“By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with God’s people than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.” (Hebrews 11:24-25 NIV)
For much of my working life, I have been around prisoners. I thank God for the experience. It has helped me understand how to better live in the present. Today is an opportunity to work, to learn and to grow–or perhaps to endure. If there is a moment of enjoyment, I try to take it in. Prison and fun are contradictions. When an inmate does not want to leave life behind bars, something is wrong.
The prisoner who struggles most is the hedonistic and self-absorbed. Another miserable bunch are the men who feel entitled. (The food is terrible, the bed is not soft enough, my family should be sending me money, people don’t treat me well, etc.) Prisoners who manage to thrive have accepted their situation and resolved to make the most of it.
I encourage believers to see the balance of this age as more like a prison than a palace.
I love to relate prophecy to the present. I encourage believers to see the balance of this age as more like a prison than a palace. Observing current events should bear this out. “Love not the world” is a command from heaven. Everything in this world is passing away. Instead of seeing our existence as a pleasure cruise, determine to endure hardship like a good soldier. Make the most out of the time between now and when Jesus returns. Don’t just think “survive”, think “thrive”.
(During the Vietnam Conflict, I remember wishing my army drill sergeant would be more sensitive about my feelings. Sgt. Butler made it clear; he wasn’t my mother. His job was to make me tougher. In order to survive whatever I faced, he could not pamper me.)
“In this world you shall have tribulation” are words directly from Jesus, our Commander-in-Chief. It is not in the here-and-now that we are to pursue comforts. We would be wise to pursue service–even difficult, sacrificial service.
“…the endless quest for self-gratification or vain ambitions is a mere chasing after the wind…”
If we are enjoying this dying world, something is wrong that needs corrected. There are certainly things to delight in, but the endless quest for self-gratification or vain ambitions is a mere chasing after the wind–in short, it is meaningless.
Moses saw the opportunity to suffer along with God’s people and by faith he seized it. If we are enjoying this present time, we may be hitching our lives to the temporal. We need to look beyond our lives and show love to the hurting. Promised “pleasures forevermore” implies God’s true rewards come later, not with retirement, but after our work is done.