Materialism Clutters Our Lives
"Looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells." -2 Peter 3:12-13, emphasis added
Because materialism clutters our lives, we are so covered over with the things of life that bog us down that we fail to realize nothing here is going to last forever. That fact ought to discourage materialism and encourage us to live expectantly, as Peter said above.
Committing everything we have to Christ will make us build with fireproof materials. While we lived in California, we saw that grass fires would throw sparks on wood roofs and burn houses down. The residents there soon learned that they could not use wood shingle roofs, so they switched to tile shingles that look similar but are made of fireproof material. They are heavier, last longer, and yet they won't burn. Scripture says that we are living on the edge of a swift fire that is racing toward us. Therefore we ought to be conscientiously building our life with fireproof materials. All that is solely for use on earth is temporary, but anything elevated from its earthly use and given to Christ will last forever. And that is exciting!
Some people get discouraged if they can't find a parking place, the TV isn't working, or if they are picked on at school or at work. Now compare those small inconveniences with living every day in the dark, by torch light, in a sewer. That is what the Christians did during the great persecutions in Rome. When I take a tour group to Rome, we visit one of the most incredible spots in the city. Next to the Coliseum, about forty feet underground, are the catacombs-the garbage and sewer system of the Coliseum. Those drainage systems provided a safe haven for the Christians because no one wanted to come after them there. At night, after their loved ones had been martyred in the games, these believers would climb up the storm sewers, push off the lid, gather up any remains, and carry them back to the catacombs to be buried in niches in the rocks.
What would keep a person going during such great tribulation? The only way to endure adversity of that nature is to not look down, but up for Christ. Now apply that to today's ominous times: I am not looking for the Antichrist or the mark of the beast-I am looking for Jesus! That is the only way you can really live abundantly in this present life.
There are those who believe that Bible prophecy is simply trying to figure out what the mark of the beast is, and who is going to get it. But the Bible says that we should not be concerned with that. The whole purpose of Bible prophecy is not to sell books and make charts, but to make us expectant of Christ's return. Materialism, however, clouds our eyes so that we can't see clearly enough to look up expectantly. We must therefore learn to develop an enduringly hopeful life-and live purely: "Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless" (2 Peter 3:14).
Keep looking up because your redemption is near! That hope is why the Apostle Paul said that our citizenship is in heaven, and that is why the early Christians made it through such horrific persecution.
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