When God created us, He had much more than a 70 or 80 year plan for our existence. He has a specific purpose for each of our lives. His plan spans both our earthly life, and our heavenly (or eternal) one. James 4:14 describes the difference between these two aspects of our existence. It says,
“What is your (earthly) life? It is a mist that appears for a moment and then vanishes.” James 4:14
You’ve heard the saying, “Life is short.” In light of eternity, it is! The Bible says,
“…man is destined to die once, and after that to face the judgment.” Hebrews 9:27
All of us are subject to a physical death. But physical death is only the termination of our physical body, not our soul. Our soul, or our conscious existence living inside our body, is eternal. Our soul will spend all of eternity in one of two places after our physical death: Heaven or Hell.
Heaven is eternal paradise where God lives.
Hell is complete separation from God.
Our natural birth into this world was not only the beginning to our temporary, physical life on earth, but also our spiritual life here and beyond through all of eternity. So in light of eternity, some may see our earthly life as insignificant, but this simply is not true. Your eternal destiny is actually determined by the decisions you make during your time here on earth; most importantly, the decision to make Jesus Christ the Lord of your life. Salvation is available for all of us through Jesus Christ, and through Him alone can we change our destiny from spending eternity separated from God, to spending eternity with God in Heaven. Jesus said:
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
The decisions we make in our earthly lives are important for other reasons, too. The way we live as believers can have an effect on the eternal destiny of others who do not yet know Jesus Christ as their Savior. Every day, those around us are watching our example of living for Christ. As Christians, God uses each of us to bring heaven to those around us who do not yet know Him. Jesus said:
“You are the light of the world…let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16