Our spirits are immortal. Yet God puts us in earthly bodies with a sinful nature and allows Satan to surround us with temptation. One theory is that God does this to develop our character.
Doesn't this seem like a risky choice? God knows that not all of us will come back to heaven. Some of us will succumb to Satan. Yet he puts our souls at risk anyway. Almost seems contradictory to a loving Dad, doesn't it?
My other immediate question is, isn't there a better way? Yet this is what God had chosen to do. So although brief, our time here on Earth must be pretty important. God risks our salvation putting us here, so his reasons must carry some weight.
Maybe it isn't that different from sending our children to school. We know they will face temptation, culture, peer pressure, and at times even danger. They could get beat up by a bully, or hit by a car on the way there, or succumb to any number of other potential risks. And we know that there will be times when they have to make difficult decisions and they will make mistakes. Yet we do it anyway. Why? Because we know that despite the risks, it is for their own good. They are getting an education. They are learning how to become more like us, i.e. adults. It is not inconceivable then that God is doing the same thing sending us here to earth. To get an education and learn how to become more like him.
Okay, so if we are not here on earth for ourselves or for comfort, but are here to become more Christ-like, I would have to say based on observation that many of us do not have this as our number one priority. (Perhaps this can explain why I often find myself feeling frustrated and unfulfilled by my circumstances).
I would have to say that complacency is my biggest obstacle to staying focused on becoming more Christ-like. Which seems crazy when put in the context that God is putting my salvation at risk putting me here in order to build my character. And yet, when I am not at church or small group, I just don't always care enough about trying to be like Jesus. In the heat of dealing with uncooperative children I have to admit that it is often the last thing I am concerned with. Like a child who doesn't make getting their homework a priority despite knowing that being there to learn is the whole point of going to school.
So as we make our way into a New Year, I think I will be seeking practical ways in which I can keep focused on "what would Jesus do" mentality, moment by moment. Not just when I am peacefully reading the Bible or enjoying a tea at small group. I do not understand his methodology, but hopefully I will make some progress this year in coming to better understand who he is.