I am reminded of an incident that occurred in my life several years ago. A dear friend of mine whom I had taught with in a Texas college called me one day and told me he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
"The doctor has given me only six months to live," he reported.
I told him I was very sorry to hear the news, and I promised to pray for him and his family. Then, I added, "But keep in mind, I may be dead before you."
"Oh? Do you have cancer too?" he asked.
"No," I responded, "it's just that I do not have the promise of even one day of life, much less six months."
We all tend to live like we are going to live forever, when the fact is that we are all mortal and can die at any moment from a thousand different causes, natural or accidental.
Ironically, the Bible tells us that we are to live like we are going to live forever — but not on this earth. We are to live in preparation for eternity, hopefully an eternity with God.
"...he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal." Jesus in John 12:25.
Most likely you are a born-again believer who has given serious thought to eternity, but who finds it difficult to maintain an eternal perspective. You repeatedly find yourself caught up with the problems of life, and the result is stress, anxiety, and even depression.
Living with an eternal perspective is one of the keys to living as an overcomer. It is a virtue that is going to become increasingly important as society continues to disintegrate and Christians come under increasing attack.
What is the secret to maintaining an eternal perspective? Much of the answer lies in your attitude about this world.
Your Attitude Toward the World
Stop for a moment and think. What is your attitude about this world? Are you enthusiastic about it? Or do you feel uncomfortable with it? Do you love the world? Or do you often feel alienated from it? Are you at home in this world? Or do you feel like a stranger?
There's an old Negro spiritual song that always challenges me to examine my attitude toward the world. The first verse goes as follows:4
This world is not my home,
I'm just a passing through.
My treasures are laid up
Somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me
From heaven's open door,
And I can't feel at home
In this world anymore.
Do those words express your feeling about this world? What word would you use to summarize your feeling? Zealous? Anxious? Enamored? Estranged? Are you comfortable or do you feel ill-at-ease?
In the third part of this series on living with an eternal perspective, I will explain why I hate this world, and see if Jesus and the Apostles agree.
4) Albert Brumley, "This World is Not My Home (I'm Just A Passing Thru)," a Negro spiritual of unknown origin arranged by Albert E. Brumley. Arrangement © by Albert E. Brumley.