When does “real life” begin?

When we are in elementary school, we look forward to middle school, and when we are in middle school, we look forward to high school, and when we are in high school we look forward to college and when we are in college, we look forward to working. At each stage, we commonly say that we’re getting ready for “real life” as if college life is when real life begins or when we get our first job and become self-sufficient and contributing and pursuing bigger dreams is when real life begins or as if getting married and starting a family is when real life begins.

In some sense, all of this, including the training and preparation of years in school and the training and preparation of a first job is real life. But for the Christian, all of this is a prelude to real life, the eternal life promised by Jesus Christ when he returns. He says that if we are not faithful with earthly riches, who will entrust us with true riches? He says that He is our true life and that when he returns he will bring his reward with him and those who trust in him will reign with him on his throne. He says according to our stewardship of this life and the return we deliver to the master we will be entrusted with cities to rule and riches in the age to come. Therefore all of life on earth is a training ground for eternity.

This profoundly changes how we view every circumstance of this life. Everything is for our good because everything has been arranged by God as training for “real life”. If we excel in school or fail, if we struggle through broken relationships or divisions in the church, if we endure the toilsome labor of work and a sense of being stuck and unable to pursue our dreams, if we go through hardships of health or persecutions, if we enjoy great friends and good company in an abundance of blessing, if we face anxiety and fear in letting go and trusting in God for the things we need and desire, if we face rejection by those we trusted and the pain of unrequited love, if we are gifted with the ability to generate wealth or speak well or encourage others or teach or heal or serve, if we go hungry and are poor or if we are full of the finest foods, everything is a training ground so that as we experience a variety of circumstances we get trained for righteousness and godliness which holds value for the present age and the age to come.

We get to learn the secret of contentment, that through Christ we can do all things. We get to discover the preciousness of the pure faith Christ has given us as trials prove to us that it is genuine and more valuable than we imagined and cause us to treasure even more the Giver. We get to grow up to maturity in Christ through every trial as it produces endurance, character, and hope in us. All in preparation for the glories of “real life”, eternal life, where we will be entrusted with true riches, the supreme worth of the universe, the glory of Jesus Christ.

So if you are stuck in a bad day today, give thanks!  God is using it to prepare you, so you will be ready to inherit his eternal weight of glory.