I’m telling you again: have joy from knowing God! I can say it again because I know it helps to hear it over and over again. Watch out for people who do evil while they are on earth. Because we know God, we don’t have to worry about what happens to our bodies here on earth. We don’t need to depend on having lots of accomplishments and success on earth, although I personally could depend on that.
I have lots of success and accomplishments on earth, and I was even born into success. My parents dedicated me to God when I was eight days old, and I am from the tribe of Benjamin, born as a Jew. I grew up to become a religious leader, and I know the law extremely well. I’ve been trained in it and I felt very strongly about it – strongly enough to hurt people, throw them in jail, and even be glad that they died. I felt like the law should be held and that Jesus’s followers were breaking it. And I would never, ever have broken it. So looking at things like that, I was a perfect rule follower and never a law breaker.
But that doesn’t even matter now, because I know the truth about Jesus, and I am willing to give up everything else to do what the Holy Spirit tells me to do. Nothing else is even worth anything to me. All of that other knowledge I have doesn’t even matter, because knowing Jesus is so much better. All that other stuff that was success before is garbage to me now, because all that matters to me is that Jesus died for me, which made me even more good and even more holy and it covers up any of the law breaking that I might have done better than I could ever cover it up myself! More than anything, I want to know Jesus – his power (he was raised from the dead!), his suffering, dying like he did, and then he gives me the power to overcome death, too! I get to live forever because of my faith in Christ!
I haven’t become perfect yet. I haven’t reached my goal. But I am going to keep pushing hard to get to my goal. I will hold on to the things that Jesus grabbed for me. I haven’t gotten them yet. But I will do one thing: I will let go of what I’ve done before and instead keeping working toward what is in front of me. I will keep pushing hard to get to my goal, because my prize is eternal life with Jesus.
If you are mature – that is, if you think things through like a smart grown-up would – you should look at your life this way, too. If you aren’t sure about some parts of it, God will help you understand better. But let’s live up to the awesomeness of our faith, because we already have that, even though we aren’t with Jesus in heaven quite yet.
So come together as a perfect team, brothers and sisters in Christ, and use what we have done as a model to copy. Live like we have lived. It makes me cry to think about it, but many people still live as God’s enemies. They will be destroyed, they can only think of filling their lives with the things they want the most, and when light shines on their success, that’s all they’ll have, and they’ll come up empty. They can only think of the things of earth. But instead of being citizens of earth, we are citizens of heaven. So we wait with excitement to see Jesus again – he is going to come take us home! He has God’s power to be in control of everything, and he can change us from our messed up selves into a holy body like His.