This week, I’m supposed to tell you that God causes all things to work together for the good of those he called. That doesn’t mean it feels good. For example, one year ago today I became homeless after taking a bus partway to a tire store, walking the rest of the way, renting a U-Haul van, and filling it with as many belongings as I could — by myself because not one damn person helped me.
At 9 p.m., I gave up, unable to descend and re-climb the stairs one more time.
Soaked in sweat and rain from the humid 90-degree day and storm that lasted just long enough to muddy the yard and tangle my waist-length hair, I drove to the Motel 6 where I grew up, not knowing where else to go with two cats and little money. During the 25-minute drive, I couldn’t help but think about the bed, dressers, stuffed animals, and other items I’d had to abandon, wonder what I’d forgotten, and consider the irony. Throughout high school and college, countless teachers had made me read “The Things They Carried,” which spent a million pages enumerating all the possessions a platoon of Vietnam War soldiers had packed in rucksacks, satchels, and wallets. I hated that story.
Even if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t bore you by bemoaning the iPod I forgot on my kitchen counter or the presents from boyfriends that I left behind intentionally, regardless of whether or not soul ties actually exist, because God doesn’t want Christians to dwell on earthly things for the following reasons that Tony Evans shared on Sunday.
First, God’s going to destroy them.
“Since all of these things are to be destroyed, why are you treating them like they won’t?” Evans asked. “That new car is going to be destroyed, that money will be destroyed, and the bank that holds it will be destroyed. Wall Street will melt. All the things that men hold high are going to evaporate into nothing. So why are you treating it like it’s going to be here forever?”
Like Peter, Evans urged viewers to change their perspective.
“[W]e live in this world, so you need a car, you need a house, you need clothes, you need money in the bank. He’s not saying don’t have those things,” Evans said. “He is saying, ‘Put them in their right perspective.’ And so we are to hold them loosely, not intimately.”
How do you do that? Verses 12, 13, and 14 all tell us to look forward.
“Shift what you’re looking at,” Evans said. “You cannot now shift where you live, [but] you can — you can — adjust where you look. What [Peter] is asking us to do is to look at this life from the life to come, to make the life to come bigger than the life we’re now living. And if we make the life to come bigger than the life we’re now living, we will live better in this life ’cause we’re looking at that life. Where you look [and] where I look will determine how we live.”
In other words, we’re to focus on our future in heaven because, despite what you’ve read on refrigerator magnets and coffee cups, life is a dress rehearsal.
“The dress rehearsal is not the show,” Evans said. “It is preparation for the show. But because there is a show, you need a dress rehearsal so that when the show comes, you’re ready for the show ’cause you’ve done a dress rehearsal. Now, the dress rehearsal is done with the show in mind. You’re only thinking about that day, when the performance will be made public. but to get ready for that day, you’ve got to rehearse today. And you’ve got to dress the part for the show that is to come.
“Now, along the way in the dress rehearsal, you will make some mistakes. Along the way in the dress rehearsal, you’re going to forget some lines. Along the way in the dress rehearsal, you’re going to miss some cues. But if you keep looking at that day, the next rehearsal is going to be better than the last rehearsal.”
Much like a meme creator offered the following tips to curb social media bullying:
Evans suggested thinking about the following to please God:
“How will what I’m about to do, where I’m about to go, what I’m about to think, what I’m about to say — how will that affect what happens in the life that is to come? Because, like it or not, this life is a dress rehearsal for eternity. And once we get that mindset, once we are thinking that way, operating that way, and have that perspective, well, a lot of things are going to change, aren’t they? They’re going to change because it may be okay for me right now, but it won’t be okay for me then, so then it’s really not okay for me now because I’m looking at life through a different lens.”