One of the best things about writing a book (or two, or three) is that you have the opportunity to share in your own words, important things you have learned, which can benefit other people. An outstanding example of this is the way “learning to think eternally,” as I describe it in my books, has changed the way I view the “tough seasons” we all face during our lives.
“Thinking eternally” is an incredible way to live. For me, it puts things into the clearest possible perspective, when we are looking for ways to cope with the various problems that can beset us at any time. Understanding that circumstances in our lives change in a similar way to how we have various seasons with respect to our weather, is a great advantage.What a lot of people understandably baulk at, is the advice given us by James, when he tells us to, “count it all joy when you fall into various trials.”
Which of us seriously does this?
At first glance, it sounds like a totally unreal demand, doesn’t it?
It’s not until you understand that James is giving us advice about what is actually a sequence God would have us work through and emerge from stronger for the experience and better equipped to handle future problems, do his words start to make any real sense.
I devoted quite a hefty portion of “Ultimate Journey” to explaining the wisdom of being patient during our tough seasons, thereby giving these important seasons in our lives full opportunity to complete the work in us that God has planned.
It’s so easy, when we find ourselves in the middle of a tough situation, to ask God to deliver us from the particular set of circumstances, on the grounds that we aren’t enjoying them and we want out.
This can “short circuit” the plan God has for us at that particular time in our lives and instead of learning from the situation, we forfeit the chance to learn from it.The result of this is that we miss an important opportunity to develop our faith.Even more seriously, by putting our own interests first, we are likely to frustrate the purposes of God.
I wouldn’t want to stand before God after having lived like this all my life.
It’s much better to understand what Paul the apostle said about these issues.
He described each difficult problem he was called to face during his life, as a “light affliction, which is but for a moment, and is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” (2 Corinthians 4 ; 17)
That’s a clear example to us that we need to “think eternally” in the face of our problems.
We need to “train” ourselves to do this. We can start by deciding to be obedient to God’s word….Let me explain how I do this. When a problem comes, I remember the words of James and tell God that I “count it all joy “ that I can benefit from the situation and emerge from it as “more than a conqueror.” That’s what the Bible says we can be….more than conquerors. We do more than win…. We plunder the enemy’s goods. That’s an Old Testament expression.
What it means for you and for me is this….our battles are actually spiritual in nature. Satan is trying to pull us down and leave us defeated. When we refuse to allow this to happen, by confessing that our God is stronger than the enemy and seeing our problem as a “light affliction,” we can emerge from the fight, not just as winners, but more than conquerors, because we have retaken ground the enemy thought was his.
This can be in the form of breaking a habit that formally kept us in bondage, or one of a hundred things, situations where the enemy would trip us up. But now, by determining to be patient, we have let patience have its perfect work in us and in this particular circumstance, our faith has made us complete, lacking nothing. (James 1 ; 4)
This is “thinking eternally” in a rubber hitting the road way. Instead of being overcome by the apparent difficulty of our problems in the short term, we overcome them by our faith.
This is long term thinking, rather than short term.
When we do this, we will be laying up for ourselves treasures in heaven, where our real citizenship is.