Living for Eternity

Before I found my way to putting up my own chemicals company 18 years ago, I had to work through the maze of odd jobs. The last two trained me rigorously in sales and marketing (the last one, being a combination of my ChE profession and marketing, put me exactly at the heart of my fervent dreams and shaped my future in business). I believe I was born an entrepreneur (I had been doing business since grade school ūüėÄ ). One of the slogans I learned in those rigid seminars and trainings in sales and marketing was to “dress the part.” Later on, as my company soared to great heights of success, I didn’t only dress the part, but also learned to play the part of a young, successful business-and-careerwoman. And did it in style as I acquired worldly wealth, which a successful career woman must possess. This I learned in the world I lived in.

living_for_eternity

There is this unwritten code of proving one’s success and showing it off to the world by the things we do and possess. Golds, pearls, and diamonds must adorn us. We get obsessed with signature fashion. There is a higher standard (often really painful to the pockets) we put into the brands we wear and patronize. There must be¬†a trip or two abroad every year and vacations on holidays. A sedan isn’t good enough (unless it’s a BMW), it must be an SUV. The kids must go to a prestigious private school. Ateneo or La Salle wouldn’t disappoint when mentioned to friends.¬†And so on as success rolls in and competition heats up.

Playing the part. That’s what people of the world learn and do.

Even the average Filipino family would want to sport the latest Apple product. IT’S A STATEMENT.

It’s not a bad thing to want to improve one’s standing in life – good education and financial and material prosperity and stability – and attain it through hardwork and diligence and belief in God and oneself. I myself advocate these things.¬†But we do it to bring some measure of security, comfort, contentment, and happiness to our lives, not to be enslaved by any of¬†it or a source of pride.

For all that¬†is¬†in the world‚ÄĒthe lust¬†of¬†the flesh, the lust¬†of¬†the eyes, and the¬†pride¬†of¬†life‚ÄĒis not¬†of¬†the Father but is¬†of¬†the world. (1 John 2:16)

In the world, the wanting and attaining and competing never seem to have an end. Such was my life before Jesus.¬†But when I gave my life to Him, everything changed. The words of Apostle Paul have become true for me:¬†…It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the¬†life¬†which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me¬†(Gal. 2:20).

All the golds, pearls, and diamonds had to go. Our Church, Jesus Miracle Crusade International Ministry, bans the wearing of jewelries. Others may say this is legalism, but for me, it’s liberation from covetousness. If you have the means and there is no teaching against wearing of jewelries, you can’t seem to stop accumulating. I had felt the “high” it brought and even at the peak¬†of my worldliness, I knew it wasn’t right and I felt guilty as sin. The Bible says that covetousness (or greed)¬†is idolatry.¬†I’m thankful¬†that there is actually a teaching on this matter which our Church upholds (see 1 Tim. 2:9-10).

So I lost¬†that glitzy and glamorous¬†lifestyle and Apostle Paul’s words became my own:

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him… (Phil. 3:7-9). 

As is proper among saints, therefore, we must not be consumed with worldly desires and possessions but be continually enriched by the Word. I can say for myself that my life is richer because of the Word.

Living the life that impacts eternity requires being centered¬†on the spirit and not on the flesh and its desires. It is the spirit that¬†dwells in the realm of God’s kingdom. We can only¬†“worship God in spirit and in truth”,¬†never outside of it.¬†The apostle Paul says it best:

For¬†those who live according to the flesh set their minds on¬†the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on¬†the things of the Spirit.¬†For to set¬†the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.¬†For the mind that is set on the flesh is¬†hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law;¬†indeed, it cannot. (Rom. 8:5-7 ESV)

To set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. In another place, we are taught to set our mind on things above, not on things on the earth… (Col. 3:2). For the things above are eternal.¬†This should be our compass whenever we face the temptation to desire material things and pleasures that are outside of our grasp and God’s will.

But I know that there are Christians who still struggle seriously in this regard (I still do with a few things). They still have a bit of the worldly mindset or are influenced by it especially via Facebook, harboring¬†deep desires for the things the rest of the world¬†enjoys. If they won’t have them, they feel like they are being left behind.

Facebook brings all these objects of desire together effortlessly and makes it easier for those who have to compare and continue to compete, and for those who have not, to wallow in envy and discontent.

If we really consider it, if we really go down to what is¬†essential: Does standing beside the Eiffel Tower really bring us lasting happiness? I mean, what of it, if only ANOTHER STATEMENT? It’s okay if God blesses us with such travels. But if not, we should not be too desirous of them (note: preaching to self :) ).

How about grand parties? I was already¬†a born-again Christian when I saw the grand debut of the daughter of a rich and famous local celebrity and I thought, “These things aren’t for us anymore.” I instinctively thought that the life of a Christian should be in moderation¬†[temperance or self-control – a fruit of the Holy Spirit],¬†that they should walk in simplicity and modesty [freedom from vanity]. And they should!¬†But I¬†have seen Christians throwing lavish parties.

Others (especially those who can’t afford) may see them¬†and will desire to have them, too. Then we have influenced our brother or sister in Christ to covet worldly things. We have become an offense [a¬†cause¬†of¬†transgression or stumbling]¬†to them. The Lord has warned us that offenses will come, “but woe¬†to him¬†through whom they do come!” (Luke 17:1). (A constant reminder to self).

Jesus wouldn’t choose to be born in a manger if modesty¬†wasn’t one of¬†the main lessons He wants us to learn. He always teaches by example.

Vain things, which are of the world and not of God, must not be the desires of a Christian.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but¬†of righteousness and¬†peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17 ESV).¬†

This new year, may we begin to live a life that constantly and intentionally chooses what matters most to God and His kingdom and impacts eternity.

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Journey with Jesus,

Comments

  1. Naomi says:

    A much needed reminder.

  2. Hazel Moon says:

    I enjoyed your story back to your days in business and how God led you to be moderate in all things. I wear very little jewelry. A wedding band, and when I dress for church, a simple necklace to go with my dress and some plain ear rings. I can see how expensive jewels can cause one to be proud if their attitude is not right. I believe woman in business should dress in good taste. A person can dress well on a budget and I love sales and bargains. Isn’t it wonderful that God is really not concerned about our outward appearance, but He is looking at our heart. Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story. I always look forward to your posts.

    • RinaPeru says:

      I can imagine your simplicity and modesty of heart and attire, dear Hazel. And yes, people in business “should dress in good taste”, appropriate for the work they do (I am my husband’s stylist who now presides over our company :) ). It’s also true that a person can dress well on a budget and like you, I love sales and bargains, too! I rarely shop without a sale, as low as 50-70% off :). And most of all, yes, God sees our hearts – the most important thing we should be taking utmost care of.

  3. Samantha says:

    Such a great reminder of what is ultimately important. It’s humbling to lay our own crowns for the sake of the cross. What a wonderful post!

    • RinaPeru says:

      Thank you, Samantha! All these realisations are the workings of the Holy Spirit who dwells in our hearts and gives the wisdom we need.

  4. Bethany says:

    Humbling indeed fits with modesty. There’s adorning to His glory, and there’s adorning to make it known that we want to redefine glory! Thanks for making some hard distinctions here and speaking from the Word! One thought- you mentioned that it’s easy to keep accumulating when one has the means. As someone who doesn’t, I can also say that even those without can get their hearts out of place before the Lord by covetously WANTING, being jealous of, etc…
    Love from #Faith-Filled Friday

    • RinaPeru says:

      “As someone who doesn‚Äôt, I can also say that even those without can get their hearts out of place before the Lord by covetously WANTING, being jealous of, etc‚Ķ” – you stated exactly what I had forgotten to include, bethany! (I realized after posting, that yes, even those who do not and cannot have covet all the more). Blessings!

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