I guess there are some atheists out there who believe that people of faith are just gritting their teeth and tolerating this nauseating existence before going on to unending glory in the life to come.
But from my perspective as a follower of Jesus (whom serious Christians believe is God’s divine Son), atheists and Christians have “life before death” as a common belief.
Let me make this as clear as possible: while life after death is of supreme importance, life BEFORE death is just as significant.
How can I write that? Consider these words of Jesus, recorded in a section of the Bible called ‘John’: “I came to give life—life that is full and good.”
He’s not talking about life after death; He’s talking about life RIGHT NOW.
So what does that mean?
1. Life becomes full and good because you’ve join a worldwide movement of believers. So you don’t have to make a go of it solo. You can attend a church, read the Bible, regularly pray with (and for) others and support each other through good times and bad.
2. Life becomes full and good because you have a new power that helps you set aside the meaningless, superficial priorities of our culture and focus on what’s truly important.
So you are put on a path to stop worrying about whether you have a new car, the latest smartphone and the biggest flat-screen TV. You stop looking to your mate or your friends to give you happiness because you realize that happiness comes through following Jesus.
3. Life becomes full and good because you have a pathway to becoming truly generous. It’s no longer about getting a charitable tax break or seeking something in return when you give. It’s about being Christ’s ambassador in a world most of us are willing to admit isn’t doing very well.
4. Life become full and good when you realize that the 70-odd years most of us spend on this planet is merely a blip in time compared to the eternity Christ followers have in Heaven with Jesus.
The blessing of that perspective means we no longer have to put so much stake in every good or bad thing that happens to us in this life. We see the bigger picture and it changes everything.
5. Life become full and good because you realize that Jesus died to make up for all the wrong things you’ve done and the right things you’ve failed to do. So the burden of guilt and shame is lifted from you; God sees you as He sees His Son: perfect in every way.
(This essay highlights an amazing example of the power of God’s forgiveness: http://wp.me/p2wzRb-6K.)
Now I’m not going to sugar-coat this and claim followers of Jesus float on a cloud of bliss. In another part of ‘John’, Jesus tells His followers “In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world!”
That means the world doesn’t automatically have the final say on your life. If you decide to follower Jesus, then HE has the final say. And that final say is glorious.
What do you think? Post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.