Sabbath Ramblings: Glory

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As part of our evening bedtime story ritual, I've been reading my sons the inspiring classic by John Bunyan entitled Pilgrim's Progress. I highly recommend adding it to your reading list if you haven't had a chance yet (this one, in my opinion, is the best edition).

One of the best parts of the story (spoiler alert) is when the primary protagonist, who is fittingly named “Christian,” arrives at the foot of a cross and the heavy burden he has been wearied and worn by for years suddenly rolls away from his back and he's light as a feather with a fresh spring in his step, with all his cares and worries cast upon Christ.

This story reminded me of how absolutely breathtaking it is that, by the grace of God, we've all been offered a free gift of salvation—and we can't and never have done anything on our own to earn it.

That gift of salvation, and subsequent eternal life, is free to us but purchased by the intense suffering, pain, and ordeal of the cross that I describe in all its gory detail here.

This also got me thinking recently about how much glory, pleasure, and bliss we've been offered for free that we so easily spend much of our lives simply passing by and turning down for arguably far more fleeting and temporary, and far less significant, glory, pleasure, and bliss in our daily lives.

When you really think about it, trading long-term glory for short-term pleasure is so silly and senseless, yet so automatic easy. I don't know about you, but I often find it tempting to trade the delayed gratification and the eternal glory of heaven for the temporary earthly enjoyment of a hedonistic trip to Las Vegas, missing church to catch up on work or household projects, skipping a monthly tithe or gift to the poor to sock away just a bit of extra cash for a rainy day, jumping into the pressing business task of the day prior to meditation, devotions, and prayer, or using workaholism, exercise or personal hobbies as escapism from a more meaningful focus on, say, faith and family.

Yet, as the saying in Mark 8:36 of the Bible goes, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet loses his soul?”

The heavenly afterlife I describe here is so mind-blowingly glorious that you'd think it'd be somewhat simple for us to resist temptation or the tendency to engage in less eternally meaningful activities here on earth, but us silly humans just…don't do that. It's as though a plate of warm, chocolate chip cookies were placed in front of a child, and the child was offered the cookies now, or a hundred billion dollars in a year. Most of us are the kid who dives right into the cookies, with chocolate smeared across our faces and a temporary mouth pleasure traded for a far more significant and meaningful prize.

This irrational human psychology is why Matthew 7:13-14 so aptly states: “For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

But I want to share with you a tactic that may help you resist those worldly temptations that pull you away from eternal glory, and it's a tactic that has served me well, so I thought it wouldn't do any harm to share it with you.

First, close your eyes.

Take a deep breath in through your nose, then out through your mouth.

Now, begin to visualize and imagine an existence so glorious, so blissful, so overwhelmingly pleasurable and uninhibited that it nearly takes your breath away. Imagine you have no cares or worries in the world, you are in a perfect state of health, you are surrounded by laughter, feasting, and loved ones, and you could live in that blissful existence forever.

Next, imagine that there are long, wickedly sharp thorns, burning hot flames, intense icy cold, and the most unpleasant sensations imaginable to attain that existence, yet in the midst of all those painful obstacles to your entrance to pleasures forevermore, there is a tiny light illuminating a narrow path to the glory that awaits you, and that path is as simple and free to find as this because someone already went in front of you and took on all the pain, heat and cold themselves to ensure that the path was freely open to you. As you sit and breathe, imagine that all you need to do is commit to leaving behind the temporary and fleeting earthly pleasures and the short-term flavor of that pile of chocolate chip cookies to enter into this eternal glory.

You inhale one more deep breath, you step forward onto the narrow path, and you commit to trusting in full faith, like a little child, that the path will take you where you need to go. You tell yourself that by loving God and loving others, you can, by the grace of God, remain upon that path, even when you're tempted to veer sideways from the path for the temptations of just a little bit more money, a few more minutes each day pursuing a better body, or a little bit more networking with the worldly folks you want to impress. Your laser focus is now…

…the path to glory.

Then open your eyes, and ask yourself what the very best thing you can do each day would be to keep yourself focused on that path. Hint: the answer to that question is to begin each day by training your soul—via meditation, devotions, prayer, silence, solitude, reading Scripture, and engaging in the spiritual disciplines as your first and most important task of each day.

Do this exercise for at least seven consecutive days…

…close your eyes…

…imagine eternal glory, pleasure, and bliss…

…know that it is free and fully attainable…

…then commit to focusing each day, as one of the very first things you do, to equipping and empowering your spirit to stay upon that path.

Psalm 16:11 says, “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Yet Matthew 13:22 says, “The seed falling along the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.” And Matthew 6:24 says, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

This means that you and I have a choice. We can pursue earthly pleasures and possessions that are temporary and fleeting, getting choked up by the thorns and worries of this world while engaged in the pursuit of money and wealth…

…or we can pursue heavenly treasures that are lasting and satisfying for all of eternity.

Which would you choose? I challenge you to truly imagine, visualize and meditate upon how overwhelmingly glorious it will be to enjoy pleasures forevermore in the presence of God, then to ask yourself if anything you are doing in life that is holding you back from that is really worth it.

Thanks for reading, and leave your thoughts, questions, comments, and feedback below. I read them all.

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11 thoughts on “Sabbath Ramblings: Glory

  1. Kelly Lang says:

    Hi Ben, Yes your right about the Grace of God and the saving work for the world. Even whether we believe or not. It does not cancel his finished work. So cool we can now believe to enjoy his saving work, instead of trying to be good or keeping the law.

  2. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. (‭‭Ezekiel‬ ‭36‬‬:‭25-27‬ NIV)
    Just thought I would share my scripture for the day.
    Thanks for reminding us (God says “remember “ a lot in the Bible because He knows how quickly we forget) to seek first His kingdom before our own

  3. Mike Drobish says:

    I needed to hear this one today. I read and reread multiple parts. Thank you Ben

  4. Janice Francis says:

    Thank you for allowing God to use you for His glory, both in the writing of this and in the products you produce for our bodies. May God continue to bless the fruit of your hands.

  5. Kolten says:

    I’m confessing I have been inconsistent in spending time with the Holy Spirit as I start my day – it is so easy to get distracted and lose the habit. Thank you Ben for letting the spirit lead you on these ramblings, they are impactful and just the conviction I needed before heading to church this morning. It’s time for me to refocus on consistency in dedicating my first moments of each day to our creator and savior. Keep rambling brother.

  6. Elizabeth Ledgerwood says:

    Amazing Grace how sweet it is . Wonderful

  7. John J Butera says:

    Just what the Great Physician ordered! Thank for sharing this Light and Life! I am so glad this is your reality and life and thank you for putting things back into Divine perspective. Jesus is the Way Truth and Life and He has come to bring Life and Life more abundantly. GOD bless and thank you, I needed this.

  8. MIchael Somers says:

    Having recently given a eulogy for my father I made an analogy between what my father showed us and what our Heavenly Father shows us: agape love. Agape love is a Greek word for unconditional, selfless, and sacrificial love. This is what our Heavenly Father showed us in sending down Jesus Christ for our salvation. As John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world that he sent his only son to show us the way that whoever believes in him shall have eternal life and never parish”

  9. Tommi says:

    Thank you Ben. You pulled me from the slough of despond to the heavenly heights. Blessings to you and your family.

  10. Amber says:

    I felt the conviction reading this, definitely spoke to my heart and called me out on some of the areas where I’ve put God on the back burner. No better time to fix those things than now, good read!

  11. Rob Arteo Maximus Shaw says:

    I didn’t think you wrote this stuff. That was amazing and vividly real. That would be great I’m audio as to imagine the blissful place of heaven
    Awesome Ben

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