One of the biggest criticisms of Christian faith, especially among the African-American community is the “pie in the sky,” “sweet by-and-by” concept of heaven and eternal life. It’s argued that white slave masters taught black slaves this principle of Christendom in order to control the slave population; as to say, “if you obey me, I’m not going to pay you, but God will when you make it to glory.”
I understand this criticism, in that one group is told to defer their physical blessings to an afterlife, that some aren’t even sure exist, while another group enjoys material wealth in this one. While there is a reward for me in heaven, I don’t believe I have to wait to get there to enjoy the benefits. Now before you get your undies in a bunch, no I am in no wise a “prosperity preacher,” peddling the capitalistic gospel of self-serving wealth; but at the same time, If don’t believe that the “payoff” for faith will happen in the sky, one sweet day.
Here are 5 things you can enjoy right now:
- PEACE. All of us have experienced stress in varying degrees, so we all know it is terrible feeling. So to be able to have a heart that is still, and a heart that is quiet is a very attractive offer. Peace in God is like no other, in that it the pressure off of us to “do something”, and frees us to rely on God, trusting Him to handle every challenge and crisis. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7, NASB
- SECURITY. So many of us live daily with uncertainty, whether it be physical, financial, emotional, personal, or relational. While we can’t pinpoint every detail, God gives us, along with peace, security that we should never fear what the future may bring. “The Lord is for me; I will not fear; What can man do to me?” Psalms 118:6, NASB
- FAVOR. If I have learned one thing from my dad, it’s that favor is better than money. He has a beautiful home, a luxury car, fine clothes, and trips literally all over the world, not because he has a lot of money; he has remarkable favor on his life. God will orchestrate your life in such a way that favor, not money, is your currency. “… favor is better than silver and gold.” Proverbs 22:1b NASB
- ACCESS. Seeing the “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” has given us a glimpse of how the “other half” lives. Exclusivity is a major component of that lifestyle, because money can get you into (and out of) places that are beyond imagination. But God grants each of us access to His very throne. There we can have a private fellowship with the creator of all things, where nothing is out of reach. If more of us understood the power of such access, we would not be so dismissive of it. “… the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” James 5:16b, NASB
- JOY. Happiness is often contingent on what’s happening. While our circumstances determine our happiness, joy originates from a much deeper place. True joy from God exists because of our spirit and soul have aligned themselves to God’s heart; so that we know, regardless of our circumstances or our condition, our position is sure. “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory … “ 1 Peter 1:6-8, NASB
I know that God has promised us a mansion in heaven, but the truth is we can live like kings here on earth. You don’t have to wait, because you have Him with you everywhere you go. Eventually has already come. Your “one sweet day” is today.
© 2016 Derek J. Murphy Enterprises, and I AM KINGDOM Publishing, All Rights Reserved.
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“One Sweet Day” Written by Mariah Carey, Walter Afanasieff, Nathan Morris, Michael McCary, Shawn Stockman, and Wanya Morris. Produced by Mariah Carey and Walter Afanasieff. Performed by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men. Released 1995.