“Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”
Rev. Billy Graham 1918-2018
It’s all a matter of perspective.
This life that we’ve been given–whether it’s 100 years or only one more day–is a gift.
So often we live in the moment, not really thinking past the 24 hours on the clock. We hit the ground running, and our endless pursuit of whatever it is that we’re looking for keeps us running through our days like a hamster on a wheel.
If we’re not careful.
If we’re not purposeful.
The goal of our life might not even be obvious. We can comfortably exist and casually go through the motions of life, doing what we think is expected of us or quite possibly what we expect of ourselves. Entering our adult years we can easily think our life goal is to be the acquisition of a job and the accumulation of money. Life becomes a pursuit: Wealth. Knowledge. Prosperity. Happiness.
Is that so wrong? Could so many hundreds of thousands of people have the wrong perspective?
Psalm 73 says they do.
While the goal of prosperity seems worthy, it can become a slippery slope. Pursuing a worldly perspective of what is good, our actions and these words cry out the truth of our condition:
“Therefore, pride is their necklace,”
- PRIDE — One of the most common sins of man is the arrogance of thinking that we don’t need God.
“and violence covers them like a garment.”
- VIOLENCE — Anger, bitterness, wrath, jealousy. A far cry from “love covers a multitude of sins” in 1 Peter 4:8
“Their eyes bulge out from fatness;”
- OVERINDULGENCE — Letting our desires control us. Whether it is the desire for wealth or success, or comfort; or merely an emotional pursuit of love, acceptance or fame, we break God’s heart when we allow anything to rule over our thoughts and actions besides Him.
“the imaginations of their hearts run wild.”
- MISGUIDED PASSION — It goes without saying that passion alone is not enough. God-given passion can change the world. Mis-guided passion will destroy yours.
“They mock, and they speak maliciously;
they arrogantly threaten oppression.
They set their mouths against heaven,
and their tongues strut across the earth.”
- MISUSING YOUR TONGUE — Negativity breeds negativity. Your words matter, and whether it is mocking, gossiping, or even sarcastic comments meant to offend, “No foul language is to come from your mouth”. (Ephesians 4:29) This passage is not just talking about vulgarity– Paul’s words echoed the words of James 3: “Praising and cursing come out of the same mouth. My brothers, these things should not be this way.”
What a clear warning for us who claim the name of Christ, yet struggle to see the world from His perspective. Holiness matters. Motives matter. If we’re not careful, the temptation to live and to look like the rest of the world can replace a desire to follow God.
These words from Psalm 73 shouted to me from the page:
This earthly existence is temporary. Even Billy Graham was not exempt from these temptations. He was famous. He had wealth. He had touched more people–in every continent on the globe–for the gospel of Christ than any one else in history, yet he was known as the most humble of men. All the fame and fortune of the world did not deter him from his mission:
“I haven’t written my own epitaph, and I’m not sure I should. Whatever it is, I hope it will be simple, and that it will point people not to me, but to the One I served.”
You may think this life you have been given is all about you. What you do, what you accomplish, what you acquire. If you think that this is all there is to life, perhaps your perception is little out of focus. Verses 16 and 17 of Psalm 73 give us the remedy:
“When I tried to understand all this, it seemed hopeless until I entered God’s sanctuary. Then I understood their destiny.”
The only way to gain the right perspective is to get in God’s presence. If you want to know how that is possible, I invite you to read about the difference that faith can make in your life here: FAITH