'Sometimes people ask us if we're scared, living in the inner city,' say Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove. 'We usually reply with something like, "We're more afraid of shopping malls." The Scriptures say we should not fear those things which can destroy the body, but we are to fear that which can destroy the soul (Matthew 10.28).'
Paul Tripp says: 'Jesus demands everything, not just so we would submit to his control, but to free us from the control of things that were never designed to control us.'[Tim Chester, in The Ordinary Hero - living the cross and the resurrection.]
Someone mentioned on the phone to me recently the death from cancer of a prominent Christian leader in his fifties. She described it as a tragedy. But his death wasn't a tragedy. It was certainly a loss to his family, friends and the wider church. But it wasn't a tragedy. It was gain. Let me tell you what is a tragedy: Someone who gets a good education, secures a well-paid job, buys a house in a nice area, marries and has children, and ensures his children get a good education, so the cycle can begin again. Someone who treats Christ as a hobby or an insurance against hell. Someone who leaves behind and rusting car and children who've been trained to be self-indulgent. Someone with no gospel legacy. That's the tragedy.
- What did you do yesterday for your present comfort or security? What did you do yesterday for God's future?
- What did you do last week because you saw an advert or you saw something someone else had? What did you do last week because of your confidence in God's promises?
- What will you do tomorrow to store up treasure on earth? What will you do tomorrow to store up treasure in heaven?
- When did you last take a risk for God? What did you risk?
- Hebrews 11.25 says the pleasures of sin last only for a short time. Psalm 16.11 says that at God's right hand 'are eternal pleasures'. What gives you pleasure? Is that pleasure fleeting or forever?
- Death separates us from every source of happiness except Jesus. Can you say with Paul that 'to die is gain' (Philippians 1.21) because Jesus is your ultimate joy?
- What about big life decisions you've made? Your job? Your home? Your relationships? Did you make them on the basis of God's promises for the future?
- What about the decisions you're facing now? What would it mean to make them on the basis of God's promise for the future?