DISCLAIMER: This post is primarily directed for Christians.
If you have been a reader of any of these humble ramblings for any length of time, you know that many of my posts have been written out of what God has been teaching me about myself and about life, and I’ve wanted to share them with you in order that you can (hopefully) apply them to your lives as well.
This is probably one of the most significant posts I will ever make about what God has been teaching me, and probably one of the most challenging for me. Though I struggle with not being able to make an eternal impact for God sometimes, God has been constantly chipping away at my sinful Self to make sure it stays Dead and He stays alive in me.
Here’s what I have learned from God about how to make an eternal impact:
- In order to make an eternal impact, you must have an eternal perspective on life. Whether or not you have an eternal impact on people depends primarily on your attitude and perspective on life, and how you carry that out in your words and actions. For instance, a guest speaker at our church relayed to us a story about a guy on his campus (The guest speaker is the president of a school.) that was so entrenched in his video game that when asked by this guest speaker how he (the guy) was doing, the guy said, “I’m on level five.” This guest speaker aptly questioned this guy’s motives, saying something like, “Is the fact that the guy was on level five going to be remembered by people after he dies? Will the fact that the guy is on level five going to bring people to Christ? Is it going to encourage people?” The obvious answer to those questions is a firm “No.” The guest speaker* also warned us not to be distracted by minutia like that-Minutia being the stuff, while it can be good, distract us from a more eternal perspective on life. The guest speaker (and I, too) am not saying that we can’t ever discuss the temporal minutia stuff or that it doesn’t sometimes have its place in life. However, don’t make the temporal an idol or so important that you become obsessed with it! So, how do you focus on the eternal? God taught this to me in my most depressed, down-in-the-dumps moments of life. Think about how you want to be remembered after you die more. This is not to say, think about suicide! This is to say, however, to think about your legacy more, how you want to leave this world and how you want to impact this world. Also, think about God and heaven more, especially in times of distress or suffering. Don’t only think of God and heaven as a reprieve for suffering, but also for refocusing yourself on God and His current (good) plan for your life, even if you can’t see the good.
- Be willing to die to self and sacrifice for others. This is what God has been working through me for literally years, and probably will continue to do so until the day I die. I have found out that when you live completely for yourself that it is isolating and it starves your soul of connection and love. This is because the completely selfish person does not care or take into consideration the needs of others, and so cannot give love to others freely and beautifully as the person who cares about others. This is not to say that there are never times when you have to take care of yourself, but if you are completely enamored with caring for you alone, it will be isolating not only because you can’t (and won’t) give love to others, but also others are much less willing to give love to you. So, to combat that, be willing to die to self and practice being sacrificial even when it may not be “comfortable” for you. One way to do that is to dedicate your life to serving others without expecting others to repay you for what you have done for them. Another way is to love and serve your enemies. Do you have a difficult boss or co-worker (if you have a job), or do you have a family member that’s hard to get along with? Love and serve them. Write an encouraging note to them thanking them for any good qualities you see in them. Help them put away groceries. Serve a meal to them. Work hard for your boss. It’ s true that you may not get the recognition you want from them immediately (or ever), but Jesus says in Luke 6:35 (ESV-bold type mine) that, ” But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.”
- Be willing to learn new things everyday, including from your mistakes and moral failures (i.e sins). Have a teachable attitude (as I discussed in the last post about being humble. Read books on diverse topics; be willing to listen and to learn from other people other than yourself. Be willing to look at another’s perspective and find out why they think that way, not to refute them, but to understand from where they are coming. Invest in and learn about social justice issues like abortion, poverty, injustice (how to combat it of course), sex trafficking (and how to stop it of course), and the environment. If you have knowledge about diverse topics (I admit that I’m working on this still!), then you will be able to relate to more people and can integrate better Christ’s love for you and for them. Learning more about others and what they are interested in also shows that you care about what they like and about them as a person.
Hopefully, by some of these things will make your eternal impact more significant. Don’t be like Esau, who sold his birthright (eternal impact) for a single meal (temporal impact)! Make sure you are doing things that matter not only in this life, but also the next!
(*Guest speaker was Marty Marriott, president of Marantha Baptist University.*)