The Christian Life in a Nutshell: Past, Present, Future
Ever heard the phrase “the Christian life”? Everyone lives physically, but those who choose to follow Jesus come alive spiritually. And we live for him and his purposes, answering to him as Savior, friend, and King.
If you want a synopsis of what the Christian life looks like, Paul lays it out as he writes to the ancient church in Thessalonica…
And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia, for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God. We don’t need to tell them about it, for they keep talking about the wonderful welcome you gave us and how you turned away from idols to serve the living and true God. And they speak of how you are looking forward to the coming of God’s Son from heaven—Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment. – 1 Thessalonians 1:8-10 NLT
To be a Christian means that you’ve turned in repentance and faith, from idolatry to Jesus. From all of the Jesus-substitutes that can never heal us, forgive us, or satisfy us – and that can only doom us. From self-worship, self-interest, and self-reliance to dependence upon the One who can alone forgive our sin, heal our souls, and change our eternal trajectory.
To be a Christian means that you serve the living and true God. You’re bound by immense gratitude to Him because of the awesome work of grace He has done in your life. What or whom else is there to live for, really? You’re His, bought with a price, and He is yours, pledged to you and guaranteed by the down payment of the Holy Spirit in your life.
To be a Christians means you wait for His Son from heaven. Death is momentary and God’s wrath toward you has been extinguished by the very blood of Christ. So now you wait, not passively as though life is a bus stop, but actively living for his coming. You may feel that you’ve waited so long that he will never arrive, but his timing is not yours. He is indeed coming. He has an appointment he is absolutely bound to keep. So hope never dies. Your waiting will not be in vain. He’s on his way.
That’s the Christian life… you’ve turned from idols… you serve the living God… you wait for Jesus’ return. Everything else you experience and struggle with fits under one of these headings. There are still some things to leave behind in that pile of old idols. There is more adventure awaiting you as your life serves his purposes. And there is more to look forward to in eternity than you could ever imagine!