Saturday, November 21, 2009

Here or there?

I was thinking today about how so many people use Jesus' life as a path to heaven. Although I'm not negating that that is one aspect of what Jesus' life was supposed to serve as, I often think we are missing the point. What is our conception of heaven? Traditionally we think of it as the afterlife. A place we go when we die after, hopefully, living a good life. Catholics look at it in terms of rules, that if you don't follow them and confess when you fail, you will lose your salvation. Again completely based on our own personal gain/lives. I think we are missing a bigger picture here. I have been asked before whether or not I think I am going to go to heaven more than the next person because of my belief. I answered honestly, "I don't know." How poor and pathetic would my faith in God be if I though I had all these answers. The purpose of my faith is that I don't have to have all the answers HE does. And I am much to miniscule an entity to think that I would know whom God would poor his amazing grace over. If I am measured by that unforgiving of a scale then I am screwed.

But back to Jesus' life. I asked my sister once, "What if you're wrong" in reference to the choices she has made in life to live according to the Gospel to the best of her ability. She shrugged her shoulders and said,"Then I have been able to live a beautiful life and that alone would be a great reward." I agree. I see people everyday who refuse to acknowledge God's presence in their lives, the work Jesus did, and what that can do to enrich our lives here and now today. If I use Jesus as a model, a mentor, etc. then my life only serves to enrich the lives of others which, amazingly, in turn enriches my own. This brings about a state of incredible happiness, peace, and my heart is filled with love. The closest to Heaven on earth I can get.

When I turn from this way of life I confront misery head on. A living Hell on earth if you will. Jesus shouldn't be used as a tool to gain/earn salvation so that "we" are OK. That is such a self centered goal. Jesus' life should be viewed as a way to make the world a better place than before we were here. If someone said what's the point, especially if there is no heaven/after life. To that I would say that the people you leave behind see a lot of point to it. I have to keep pounding it into my head that it's NOT ABOUT ME. Everything He has done is for His glory, my glory isn't important, it's not how I was designed, and I know what because every time I try to do something for my glory I come up unfulfilled, but when my purpose is in Him, it is more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.

Take Martin Luther King for example. Look at the work He did, look how he used Christ as a compass, look at the good he left behind for us, for our progress and peace. Now if you said that there is no after life would we all have to sit here and agree then that there was no point to MLK's life? I would beg just the opposite, that the whole point to his life was what he was able to accomplish here. Now, I personally believe in an afterlife, but I truly have no idea of what to expect from it, the only clue that God has given me at all is the overwhelming joy I feel in my heart when I am filled with Him. I pray that this is the kind of feeling, only magnified, I would have were I able to go to Heaven. But I don't look at Heaven as a place to earn, or as a "reason" to do the things I do to serve the Lord. I do them because I know they are right, and good, and true, and the blessed gift He gives me back is a contentment in my life here, as close to Heaven on earth as I can get.

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