The Biggest Losers in Life
Author : Tom Graneau
We all have our “thing,” meaning a passion that helps frame our identity and gives us the drive to wake up in the morning and do what we want. For some, it is a hunger for money, control, and power; for some, it is Philanthropy; for some, it is the pursuit of fame and fortune; and for others, it is the commitment to a cause or an ideal. Often, these pursuits become the paradigm from which we interpret the meaning of life, and they end up being the source of our motivation.
Seen from this angle, the world that we know does not function by random events, but rather by ambitious people who are purposefully doing whatever is necessary to accomplish their goals. Seemingly, we all have a mission to achieve certain objectives, and we frequently do accomplish them, though not at the same time or at the same level.
But what if some of the things we’re driven to attain are nothing more than vanity when seen through the broad scope of life. Would we have a different mindset? Probably. What if the main thing that we need to achieve is often the one thing that is most neglected. Would we come to regret living in vain? It’s possible.
The scope of life
There are people who believe that life ends at death. In which case, the span of life stretches from birth to death and varies from one person to another. For example, according to the Social Security Administration, a man reaching 65 years old today can expect to live until age 84.3 years; a woman turning 65 can expect to live until age 86.6 years. For some, the end comes sooner or later.
Dreading the uncertain end, some people believe that life is short, and one has no time to waste. Therefore, the aim is to quickly achieve all the happiness and pleasure that life has to offer while it’s possible. Sadly, much of that means the pursuit of money that ultimately pays for our lifestyle and gives us the control and freedom that we so desperately desire. Hence, the rate race that keeps most of us stressed and exhausted by the end of each week.
When seen through spiritual lenses, however, life does not end at death. In fact, it is limitless. Though death, as we know it, is the end of life on earth, it is also a point of transformation. This is where the soul leaves the body and occupies the world of spirits where God is king and controls the fate of the righteous and unrighteous soul. In that medium, we retain all our individual identities and faculties (Luke 16:19-31), and life continues forever in heaven or hell.
Time without end
The concept of eternity is hard to fathom from a mortal standpoint. For instance, from a teenager’s perspective, living up to 80 or 90 years old seems like eternity. But for those who live that long, the period seems extremely short. “Where did the time go,” is a common mantra among older people as they highlight the brevity of their existence. Often, the saying is accompanied by a sobering tone that leaves lingering sadness in the heart after the words are spoken.
Real eternity, on the other hand, is incomprehensibly long. It is a timeless state of existence that follows death. It is the immortal state of human life, which is also known as the “afterlife.” There, the length of 90 or 110 years lived on this earth seems infinitesimal in comparison. It is as though the time we spend in this world is simply a preparatory period for eternity where “living long” makes sense.
Like it or not, the pathway from here to there is death. What is also unfortunate is that we cannot take anything with us on the journey: No material possessions; no money; no power or status; no fame, philosophy, or ideology; no political persuasion; no friends, family, or colleagues. The journey is private and at the end of it is the God of the universe who meets and greets everyone who desires entrance into his heavenly kingdom.
Away from all the politically correct influences in this life, each person will have the opportunity to make this journey…alone. At that moment, he or she will meet God who will dictate the person’s eternal fate. Unfortunately, the masses will hear his reverberating voice saying, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). This unfortunate pronouncement will be the judgement that will seal the fate of many in condemnation, the type that no supreme court on earth can undo.
The choice between heaven and hell
Knowing the difference between heaven and hell, everyone wants to go to heaven and no one wants to wind up in hell. But entering into heaven is not as simple as wishing to be there at the point of passing. Like any club on earth with stipulations for membership, God has established similar criteria for coming into his heavenly kingdom: A person must be born-again (John 3:3), which is a spiritual conversion that turns a sinner into a saint. This process transforms the human soul into a suitable object, holy enough to occupy God’s abode for timeless existence. People who choose to ignore this warning, believing that God will give them a free pass into heaven despite their unredeemed state will be disappointed. One simply needs to read the events of the Old Testament to see how he has dealt with mankind in his wrath through the ages.
Thus, the whole meaning of life is rather simple. It’s not about how much education we have or don’t have; it is not about how much material possessions we can accumulate; it is not about how much money, power, fame, and control we have or don’t have. It’s about choosing the outcome of our spiritual destiny, which is where life’s enduring existence has meaning. Jesus said it this way: “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).
Seemingly, while we view human life in one way, God sees it in another. For instances, our general tendency is to focus on the value of the body: Its health, appeal, desires, etc. By doing so, we get a sense of self-worth in comparison to others. God, on the other hand, looks at us not in terms of how beautiful or handsome we are, or how much prosperity we have acquired in this life, but rather in terms of spiritual value. From his standpoint, the value of the soul is not only priceless, but also irreplaceable. Thus, the greatest tragedy in life is to ignore its worth for the things of this world, which are all superficial in nature.
At the same time, God is not blind about our needs. In fact, he sends us blessings every day to assist with effort of survival and success. Nevertheless, he has encouraged us to subjugate worldly interests in view of what can be gained in the next phase of life: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” said Jesus, “and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). The phrase “these things” refers to our worldly affairs: Higher education, material possessions, wealth, and so forth. It’s not that he sees no value in them, but he knows that they can distort our priorities to the point of turning us into losers at the end of this life.
The greatest tragedy
In light of all this, consider the following perspective: There are tragedies that make deep physical and emotional impressions on us. Some are incomprehensibly painful. However, none will be as tragic as having attained great wealth and notoriety in this life, leaving everything behind at the point of death, and ending up in a tormented environment for eternity. The people who experience this outcome will, in fact, be the biggest losers in life.
My hope is that you won’t let this happen to you unless it is the course you choose for yourself.
God, one the other hand, hopes that you will make the right choice between heaven and hell. Since your soul is yours to keep long after you leave this earth, he holds you accountable for guarding it well by making the right decision to save it from the clutches of the enemy—the Devil. To learn more about our adversary and his devious plot to destroy you, consider reading The Devil in Modern Eden.
Christian or not, your job is to capture the spiritual reality of your most priceless possession—your soul. This means that you must seize the essence of its eternal value and protect it with your life. Doing so necessitates some practical disciplines, which are listed below:
- Personalize God’s sacrifice on the cross. Bring it into your present circumstances and make it yours by repenting of your sins.
- See yourself as a fortunate human being who has the choice to live in eternal bliss with God for eternity.
- Picture the glamour and fame of this life as temporal conditions, the means through which the enemy can entice you and eventually snatch your soul through the process of bargaining.
- Always visualize the Devil behind every enticing opportunity that caters to the flesh, including the various mundane distractions that could potentially keep you away from God and heaven.
Finally, decide—once and for all—to make heaven your eternal resting place. The choice should be made before passing.
What are your thoughts on the matter?
Do you believe that it’s easy to get distracted by worldly interests and forfeit your opportunity to enter heaven? What are you doing to maintain a good balance between heavenly and earthly interests?
If you believe that the Devil is only a symbol of evil…think again.
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