Living For What Lasts {Day 16}

1 Peter 4

Only one life, twill soon be past; Only what's done for Christ will last :: CT Stud

(Day 16 in our study of 1 Peter - 1 Peter 4:3-6)

Each day we are given 24 hours, 1440 minutes or 86,400 seconds. That seems like so many, but in reality, at the end of each day I can only remember a few things I did. Usually what I remember is what mattered (which is a small percentage of time), and what I can't remember were tiny things that didn't matter in the scheme of things. How many minutes and seconds do I waste striving after worldly things that will fade away, worrying about things not in my control and being discontent with the things God has given me?

At the moment I am writing this, I have been alive 8,996 days. It is perspective-changing to see that number. The fact is, God has already determined our days and they are written in his book. He knows how long we will be on this earth. He knows what has happened in your life and what is to come. We serve a God who knows absolutely everything, from the amount of dust particles swirling around the air to the path of the whales in the sea. He sees the microscopic creature and he holds the stars in place. Even more, he doesn't have days! He is not bound by time. As a matter of fact, he has no beginning and no end. We are not God. We have a beginning and we have an end. It's the in-between that we must do everything we can to make the most of. We are called to live for what lasts. 1 Peter 4:3-6 reminds us that everything in this world won't last, but only the Gospel will and what is done for the Lord. 

"For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw--each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done." ~1 Corinthians 3:11-13 (emphasis mine)

Bangalore, 2013Amy Carmichael, missionary to southern India, vowed at a young age (before her missionary life overseas began) to "no longer waste time on things that weren’t important in God’s eyesWhen all the things she’d done in her life were finally judged by God, she wanted them to be found worthwhile. She wanted them to be seen as gold and silver, not hay and stubble." I recently finished her biography, A Chance To Die, and was encouraged and challenged to weigh all of my actions and things that I do by the measuring scale of 1 Corinthians 3:11-13. Will this last? Is this a thing that is gold, silver and precious stones? Or is it wood, hay and straw that will be consumed in the judgment fire to come?

These questions have been changing my life and my days. Each morning I wake up and have another day, I seek to ask the Lord what he would want me to do (which is usually different from my plans). What will last? Can we truly live a life of gold, silver and precious stones? In searching God's Love Letter to us, I've found a few that I am striving to live by:

  • Prayer. Of all the things that are important in my day, prayer usually gets pushed down lower on the list. Prayer requires we stop, listen and believe God for who he is. It also doesn't produce immediate change, but it can. For those of us who are "go-getters", this can be hard to understand. However, we must grasp this truth to behold the riches of our Savior. He taught us how to pray, told us to pray at all times and promised that if we pray, we will see mountains moved. Prayer will last and will change our lives to become Jesus-centered.
  • Scripture, It Is Well CardsScripture. I am a reader. I love reading non-fiction books and learning new things. But no words compare or have life like the words of Scripture! Psalm 119:9-11 tells us to seek God's word and his commandments with our whole heart and to store his word in our inmost beings. What is in our heart will be reflected in our lives. If I have jealousy and pride in my heart, that is what my life will look like. If I have a deep, satisfying, fervent love for Jesus and his word, my life will be full of joy and purpose! I want my mind to know Scripture and live by it, even when I don't have a Bible with me.
  • The Gospel. Most importantly, the gospel will last. If I live my life by the gospel, around the gospel and for the gospel, everything I do will be for the sake of others and for the glory of God. Living my life for the gospel requires me to see others as God sees them and to share his truth with them. We have True Life, the Answer to a world in need. We have to share it!
  • Praise & Worship. Praising the Lord is the core of a believer. Praise in the good. Praise in the bad. Praise in the in-between. The more my mouth is filled with praise, the more I understand my purpose is to bring glory to God, not myself. Even the mundane things in life can be done with an attitude of worship that lasts for the Kingdom! This has changed my perspective with the simple things, like cooking, cleaning and going to the grocery store. There isn't an are of life that can't be worshipful to Jesus! These are the things that last.
  • Missions/Service. Serving others, acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly before God will last. As a matter of fact, Jeremiah 9:24 tells us that God delights in "steadfast love, justice and righteousness." The more we center our days on serving those around us, caring for the poor, widow, orphan, needy, lost, sojourner, and hurting, the more we will see that our actions will last for the kingdom.
  • Relationships. Jesus served others. He ate with people, taught them, encouraged them, loved them. He wasn't focused on getting things done (other than the will of His Father). His focus was on the kingdom of God. It is so easy to get sidetracked in life. We get focused on doing things and not on loving others. Things will fade away. Businesses will not always exist. Clothing will go out of season. Cars will die. There are so many things we pursue that won't last, but relationships will. Let's love others fully and deeply like Christ has loved us. 

"If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire." ~1 Corinthians 3:14-15

There are also things that won't last. This is just a brief list, but I think you will agree with me on these things:

  • Worry
  • Comparison
  • Money
  • Doubt
  • Envy
  • Jealousy
  • Resentment
  • Discontentment
  • Worldly possessions
  • Lust
  • Anger
  • Bitterness
  • Self-Centeredness

There are so many more things that could be added to both lists, but my point is, we don't have much time. We only have one life that goes by quickly! We aren't promised tomorrow or the end of today. What things in your life will last? What won't? And how can we change the purpose of our days to center around the gospel of Jesus?

Only one life, the still small voice, Gently pleads for a better choice Bidding me selfish aims to leave, And to God’s holy will to cleave; Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.

~CT Stud

Seeking to live for what lasts,

Gretchen