Eternal Perspective and Decision Making

The follower of Jesus Christ bases decisions on the Word of God and an eternal perspective.

The Christian is not to be conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of the mind, being taught scriptural and eternal truth. There is no way someone living life based on Scripture and eternity could have a life that looked like the world around them.

Much of scriptural truth for decision making can be summed up in two words: love and eternity. Do the thing that looks like Christ dying for sinners, and do the thing that will get eternal reward rather than temporal accolades. With these two simple concepts in the mind, decision making can be fairly simple.

Basing decisions on an eternal perspective might be harder to grasp than Gospel love. Love might be harder to do, thus making love appear more confusing than it is! But love, following the example of Christ’s death, is pretty simple, we just don’t like what we have to do, so we pretend it’s confusing!

Eternal thinking is hard to grasp. The best way to grasp it is to look at its opposite: Short term thinking. There are three examples of short term thinking that pop into my head immediately:

1. Get Rich Quick Schemes. These scams offer easy money with no labor and no time. You just send in the money and tons of money comes back. Easy. Easy fast money is possible, but it is unlikely. Even more unlikely is that your easy fast money won’t end you up in legal trouble.

2. Kids. Kids have no perspective on time, let alone eternity. Their decisions are made for the moment. That’s why they melt when there’s no more milk or they don’t get the candy bar. They have no concept of waiting. Everything has to happen now. They have not been on the earth long. Waiting until tomorrow is a large percentage of their entire lifetime! For someone who is 89, waiting for tomorrow is like nothing. Probably just sleep until it shows up. Kids have no concept of delayed gratification or how long time is. They routinely make stupid decisions. Car insurance premiums for a 16-year old is a case and point.

3. Government. Politicians promise the sky. They will do the immediate thing to gain some poll points, while selling the next generations down the river. But they don’t care. Election is in a couple years. Who cares what people will think of me 20 years from now or how terribly my policies that sound and feel good, will actually work out in reality. Politicians are always motivated by the election cycle. Countries always implode when politicians get more power. They will drive you into the ground and no one will win an election by telling people, “Hey, we have to quit giving you stuff.” Not going to happen. Laws and taxes will always increase, so will the spending. There is no coming back. Term limits guarantee short term thinking.

Eternal thinking is the opposite of these three examples. If you want to make better decisions, ones that will agree with Scripture, think about eternity. You will give an account to God for every deed done in the body. God rewards certain behavior. Delaying your payoff until eternity, until your next life, seems stupid here. Our world thinks after death we disappear. But we don’t. It’s appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgment.

Do you think of eternity when you spend your money, or how you earn it? Do you think of eternity in your relationships? Do you think of eternity in how you spend your time? Do you consider giving an account for what you’re about to do? Or are all your decisions based on immediacy and what will benefit me now?

The flesh thinks about short term gratification; the Spirit thinks about eternal reward. Sin is typically a knee-jerk reaction; walking in the Spirit involves discipline, thought, and sober mindedness. Sin is short term pleasure with long term hard consequences. Spiritual behavior is hard in the short term, but long term it has spectacular consequences.

Be careful not to get sucked into get rich quick schemes, not just financial either. There are get rich quick schemes about health, beauty, being cool, and even false teaching in spiritual areas. If it sounds too good to be true; it is.

Be careful not to get stuck in immaturity, acting like a kid with no concept of time. Kids don’t consider long term consequences; they just go for it in the now. This might seem cool, but if you live beyond your stupid decision, look for many long term harmful consequences.

Avoid politicians! Don’t get sucked into the political game. You will end up hating people and isolating yourself. You will get sucked into short term battles that will end relationships and get you sucked away from eternal perspectives. Politics is the ultimate conformity to the world. It’s where conformity is legalized. Be very careful with it.

We are here to make Christ-honoring decisions. You do this by living out the love of the Gospel and thinking of eternal reward. Think wisely with your renewed mind. If you do, you won’t have to worry about conformity to the world because the world bases decisions on selfishness and temporal gratification. That’s not who followers of Christ are. Fight that fight. Lay hold of eternal life.

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