If you will allow me, I would like to return to this subject of the transitory and temporal, for not only is it a topic that weighs heavy on my heart, but it seems to be the focus of some of the followers of Christ these days also, though sadly not near enough. Something that is transitory could be as simple as the weather today, the crops that were planted yesterday and harvested tomorrow, or even our lives, the things that are fleeting and in a sense of the word have no eternal substance. The weather tomorrow or the next day will change, even if it is only by a few degrees, and, granted, over the seasons it will differ greatly in many parts of the planet, the four seasons that the Lord has determined for the earth to go through each year are relatively constant, and as long as there is an earth, there will be seasons. (Gen. 8:22) The crops that are planted will be harvested, processed and ultimately consumed, then when the planting time arrives again, the cycle will continue. The animals that are raised for our consumption will bear young, they will not see old age, they are bred for one purpose, and as all animals are, they are under the dominion of man. (Gen. 1:26)
Man himself, whether he has accepted the fact or not, is under the dominion of Almighty God, in whom all have their breath and substances, (Job 33:4) on whom He has determined that the rain will fall on the just and unjust, (Matt. 5:45) and to whom all, save those that will be caught up in the rapture, (1st Thess. 4:17) shall return to dust. (Gen. 3:19)
The temporal, that which is, but still will not be, is as fleeting as the transitory, but since we are creatures stuck, as it were, in a linear timeline, they for some seem to be almost eternal, at least in the minds of those that do not know of the things of God, to those who only allow their minds to be fixated upon the world. There are trees around the earth that are hundreds, some even thousands of years old, the age of the earth has always been a debatable topic, yet all would agree that it has been here a very long time, and if we search out beyond our own small planet, we can easily see that an individual man is barely worth mentioning in comparison with time and the immensity of creation, we are but a blip on the screen. Yet for the vast majority of mankind, this is where they live and have their being, in the transitory and temporal, each moment of time, every passing second is viewed as important, as something that must be captured, conquered and used with both precision and great care, for each of them know that their time is limited.
God has placed into the hearts of every soul eternity, (Eccl. 3:11) the third if you will of the trinity of time, transitory, temporal and eternal, and it is the eternal that those who do not fear God fear the most. They are quite aware of the passing of time, but unlike animals that do not know that their existence here on earth will end, man is acutely aware of this fact, yet he will hide from it constantly, and although he can easily see it all around him, he will continue to deny within himself that he too must face the fact of finality. From the flowers that are thrown into the fire, (Luke 12:28) even unto the end of this heaven and earth, (Isa. 65:17) the Scriptures are clear, all things created by our Lord will have an end, save for angels, demons and the souls of men.
Even without the Word of God residing within them, the lost are well aware of death, but unlike the children of God, they see imminent doom, not eternal life in Christ, and so they hide in the transitory and temporal. The fear of death and the unknown ‘other side’ when they ponder it places them in a position of terror that those who have been saved by the grace of God can barely remember, for though we savor and rejoice in this life that He has blessed us with, we know that our Lord lives, and for us “to live is Christ, to die is gain, (Phil. 1:21) death holds no sting for us.
What then are we to think of those who profess Christ to the outside world, yet spend the vast majority of their lives in the transitory, concerning themselves with the passing things of this world that hold no eternal value, with those items in life that were here yesterday, and unless a drastic event happens either in or around their lives, will be here tomorrow. What of that individual that you meet on a regular basis who watches the weather so much that you don’t need to, for he informs you of it daily, but can’t tell you on Wednesday what the sermon was about the previous Sunday. How about that person that informs you about all the local community news, and much of the gossip associated with it, but never seems to be concerned or even asks about your spiritual walk. Why are so many who call themselves Christians these days concerned only, or mostly, with the things of the world and not the things of God. I cannot count the number of times on either a Christian program on the radio or from those behind some of the pulpits that tell us how fast paced the world is today, how much of our time is consumed by what we are told is important and immediate, how couples and families are having a difficult time finding time for each other, much less the Word of God.
We have stopped, for the most part, seeking the kingdom of God first, (Matt. 6:33) many are focused on themselves instead of others and the love of many because of these actions, or inactions, has grown cold. (Matt. 24:12) These individuals are filled with excuses and have them ready at every occasion for any that will ask of them why they are doing what they are doing. There are still those that are begging for these people to put down their cell phones, to turn off the television, to set at a meal together and discuss the things of God, and not the transitory events that occurred in their lives that day, yet many of these pleas seem to be falling on deaf ears. Satans plan is working perfectly, make the transitory seem more important than the eternal, get them to believe that what they are doing, what “needs” to be done has value, even that they themselves are more important than God and the commandments of Christ.
I asked a friend of mine who is a pastor a few days ago how one can continue to live in the transitory while knowing that there is nothing eternal in the vast majority of what we do each day, how do we live the Christian life not thinking that a good part of our existence is a waste of time. His response was, “Just like everybody else, one day at a time.” While I respect this man very much, perhaps he did not have the time to discuss the issue further, it seemed to me to be a rather fatalist view, as if there were no other way, so you might as well get used to it. I would contend differently, and although I do not mean it to be placed in the same context as the fellowship of Christs suffering, though it may be similar to a cross that we must bear, I believe that we can only live in this transitory and temporal world by the enabling of the Holy Spirit.
When Christ said “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you?” (Matt. 17:17) was He implying that He was getting fed up with being around all of those who had seen the majesty of God within Him and the miracles He had been ceaselessly performing, yet still lacked faith, or was He indicating that He just wanted to go back home and be in the Fathers presence again.
I must admit, it is a daily struggle for me to remain here, to have to walk through this molasses of time, to constantly have to fulfill the needs of the flesh, food, water, clothing, housing, to arrive at a certain time to a certain place to accomplish a task that will not last for eternity, that will ‘need’ to be done again tomorrow and the next day in one form or another, but I am more sorrowful for those “brute beast” (2nd Peter 2:12) who do all of this on a daily basis and call it life, call it living.
If you are a child of God, where is your value system, on the transitory or the eternal, are the things you do on a daily basis really needs, or wants, have you placed yourself in a position financially where you have become a slave to the lender, (Prov. 22:7) are you purchasing more and more items for your children and acquiescing to their demands to try to prove to them that you love them, are you searching out the things of this world almost daily so you will feel rewarded for your efforts in the transitory, not realizing that all those things in themselves are transitory as well, that they will fade away and need to be replaced with the next new thing.
Do you know where your Bible is, are you aware of the heartfelt spiritual needs of your family and those that call you friend, do you know how to tell someone about the eternal hope that is Jesus Christ, or are you more concerned with your next car payment and what time you need to charge your phone. You must search within yourself here my friends, God is not going to ask you any questions about one single thing that had to do with all of those transitory things that you did or accomplished here on earth, not one, but He will want to know what you did about the eternal while you were here in the transitory. He is not concerned, though He is pleased, with how many Scripture verses you memorized, but He will want to know how you applied them for His glory, He will not care so much about the deeds you did, but He will be very interested about the intent of your heart when you did them.
Man has only one purpose in this life, to fear God and keep His commandments, (Eccl. 12:13) nothing else you have ever done throughout your entire life will be of any consequence, no matter how much you applied yourself to it, if it was not done for the glory of God, for the kingdom of heaven, and for the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. Your life is coming to an end and you will have to give an account before Christ for how you spent it.
Stop seeking the transitory things of life, and start seeking the eternal, ask to be filled with the knowledge of His will, and that every single thing that you do from here on will be for His glory.