Clarity, as we have been describing it, is a true perspective on life. While there are countless private interpretations regarding the meaning of existence, and the road to self-fulfillment, there is only one true perspective. This is the window of the Bible. Only by seeing our lives from the point of view of divine revelation do we come to understand where we have come from, where things are going, and how to get from the labryinth of daily life to final bliss.
Attaining clarity is essential to discipleship. Among the many benefits conferred by clarity is motivation. Motivationally, the Christian life is impossible without an eternal perspective. We will never forgo the praise of earthly men until we believe in the praise of a Heavenly Father. We will never relinquish temporary reward until we are convinced of eternal treasure. We will never submit to injustice until we believe in final justice. We will never sacrifice our bodies in painful service to God until we believe that God will resurrect our bodies to everlasting joy.
Consider the following thought experiment: what would happen to a group of professional athletes if suddenly they discovered that, first, there would be no championship at the end of the season and, second, that no one would be paid for his work? Would Lebron James or Tiger Woods continue to train with the same intensity if they thought that no one was keeping score, if they imagined that no one was watching, if they believed that all of their performances would be forgotten as quickly as an impromptu game at the playground? Of course not. Without worthy incentives, the fountain of effort dries up.
There is a truth to glean from this regarding the Christian life. God does not ask us to be altruistic. He asks us to be true. He asks us to use just measures and accurate weights so that we avoid wasting our lives accumulating dross when we could be investing in gold. Men need to be convinced of this. They need to be reminded as constantly of the brevity of life, and of the incentives of eternity, as they are of the false advertisements of this world.
But how do we do this? Here are three suggestions.
First, meditate on New Testament passages that focus the attention on the return of Christ and the Day of Judgment. There is no more powerful incentive to use time, talent, and money well than a reminder that Jesus will judge everything and that, on that day, our works will either be like straw burned in fire or like gold, silver, and precious jewels that adorn a lasting temple (c.f. I Cor. 3:10-15).
Second, read and re-read Pilgrim’s Progress. The wonder of the book is that we are able to see a complete life from the vantage point of the Celestial City. Do you think that Christian upon arriving to the City had any regrets about not spending more time in the City of Destruction, or not lingering to peruse a few more stalls in Vanity Fair? Would Christian reproach himself for not having ticked off another item from his bucket-list before leaving the ghetto of his past life? No, the thought is ludicrous. Any Christian who could make a second journey through this valley of tears would only run harder, sacrifice more, and fight more fiercely the temptations of the devil, world, and flesh.
Third, watch this 90 second video.
Questions for Small Groups/Self-Reflection
Why do you think that Jesus’ mentions heavenly treasure so often in the Sermon on the Mount?
Read I Cor. 3:10-15. How should this passage change the agenda of life? What is the stuff that will be of no value on the Day of Judgment? What is the stuff that will be of permanent value?
The Christian life demands that we feel a sense of urgency, that we feel as if the time is short (I Cor. 7:29). How do we maintain this spirit of urgency in the modern world?
What is your reaction to the video clip in the link above?