Today I began thinking about what it means to live with a “heaven-focused” mindset.
Colossians 3:2 reminds us to “set [our] minds on things above, and not on earthly things.” What are earthly things? While there are many I could write about, hopelessness is most on my mind
Hopelessness, fear, despair…they all go together. Despair leads us to feel like there is no hope, to surrender ourselves to a scary, stark unknown. Fear is almost the opposite: when we are faced with something scary we tend to despair rather than to hope for a better outcome.
Buzzwords including “Ebola” and “outbreak” and “ISIS” are currently flooding our world with fear. It’s safe to say most people are petrified of contracting a deadly disease or having their heads chopped off by a terrorist. Mostly they’re afraid to die–and why not? Wouldn’t you be afraid to die if you didn’t know what happened next? Or worse, if you believed in heaven and hell and knew you were destined for the latter?
As Christians–rather, as ones who are redeemed by and surrendered to Christ–we have the privilege to live in a world stained by sin without having to subscribe to its message of hopelessness. This means we can have hope in difficult or tragic times while others cannot. We can experience the heartbreak of family and friends dying, and still have hope in knowing that sorrow is earthly, temporary, and God will again restore us. We can endure loss of jobs or possessions and know that God will sustain us for as long as He wants us on earth before He calls us to our real home with Him.
We can battle physical injuries, mental illnesses, and still have hope knowing that everything on earth God is using for His glory and when earth passes away, so do our tears.
God has given us temporary bodies and temporary lives to live while we are here…and they’re gonna get beat up and worn out. But we have hope knowing we will be given new, perfect, eternal bodies when the temporary passes away.
Of course, all this hoping and not despairing is rather pointless if we think heaven is merely a watering hole for weary Christians.
And I think this is a key element in presenting the Gospel: Heaven isn’t what we deserve, and if your version of heaven doesn’t involve Christ then it won’t be changing your life too much.
Because heaven isn’t Disneyland for dead Christians–heaven is a restored, revealed, up close and personal relationship with God. It is literally a new life! It’s eternal life; it’s eternally living a new life with God.
This temporary life gives us a glimpse into the goodness of God and allows us to share His goodness with others. We can invite them to join us in His salvation. We can invite them to join us in living a temporary life headed for the perfect eternal.
We are extending to them an offer of a lifestyle celebrating Christ now and into eternity. We’re offering them nothing less than Christ, for He is our hope on earth and our hope for the future.