The Genesis account of Creation clearly portrays the idea that God designed mankind to live forever. According to the same Genesis account, the Fall of Man consigned our immortal souls to live in a temporal body and world subject to disease, death and decay. That juxtaposition of mortality and immortality creates a challenging internal tension that influences how I interact with the world around me and use my finite time and talents.
If I believe that my spirit will live forever and further believe that my actions here on earth will influence my eternal existence, how should that impact my decisions and actions. Even if you do not believe in an afterlife but are concerned about your personal legacy, read on.
While I may feel the pains of prior sickness or accidents, my body is always marching through time confined to the present. My mind may deliberate about the past or dream about the future, but I decide in the present. My limited mind cannot grasp eternity. However, that limitation does not preclude me from making choices for predetermined purposes with reasonably assurance of the outcomes. Am I suggesting we can predict the future? In a manner of speaking, I am saying exactly that.
Natural laws describe observable cause-and-effect in the world. The universal applicability of these natural laws forecast reasonably predictable outcomes. For example, violence usually breeds violence and kindness often begets kindness. When I align my beliefs and behaviors with these timeless truths my influence extends beyond my present space and time into eternity and defines my legacy.
So how do I do that?
First, I must become a diligent student of human nature and the physical world. My diligence in studying natural laws determines the degree to which I ground my own beliefs in timeless truths. As I have noted in previous posts, highly effective people take the time to capture their own beliefs in writing or regularly study the writings of others.
Second, I must periodically invest time to think deeply about my beliefs and rigorously assess their alignment with timeless truths.
Third, I must rigorously train my mind to set aside vengeance for the past and instead consistently choose the greater good of the future over the fleeting pleasure of the present. In other words, I must make purpose-driven choices.
Fourth, I must relentlessly discipline my behaviors into alignment with my beliefs.
In short, the key to reconciling my eternal nature with my temporal existence is discovering Truth and living my life in accordance with that Truth.
A shout out to @EricMetaxas and @RaviZacharias who both tweeted on this topic recently and got my mind thinking about this subject.