, we corresponded briefly. Right before he died, in the last letter he sent me, he enclosed a small card containing a brief, one sentence message. He urged me to memorize the message and live it daily.

That was July of 1988. I still have the card. It is worn and tattered because I have made it a point to keep it in my shirt pocket at all times. The message printed on it is simple but profound: "Lord, keep me eternity conscious."


Notes

6) Tillit S. Teddlie, "Heaven Holds All for Me," public domain.

7) Helen H. Lemmel, "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus," © 1922, renewed 1950 by Singspiration, Inc.

This article is abbreviated from a chapter contained in Dr. Reagan's book, Living for Christ in the End Times.

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