Our theme for this month: “A New Year, A New Beginning”
Our Bible verse for today: “Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:19-20 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Your spiritual growth impacts what your life in eternity will be like.”
As we’ve been considering New Year’s resolutions we could make that will help to improve our lives, I have argued that nothing in your life is more important than your spiritual growth, and no improvements you can make in your life will have a more profound impact on the overall quality of your life than will spiritual growth. That’s true for this lifetime (as was discussed yesterday), but it’s even truer for eternity.
Your spiritual growth will determine what your life will be like for eternity. That’s a truth that God communicates to us repeatedly all throughout the Bible – especially in the New Testament, and especially through the teachings of Jesus. In Matthew 6:19-20 above, the essence of Jesus’ point is that the spiritual growth you experience now, and the ways in which you serve God and others now, makes a difference for you for all eternity. He likened it to gathering treasure and storing it up in order to ensure a comfortable and secure future. He taught that when you engage in activities such as prayer, Bible study, acts of ministry, acts of compassion and mercy, etc., you are essentially making deposits into your account in the First National Bank of Heaven, and your investments will be waiting for you when you get there, to be enjoyed for all eternity.
In Matthew chapter twenty-five Jesus taught a parable about servants who were entrusted with various resources by the master, and then rewarded later based upon how well they used what had been entrusted to them. It was a metaphor for rewards in heaven. In 2 Corinthians chapter five, the Apostle Paul wrote about Christians appearing before the judgement seat of Christ so their actions in this lifetime can be evaluated, and the person rewarded accordingly.
The subject of rewards in heaven based upon our conduct in this lifetime is a common theme in Scripture and in some mysterious way, it will be applied to our eternal state by a holy and righteous God. One Bible college professor explained it this way: “All Christians will enjoy heaven to their maximum capacity, but we will not all have the same capacity. Capacity for spiritual awareness, and enjoyment in heaven, is developed in this lifetime. One Christian may arrive in heaven with the capacity of a fifty-gallon drum. That person will be filled to overflowing and fully enjoying heaven to their maximum capacity. Another may get there with the capacity of a pint container. He too will be filled to overflowing, enjoying heaven to his maximum capacity, but the two will have vastly different capacities.”
What an important truth: Your spiritual growth in this lifetime helps to determine what eternity will be like for you! If you needed motivation to make a New Year’s resolution regarding spiritual growth, I think this should be it!
Finally, in a kind of counterintuitive way, having the discipline to make and fulfill resolutions about spiritual growth actually creates a wonderful form of freedom for us. Tomorrow we will conclude our thinking about resolutions for spiritual growth, by thinking about the freedom spiritual growth will bring us.