"But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him." - 2 Peter 3:13-14
Well, here we are again. Another Monday. If you are from the midwest U.S., there's probably a ton of dirty snow on the ground outside your window and the wind is bitter cold. So far, it's been one of those mornings where the thought of staying in bed under the warmth of the covers is a tempting idea. The words of the sermon from church services yesterday are still fresh in our ears, bouncing around in our minds and beckoning us to wake up and do something productive.
But...wow, does that wind sound cold out there! The first rays of sunshine creep in through the curtains. The light flickers over our eyes like a half-dream and we try to close them, and then: "BEEP. BEEP. BEEP." The morning alarm dutifully wakes us for the day's work, even against our will.
As I made the coffee and got ready for the day this morning, I couldn't help but feel slightly convicted by my intense desire to keep sleeping. "Just five more minutes," I was thinking to myself as I hit the snooze-button on my alarm clock over and over. Honestly, though, what would five more minutes provide for me? It certainly wouldn't be any more proper sleep.
Further, what would five more minutes of sleep do to bring glory to God in the highest? Well...nothing. In fact, all it would do is potentially make me late to work and put me in a bad mood due to how rushed I was leaving home. As I drove to work, the sun rising in the east over the sparkling snow, I was reminded of this passage in 2 Peter 3. "But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him."
My conviction deepened as I savored the words. Was I "looking forward" to eternity as I struggled to get out of bed? Was I making "every effort" as I bitterly ate breakfast in a rush, dreading to go outside in the cold snow and drive to work? No, I was not. My perspective was not fixed upon the eternal salvation that Jesus Christ has secured for us. My heart was far from considering how to make every effort to be obedient to Him. The only thing I was considering was my need for more sleep. Seems a bit selfish, as I reflect.
In light of this passage, I could have chosen to wake up immediately and make breakfast for my wife. I could have had an hour to spend time in the Word and in prayer, instead of a rushed and unfocused 15 minutes. I could have spent some time planning for the day and figuring out how my time would be best spent while at work.
So, what difference does this passage in 2 Peter make to your Monday? Let me put it this way. If you fix your eyes on the promised hope of a new heaven and a new earth, consciously and intentionally, then you will most certainly not have any trouble bouncing out of bed and starting your day off righteously with the hopeful energy that His eternal love provides. If you are truly looking forward to Jesus' return and hastening His arrival, then you will indeed have the motivation to work tirelessly all day long in order to humbly serve those around you, and in order to eradicate any sinful tendencies in your life.
My favorite songwriter, Jon Foreman, wrote this compelling lyric: "Every breath is a second chance." I yearn and strive to live each day in such a way as to reflect my understanding of this concept. Every single moment of life that God gives to you on this earth is a gift from His hand. We should be thankful.
The cold wind is a gift. The dirty snow is a gift. The first rays of sunshine that creep through the curtains in the morning are a gift. The fact that the alarm clock woke me up in just enough time despite my snooze-button habit is a gift. All of it, each and every breath, is another chance to look forward to the blessed eternity that Jesus has promised and to make every effort we possibly can to live a life that is grounded in peaceful obedience to Him.
Friends, I pray that your Monday is a little bit more than average. I pray that you will join me this week in shaking off the dust and making every effort to work hard and be obedient to Christ. I pray that you will fix your eyes on eternity and lean upon Jesus as the source of your energy and life tomorrow morning, the morning after that, and every morning.
-written by Chase Cotten, Media Director at IDES