. . . Love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” 1 Peter 1:22-25
As far as I know, I’m not dying any faster than the rest of you, but I’ve had a lot of time to consider the aging process lately. How many people need a knee replacement in their late 40s? I wrestled through college and as recently as last June, I participated in CrossFit competitions. Today though, I’m happy to simply climb stairs. This body is in a state of decay, and it won’t last forever. No matter what I may accomplish in my athletic career, no one remembers my college wrestling record, and no one cares about my CrossFit endeavors. I may put a tremendous amount of time and effort into those things, but in the end, they’re pretty meaningless.
This is the tone of today’s passage. In it, Peter reminded us to obey God’s word, loving each other. All else, he said, is temporary and futile. People and all their accomplishments will fade. The word of God though stands forever. In obeying the word of God – by loving one another – we touch the eternal. By living the word of God, we are born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable. In following our now-appetites, we invest in that which can never last. In following God and loving those he puts in our path we gain everlasting life.
Most of us spend our time pursuing the temporary. We work so we can pay the bills so we can have the car and the house. In our free time, we do what we want, expending our energies on entertaining ourselves. Some of our pursuits may be self-destructive but most of them aren’t necessarily evil, they’re just pointless in light of eternity.
For me, if I want to invest in the eternal, I must purposefully do so, making a discipline of it. Daily, I make myself wake up early to read, pray, and meditate on God’s word. Built into my weekly schedule are jail Bible study and a recovery meeting, both of which are opportunities to meet with others who need God as badly as I do. I don’t do it perfectly, but I have realized that my athletic endeavors won’t last. What will last is the time and effort I put into following God by loving those whom he’s put in my life. In following God, I touch the eternal and gain life everlasting.