My Grace-Full Life

12.14.19 Praise & Prayer Prompt: Temporary vs. Eternal

PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• I am a big believer in the power of social media. I think it’s an incredible ministry tool, but I also think it’s an essential business tool. And as such, I am on social media a lot, specifically Facebook and Instagram. I refuse to use Twitter, though. The writer in me cannot handle truncated spelling and limited character space.

But as valuable as I think social media is, there’s one trend that I cannot stand, and I don’t make it a practice to do—stories. They drive me crazy. I don’t like watching them because 1) I usually feel like I’m walking into the middle of a conversation or a private joke. 2) I’m not always in a place that I can or want to listen to sound. 3) The design for most of them is a train wreck. I get emojis, but the artwork and visual overload on many of these stories take me back to the ’80s and the whole Lisa Frank phenomenon of overwhelming garish images and technicolor. And 4) the speed—either they are ridiculously slow (how many times do you want me to read this?) or so fast that I can’t keep up (and I’m a fast reader, so that’s saying something). There’s either too much content and not enough time, or there’s so much content everywhere, I don’t know where to start.

But the biggest reason I don’t like stories—I cannot understand investing so much time in something that is temporary. Yes, I know you can save them. But they are designed to disappear after 24 hours, and that can add up to an insane amount of work for something that won’t last very long. 

I know, I know—I should really learn how to form an opinion, right??

So, if you were ever curious about why MGFL doesn’t do stories—there you go. I don’t like them. I’d rather create graphics that last.

Despite my disdain for stories, I do recognize the appeal, and I think it goes back to the whole microwave mentality of our society. We want it hot. We want it fast. We want it now—instantaneous results. Even if the quality is lacking or if the results are temporary—that’s what we want. We tend to be more interested in the moment than in the long term. 

That’s all well and good if that’s your thing on social media and in the kitchen, but we have to be cautious that this attitude doesn’t carry over to more meaningful matters. 

Colossians 3:2 reminds us, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (ESV). This is a reminder to think ahead to the eternal life we’re promised through Jesus because the earth is temporary. 

Scripture also reminds us of how temporary the world is. 2 Peter 3:11-12a says, “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God” (ESV).

And all this is summed up in what Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 4:7b-8 ESV, “Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

So my questions today are these: are you focused more on the temporary or long-lasting? What matters more to you—comfort now or the promises of the life in heaven? Are you more interested in doing things your way or God’s way?

Unfortunately, we have a lot of preachers who want to focus on both. But I promised not to go on another rant this week, so I’ll leave the topic of prosperity preaching alone except to say—if you are listening to a preacher who tells you that God wants to bless you with riches and a great life, find another preacher. Jesus said, “In THIS life you WILL have trouble” (John 16:33, emphasis mine). God is far more interested in your character than your comfort. Anyone who says otherwise isn’t preaching the Bible.

I know I’m going against the grain. Here we are at Christmas time… the season of giving gifts that we hope the recipient will be delighted to receive. And yet, the greatest gift we can be given isn’t one that is designed to be placed on a shelf and only picked up on Sundays. And it certainly isn’t temporary.

Jesus arrived as the greatest gift for all mankind. It’s a present that anyone who wants it can have it, and it doesn’t matter how much money they have or education or what they’ve done—the gift of Jesus is for everyone. And it’s the only gift we can ever be given that we can take with us when our temporary lives are over, and this temporary world ends.

So when you’re worried about the here and now, ask yourself this question… does this issue have eternal significance? Then pray about it. Let God direct you in whether it’s worth your temporary efforts or if it’s something that is lasting.

Today, as you pray, thank God for being eternal. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you focus on eternal matters and be less concerned with the temporary. Ask Him to guide you and help you make every moment meaningful and purposeful for the kingdom that is to come!

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