This picture of my dogs was taken a couple of years ago for a children’s book I was working on. That’s Emma on the left and Ziggy on the right. The scene appears quite natural, but I promise if you came to my house you would not be greeted by this calm welcoming committee. The photo was completely staged and made possible only by the talent of the photographer and copious amounts of time, energy, doggy treats and leftover salmon. In truth, if you arrived at my door, Ziggy would zip past you, headed for freedom and adventure, and Emma would joyously jump up like a giant jack-in-the-box and try to hug your neck. Anyone who knows my dogs would instantly recognize the picture as a phony image of life at my home. But those who don’t know them might assume it portrays reality. They wouldn’t be completely wrong, of course, because it really happened. But it only lasted for about five seconds.
As we look around us, anyone who knows Christ should recognize this world as a phony image of our true home. But those who don’t know Him may assume what they see is reality. They’re not completely wrong, of course. We’re here for now. But we’ll only be here for about five seconds.
While we’re here, we have an enemy who tempts us to focus on these few short moments, encouraging us to spend our five seconds posing and arranging life to make it look pretty. Leftover salmon might not get our attention but what about the promise of treats like acceptance, prestige, comfort, and wealth? He’ll even try to convince us that God-given longings for freedom, adventure, joy, and love are satisfied by staging our time here just so.
Living based on that lie is akin to my dogs spending their lives trying to look like the front of a Christmas card. It’s about the appearance of life instead of the real thing.
Christ, on the other hand, doesn’t invite us to pose but to truly live.
After enduring their short modeling career, my pups left posing behind. They weren’t interested in trying to make things look pretty. Christ isn’t about that either. In fact, He said our time in this world would be full of trouble. As a result, we might relate to this picture more than the other…
But hang on because He promises to reward our faith with abundant, everlasting life and a home with Him far more beautiful than we can imagine. We won’t have to pretend because it will be perfect and more real than any place we’ve ever been. In the meantime, He promises to be with us while we’re here, too. For all five seconds.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life… John 3:36