As I climb up the last steps of childhood, pushing through the final blocks of high school final exams, I have often found myself asking the question, “What am I going to do now?”
The journey so far has been like trekking up a hill where the horizon on the other side is endless with opportunities and new things to discover. I’m now at the point in my life where I get to stand back and admire just how vast and diverse life’s different pathways are. From where I stand, some have gone on to win Nobel Prizes, to become world leaders, to love a family, to be a friend.
Both fears and excitements press me in this stage of life. At times, I worry, “Where will my pathway take me?” Other times, I am excited at the wonderful things God must have in store.
God’s Plan and a Future White-Picket Fence
As Christians, our life’s purpose and goal have been set out by our Creator from the beginning. Ephesians tells us how we were chosen before the creation of the world (Ephesians 1:4), redeemed in Christ’s blood (Ephesians 1:7), and given an inheritance of future glory with God himself (Ephesians 1:11). As for our lives today on earth, God has prepared for us good works to walk in (Ephesians 2:10).
This seems wonderful, doesn’t it? God has a plan; we’ve been redeemed. We could just sit back and daydream about our future white-picket-fence, happy family, and early retirement. Or, if you’re a bit more spiritual, then maybe you can sit back and daydream about your future fruitful ministry, peaceful Sunday mornings, and church camaraderie.
All is well and good until we ask the question, “What is God’s definition of ‘good works’?”
Ephesians’ conclusion might surprise you—war.
The moment we give our lives to Christ, by nature, we enlist in cosmic spiritual warfare. While angels rejoice in heaven, Satan and his devils roar in hatred, rounding their determination and self-will to encumber Christians and humiliate God all the more.
You see, if we think that the Christian finds their joy in the blessings they receive hereafter, we have already fallen into one of Satan’s sly snares. Whether those blessings are physical or spiritual, if we become Christians to enjoy a white-picket-fence or a fruitful ministry, we have completely missed the point.
God longs for us to enjoy the source of the blessings, namely, himself. God longs for us to return to him, abide in him, obey him, and ultimately glorify him. This is our ultimate end. Because of this, war rages around us. God longs for us to return to him, abide in him, obey him, and ultimately glorify him. This is our ultimate end. Because of this, war rages around us. Click To Tweet
Satan desires to disgrace God. Although he knows that Christ has ultimately won and Christians are ultimately God’s, he will break his back to conjure up any lie so that Christians waste their temporal life and bring shame to the grace God has lavished.
Our daily Christian life is a constant battle to glorify God and exalt his grace through our obedience and continual surrender to him. The ‘good works’ God has prepared are good works to fight off a life dishonoring God and defend a life that testifies to the wonders of God’s indescribable saving grace.
A Soldier’s Mindset
Pondering upon the future, I have been reminded of Paul’s advice to his successor in ministry, Timothy.
“Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.” – 2 Timothy 2:3-4
Although we do not know exactly where God will take us in the future, we must set our minds to please him wherever he leads. As soldiers in God’s army, whether God leads us to win Nobel prizes, become world leaders, start a family or just be a friend, we must remember our spiritual reality. Our lives–today, until we die–will either glorify God or dishonor him. As soldiers in God’s army we must remember our spiritual reality. Our lives--today, until we die--will either glorify God or dishonor him. Click To Tweet
As we are called to war in the future, worry, excitement, and a fluctuation of wild emotions are inevitable. Nonetheless, we are not called to fight in our own strength, nor are we called to fight alone. To the Ephesian church, Paul says, “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might” (Ephesians 6:10). Notice how as a church, a community of believers, we rely on God, who is already victorious. In Christ, evil is defeated, and in Christ, God is ultimately glorified. Both our future and our battle is safe in his hands
Who then will don the armor and equip themselves for a life glorifying God? No matter what pathway God will take us down in the future, may we find ourselves saying with Paul at the end of the road, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).