What is going to matter in the end?

What is going to matter in the end?

As we come to the end of another year, many of us are a little reflective. We look back on what has happened in the past year. For some, it will be eventful; perhaps we moved jobs, countries, or graduated to a new stage of life. For others, it will have been uneventful; we did much what we did the year before. Other than being a year older, not much has changed. As we consider these things and look forward to what 2020 might bring for us, we should make sure we are thinking like Christians. Our faith in Jesus must impact what we plan for and how we assess whether it has been a good year or not.

After all, we know that God is real and that he owns the world and us. We know that if we are believers, God has given his Son to save us, to adopt us, to promise us a glorious future of being in God’s family rather than under God’s judgement. That changes our priorities. It means our top priority is serving our Father well in response to our salvation. It also means that we know that we are heading for a wonderful eternal future, not just trying to accumulate things and experiences in this life.

The apostle Peter puts this memorably in his second letter:

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

 11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!

 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. (2 Pet. 3:10-14 ESV)

In an eternal perspective, it will not matter if you lose a few kilograms in 2020, or if you save a few thousand dollars, or if you travel to 3 different countries. It will not matter if your children are better at playing the violin or swimming. It will not even matter what job you do or whether you get good marks in your studies.

Peter draws our attention to what will matter and what we should work on now:

  • A life of holiness and godliness

We need to work on our holiness and godliness. That means we should actively strive to be more like Jesus. Not wishing it would happen while we focus on other things. This means intentionally cultivating habits we know please God and seeking to serve God better.

  • Waiting for the coming of the day of God

One day, Jesus will return, and the world will end. We should pray for this, not dread it because it will get in the way of our plans in 2020. Waiting means waiting actively, seeking it, and rearranging our priorities in light of it.

  • Being diligent to have no spot or blemish

We all have various sins in our lives that we know about. We need to work on stopping them, through prayers of confession and request, with help from others, with avoiding certain situations, and through replacing sinful habits with godly ones. We want to have dealt with some known sins well by the end of 2020; that will be a worthy thing to aim for and plan towards.

  • Being at peace; cultivating contentment

Planning only for material things, for an improved house or a nicer holiday, only breeds discontent. God has given us so much. We need to thank God more. We need to realise that if our materialistic plans don’t happen, that’s OK.

The new year is upon us. Don’t look to the new year like someone who doesn’t know Jesus. Let’s work on our holiness and godliness in 2020; we are one year closer to meeting our Father, and we want to be as ready as we can be.