By Leonard Lauraiult
An article I read recently mentioned that we’re to provide evidence of our relationship with God to everyone in our spheres of influence (The Lookout, Standard Publishing, Cincinnati, OH, 2/22/15, p. 13). As I considered that statement, I recalled that a few years ago, I described my life as a 5-ring circus because of everything that was going on at the time. Each ring had its own little “act” that was somewhat independent of the other rings although they were interconnected. They were interconnected, in part, because I was involved and, while no one involved was totally innocent, including me, I wasn’t the ringleader because the turmoil wasn’t at my direction (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:5-9). I was, rather, just running around the outsides of those rings (running in circles) much like the guy with the pooper-scooper who tries to keep the messes cleaned up.
There’s a difference between circles, which are two-dimensional, and spheres, which are three-dimensional. Without God, our relationship to other people is two-dimensional and not eternally beneficial. Nonetheless, although most people live for the present and use their rings of influence for short-lived pleasures, even using others for their own advantage, God has set eternity in everyone’s heart (Jude 1:16; Hebrews 11:24-27; Ecclesiastes 3:10-11). That is, pretty much everyone wants to live forever, free of pain, troubles, and guilt. Because this is a fallen world, life here includes all of those for every person to some degree, but the afterlife won’t include them if it’s spent with God (Genesis 3:16-19; James 1:2-4; Revelation 21:1-4). The alternative will be much less pleasant than life in this present world (Revelation 20:10-15).
That reminds me of a pet food (I think) commercial on TV now suggesting that everyone wants a long life because the alternative isn’t so pleasant (although, the commercial developers probably didn’t consider the eternal perspective) and we should want that long life for our pets as well. For Christians, the alternative to a long life here is definitely better and we should want that for our friends as well. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we want to shorten our life here, however, because God has things for us to do, including using our spheres of influence to draw others to him (Revelation 2:10; Ephesians 2:10; 2 Corinthians 5:1-11; Philippians 1:20-26; 2 Peter 3:8-9; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16).
Life with God can often seem like a circus, although God adds the third dimension and holds everything together (Psalm 75:3; Romans 8:28). But life without him IS a circus, being merely two-dimensional and full of commotion. To benefit from God’s sphere of influence and have an opportunity to lead others from our two-dimensional circle of influence into the three-dimensional sphere of God’s influence where they can enjoy the afterlife with God, our life now has to show evidence beyond any doubt that we have an appropriate relationship with God (Matthew 5:14-16; John 15:9-14; 2 Corinthians 4:5-7; 1 Peter 2:11-12; 14-16; Luke 6:8-9).
Does that describe your life?
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org