A few weeks ago I was struck by a prayer at a funeral in which those praying indicated their desire to be with their dead relative, but did not desire death. As Christians who have an eternal hope, the thought of desiring this physical life over the coming eternal life is difficult to comprehend (I wrote an article on that subject last week, which you can read here). Consider this though: a person’s view of death (and subsequently life after death) impacts a person’s life.
Study varying cults, false religions, and even atheism. A short evaluation of how followers of each one views an afterlife and we can see how their view of a life after death will impact life before death. For some paradise in death is found based upon the functions that he or she fulfills in this life. Others see the value of their future life based upon the goodness they live in this life. A growing group sees no eternity at all and thus search for the greatest fulfillment they can find in this physical life.
The Christian view of death, informed by Scripture, is unique because it centers on someone other than ourselves. Eternity is fixated upon the glory of God through His Son Jesus Christ. No greater life can be found than to be living in the presence of our Lord and Savior and such a view of life after death generates influence into our lives in the following ways:
- Impacts Our Willingness to Evangelize: The Christian recognizes there are two options after death. One is far more grand than we could ever imagine and the other is far more devastating than we could ever imagine. Recognizing the devastating consequences of unbelief is eternity in hell, combined with a godly love for people, our desire to share God’s message with others in hopes that they to will find salvation from God’s righteous judgment.
- Impacts Our Willingness to Obey: Second, our view of eternity affects our willingness to obey our Lord. A right view of eternity places Christ in an exalted position over our life. To exalt Christ is to humble self, and thus our desire for self is replaced with a desire for Him.
- Impacts Our Willingness to Sin: Finally, there is no astonishment when the world grows more and more desirous of sin. When so many expect that after death there comes nothing, they seek to fill this life with as much pleasure as possible, and one of sin’s enticements is its pleasurableness. Yet there is a critical difference between pleasure and joy. While one is temporary, the other is lasting. Thus, pleasure requires constant replenishing, and results in the need for continual sin. For Christians who find everlasting joy in Christ, the enticement to sin is minimized. From an eternal perspective, we recognize the future joy that is to come, and thus there is no need to seek temporary pleasures here.
Thus, one’s perspective on death carries impact into life.
For many, the thought of death is an overwhelming concept that causes slight indications of fear. Many fail to give death the due consideration it deserves until a direct confrontation exists. Yet, superficial thoughts of death are almost never far off. As such, the perspective we have on death impacts our perspective on life, and the result is a lifestyle that follows that outlook.