That annoying person you're going to spend the rest of eternity with

I can remember a preacher (or two) saying in church something to the effect of, "you'd better love the person sitting next to you because you're going to spend the rest of eternity with them." In one sense, I agree - we will spend eternity with our fellow believers. But in another sense, (I'd say the truly important sense), I strongly disagree with the implication of that statement. 

John, the apostle of Jesus, the one close to His heart, wrote, "But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." The believer you are sitting next to in church is nothing like the person you will spend eternity next to worshiping God with. We shall be like Him; all of us. Think about it. 

All of the things in us and about us, broken by sin - our annoying idiosyncrasies, our nasty habits, our rotten attitudes will be blown off of us as we are transformed into His likeness. That loud person that always wants to take control? A shining star burning brightly for Jesus. The rude usher who seems to only care about getting his job done? A beautiful pillar in the temple of our God. 

Hard to believe?

What about you? What in you rubs others the wrong way? You likely only need to look to the ones that annoy you to see the very traits in yourself that annoy others. Jesus said to remove that beam of wood from your eye before removing the speck from someone else's. Are you patient? You will be - as patient as Jesus on that day. Do you struggle with a habitual secret sin? It will drop off of you on that day as the Refiner's Fire lovingly purges you of it when you see Him. Are you insecure? Not then; for then you will know as you are fully known.

Every sin, every habit, every fear, every personality trait that you wish you weren't born with - gone; in an instant, forever gone!

So, who are you going to spend eternity with? Think about it the next time "that" person does "that" thing that starts to boil your blood. Look at them, and instead of seeing them for how they are acting and what they look like now, envision them becoming like Jesus. The seed that is planted now will be sown in wondrous glory then as the saints of God shine in the beauty of His glorious grace. Grace changes us now, ever so slowly it seems. It works in us now, but by grace then, we shall be forever changed. 

You will spend eternity with the believer sitting next you, and it will be with the greatest pleasure that you stand side by side marveling at the work of God and His awesome grace that could save such sinners as us.


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