How do I keep my focus on that which is lasting and most important?
It is hard for us, when we are studying for an exam, changing the baby’s diaper or closing a business deal, to give much thought to eternity. Most of the time, our focus is on doing the next thing — that which is right before us.
But King Solomon, to whom God gave great wisdom, said, “[God] has also set eternity in the hearts of men” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV). That is why, even in the press of the daily round, something deep within us calls out to understand the eternal — that which is lasting and most important. (This yearning, by the way, is evident in the search questions that have prompted people to read this study, such as “What is there after this life?”)
Our window into the eternal dimension is through the Bible. (By the way, I would question any source, other than the Bible, that says it knows what eternity is like, or what the future holds.) Jesus described eternal life this way: “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3).
The scriptures assert that the promise of eternity is as certain as the reality of this life. When Jesus said, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV), He was affirming a direct and immutable link between believing and eternity. When we give ourselves to Jesus, He joyfully and emphatically opens the way for us to be with Him forever. Eternity profoundly impacts our lives here on earth and on into the next life — life after death.
Our intimate and timeless unity with our Lord and our God is so wonderful, it infinitely overwhelms any price that is paid or any suffering that is endured in this life — even life itself! Eternity, including the next life, is what we were designed for, a truth the Apostle Paul embraced:
[He has] raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness towards us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6,7).
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body (Philippians 3:20,21).
If you have such a perspective — an eternal perspective — it will be your mainspring of true hope, giving you the stamina to persevere, whatever the trial. Paul said: ” … tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5: 3,4).
However rewarding or challenging your day-to-day life is, by comparison to God’s eternal purpose for us, it is but a moment, a vapor. Thank God that His plan for you is so much larger, so much more extraordinary than you can ever possibly imagine. He has, indeed, set eternity in your heart and will take infinite care that your deepest longings will be eternally fulfilled.