Summary: Is our inheritance in this life, the life to come, or both?
Greater Inheritance (Part 3)
Forfeiting Our Reward
In God’s plan, everything in life works together for our benefit. As we have looked at
beforehand, it is our eternal benefit God has in mind. Sometimes what benefits today also
has eternal rewards as well. However, many times what seems to be a loss today is
actually the greater benefit in our lives. The greater benefit frequently comes through
hardship. Would it really be for our good if God gave us what we wanted even if it is
contrary to the kingdom of God? What would be a gain would in the end be a loss. If we
miss out or suffer in this life, but the reward is eternal, can we truly call it a loss? If losing
something or missing out means inheriting God’s best, it is not a loss, but it is a gain. Yet
today this is a foreign concept to God’s people. We abhor suffering, sacrifice and trials.
Because we don’t see the goal of heaven, the church gladly forfeits eternal rewards for
immediate benefits. There are three primary ways that we forfeit our reward that we will
study in this final section.
1. Choosing the World
Begin by looking at 1 John 2
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world,
the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world -- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the
pride of life -- is not of the Father but is of the world.
17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of
God abides forever.
Things are not bad. The things of the world become ungodly when they are taken outside
of God’s intended design or become the objects of our affection. The world is the culture
around us that lives contrary to the principles of God. The world puts high value on
worthless things. Lust is an unhealthy desire that turns our allegiance away from God.
We can lust after anything. Lust can be sexual, or lust can be a desire for goods or
pleasures. We can lust after the lifestyles of the rich and famous or we can lust after a
doll collection. The lust of the flesh is a desire for sexual gratification outside of God’s
design. The lust of the eyes is a want for material things. The pride of life is to stand in
our own wisdom and understanding. By pride, we disobey God because we believe we
know better. By pride we justify our sins. By pride we neglect prayer because we don’t
feel a need God. Pride is doing it `my way’.
We can even choose the world with spirituality or religion. Look at James 4:
2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight
and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.
3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on
4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is
enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes
himself an enemy of God.
We are commanded to ask. The Bible says that we don’t have because we don’t ask. But
then it follows up with an emphasis on having the right perspective. We are not to be
drawn away from God because we lust after the world, and we are also not to use God as
a means to fulfill our lusts or selfish desires. The perspective is always the same - either
our heart is in the world, or our heart is in the things of God. If we try to marry religion
with the world, we still have the world - even if we call it a blessing of God. Verse 3
makes it clear that you can ask, but you will not receive it the motivation is to gratify
your desire for the world. The reason is in verse 4: to be friends with the world is to be an
enemy of God. Can we ask God to give us what is in direct opposition to Him? 1 John 5
confirms this passage as well:
14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything
according to His will, He hears us.
15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the
petitions that we have asked of Him.
We have confidence that God hears and grants our requests because we are not asking for
selfish motives, but we have the eternal perspective and are seeking God’s will.