How do we keep the affairs of this life in check? How do we hold to the godly priority which the Apostle Paul gives us in Romans, chapter 2, where he says, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
How can we insure that our immersion in this physical / material world will not rob us of the pilgrimage attitude that the Hebrew writer speaks of regarding people of faith when he says, "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland."
How can we be sure that the divine imperative of Matthew 6:33, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness..." will not fade under the long abrasions of a busy life which demands so much?
Well, there are ways. There are some that you would probably expect me to mention: staying in the Word of God, maintaining the good habit of going to "the Garden," and remaining involved in the Church.
But, beyond those things, I think one of the most effective ways to stay consistently motivated in Christ is simply to occasionally revisit, with some focus and intensity, the seriousness which surrounds the outcome of the human soul. When it comes to the destiny of our soul, it really helps to regularly reconfirm to our self, this simple imperative: "I must not mess this up!"
Indeed, there are no do-overs when it comes to our ultimate end. So we dare not let the Devil, or stupidity, or ignorance, or laziness, or bad theology, or any other thing keep us from our own true success story in Christ.
We must not inadvertently insulate ourselves from authentic truth with a bunch of half-baked, cobbled together, sound-good religious clichés. We must not excuse ourselves. We must not delude ourselves. And we must not be distracted by the siren song of the material attractions that are all around us.
So, it really helps to occasionally focus on the importance of how our personal story will end. And, it helps to remember that we are really only here to write that ending.
And, regarding this occasional reality check, here is what we know. We know (at least some in our species do) that God has given us a revelation of redemptive truth in Jesus Christ. And, indeed, He has taken a long time and extended great care to show us the correct redemptive path through Christ. But, we also know that this true path has become shrouded in confusion.
For various reasons and motives, human beings often misinterpret the redemptive truth or ignore it altogether. And when you add to those mistakes, the adversary's half truths and outright lies that have been inserted into the mix of our religious thought life, honestly, it's no wonder so many have trouble writing a successful ending to their story.
Nevertheless, it remains a fact of reality. A large part of the responsibility for sorting out this informational mess is, indeed, on us. It is up to us to decide our way through the fog of Satanic lies, ambiguous and phony religion, silly philosophies, and our own demanding "druthers" to arrive at authentic, divinely-given truth.
The decision to reject or embrace an idea, to pick and choose our devotions in life, and to set priorities is ultimately ours. Thus, while it is true that the Holy Spirit constantly whispers guiding truth to each of us; in the final analysis, it remains our responsibility to pick out the ring of God's truth from the rest of life's discordant notes.
And if, indeed, we fail in this vetting task, so that we sort it all out badly, then the correlation is very direct. In that case, our personal story will also end very badly. And, no disaster could possibly be worse or more absolute than the final wreck of the human soul.
In that event, we are plunged into an abyss of unimaginable suffering. And worse yet, that suffering will never end.
Thus, the crushing atmosphere of complete hopelessness will surround us. And we will forever become one of the nameless, faceless millions in a churning, screaming sea of failed humanity - all victims of their own bad calls in this life.
And, to be sure, there are, indeed, a lot of distractions in this life which would take our time and energy away from what is truly important. There is a lot of bad information which deceptively passes itself off as truth to take us in the wrong direction. And, there are many of us who just don't much care either way because we're too busy chasing the toys and trinkets of life.
But, be assured, standing on that "forever brink," the burning questions will not involve money or hobbies or jobs or ownership. Rather, the questions which will then rise urgently to the top will be those of personal investment, and directions, priorities, and choices. But, in that last terrifying hour, there will no longer be any opportunity to improve our answers, and thus, our end.
So, it really does help to occasionally reconfirm to our self, in the strongest possible terms, that there actually is one issue which truly supersedes all others. It is this issue of how our personal story ends. And, we gain even more help when we add to that confirmation, one more: the certainty that we are writing that ending every single day in the script of our every decision.
"And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
"And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
"And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
- From: The Revelation of Jesus Christ to St. John