In the UK there is rising instability with mortgage rates, the value of the pound and pension fund values. Then there is the everyday cost of living crisis, which everyone is feeling the impact of, and undoubtedly many people will have intense worry about the possibility of losing things they once enjoyed.
What perspective should I have, as a Christian, when faced with this current situation? Well, as with every circumstance of life, God’s Word teaches me how I should think and where my desires should be centred. Like a great sat nav it shows me the route I should be on. My mind, affections and will need this constant instruction and reminder.
Recently I have been studying the letter to the Hebrews. The author spends a considerable amount of time showing the reader the superiority of the Lord Jesus and all the blessings that the believer has in Him. As he urges the reader not to turn back to Judaism we could be forgiven for thinking that the original recipients were somewhat “flaky”. However when we come to Chapter 10 we read this testimony of them:
“But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven” (Hebrews 10:32-34).
Because of their faith in, and commitment to, the Lord Jesus they had undergone suffering, public humiliation, and the loss of earthly goods. However you will notice that they “joyfully accepted” the plundering of their goods. In our day it seems as though we will do anything to keep hold of our possessions, and the thought of losing them can bring sleepless nights and deep worry lines. “How”, we might well ask, “did they come to joyfully accept the plundering of their goods?” The answer is not difficult to find but is tough to apply. They knew that they had “a better and an enduring possession . . . in heaven.”
These original recipients of the letter to the Hebrews are a shining example to every believer of what it means to have faith in what God has promised His people. Instead of fixing their hopes on, and finding their satisfaction in, the material and transient riches of this world, they looked to the spiritual and eternal riches that they could not lose. All that they would inherit was of far greater value than anything in this present world.
Just to be clear, God does, in His grace, give His people earthly possessions that they can enjoy and with which they can glorify Him. The problems come when we have disordered affections. If our love and devotion for the possessions we have in this world outweighs the love we have for that which we will inherit, it will impact us. Our thoughts and actions will be focused on retaining or increasing what we have here rather than enjoying what God has laid up for us.
May all God’s people have affections that are ordered correctly.
We can learn from what Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
In reading those words my prayer was that I would have the same perspective. May I realise that anything suffered here is “light affliction” compared to the “eternal weight of glory”.
In a transitory world of great uncertainty God wants His people to focus on that which is better, eternal, and certain.