Last week I received a missionary prayer letter from some very good friends of mine. They shared the following biblical encouragement that is excellently timed in light of events going on in today’s world. I hope you will be challenged, as I am, by their words. (They requested that their identity remain anonymous.)

So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 2 Peter 3:14

Most of the New Testament exhortations to become “like Christ” or to “purse godliness” only make sense if we are looking forward to the “this” Peter refers to here in the third chapter of his second letter. What is the “this”? From the previous verse it is the “new heaven and the new earth, the home of righteousness.” How much are we really focused on our future home in the world to come, while we live day-to-day in this world? Are we trying to make our temporal lives more pleasant and exciting here, or are we looking forward to the next life? Peter just reminded his readers that “the day of the Lord will come like a thief, … the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.” But that’s no big deal for us, because we are looking forward to Jesus’ return.

This idea of looking forward is expressed in C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity:

If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this one.”

This exhortation encourages us to increase our effectiveness in this world, by focusing more on the next.