I love the life God has given me. I truly do. While I rest in the security and return of Jesus to make all things right, I find myself often loving the present world more than the idea of heaven.
When Kevin and I were engaged, I hoped secretly that Jesus wouldn’t return or take me home yet so that I could experience our wedding and honeymoon. Now, I find myself wishing that He will just wait and come back until after we have kids so I can experience being a mom. While these aren’t necessarily bad desires, to long for the things on this earth more than I do Christ means that I don’t fully understand the significance of who Jesus is and truly how amazing experiencing heaven will be when we get to meet Him face to face! I want to understand more fully the depth of His love and His plan for eternity. I long to desire heaven and to desire Jesus more than anything else this world could offer.
“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself.” – Philippians 3:20-21
Ok now stop and re-read Philippians 3:20-21 above. Is that not profound?
There are three main points we take away here:
(1) Our citizenship is in heaven. That implies this: we are aliens and strangers to this world (1 Peter 2:11, NIV). This world is not our home. We are sojourners passing through in a specific time and for a specific purpose. When awful things happen all around the world like mass killings, slave trafficking, natural disasters and divorce, I am comforted with this reminder: This world full of pain is not my home.
(2) So what do we do? From this truth we are awaiting the return of our Lord. He saved us once and for all on the cross, but He is coming again. Not only is He returning, but also He has plans for a new life, a new earth that He will restore and make all things new. He will wipe away every tear from our eyes and there will be no more crying or pain anymore (Revelations 21:1-6). He will transform our bodies to be like His now resurrected and glorious body. That means no more physical pain from our physical bodies. Whoa.
(3) How will He do this? He will transform us by His Power. That’s the same power that enables Him to subject all of creation to Himself. The same power that conquered even death. For remember, the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power (1 Corinthians 4:20, 15:1-11).
If you consider yourself a Christian, then you are probably like me: You understand that one day you’ll be in heaven because you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior. But is this saving truth a reality simply for your future, or does it affect your daily life in the present? In other words, are you seeking comfortable living to make this earth your home, or do you understand that Heaven is home?
Are you building up treasures on earth, or treasures in heaven? (Matthew 13:44)
So let’s break this down. If we believe that God purposed us for heaven and not for this world, then why did He place us in here temporarily?
Did God place us here …to be comfortable? …to live a ‘good & successful’ life? …to be happy? Let’s really stop and think critically about this paradigm-shifting question. Why are we here?
We come to grasp that we were created by God much sooner than we realize the ultimate truth: we were created for God.
“For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:16-17
The Bible tells us this truth: We were created to live for God’s glory. We were created to live in relationship with God. (That’s why after sin entered the world, He sent His Son Jesus to be the “bridge” – that through Christ, the Son, we can have a relationship with the Father.) So whether that’s on earth or in heaven, our purpose is to bring Him glory.
I once heard John Piper say that God did not place us here to make much of ourselves, but to make much of Him.
In future posts, I will explore specific areas of our life that this will affect in the series: Eternal Living. Because the reality is that living eternally changes your perspective on everything – Money. Relationships. Suffering. Sports. Work.
In all of these categories, the purpose is not human flourishing. The goal is God glorified. Living eternally means we will compete for His glory in every aspect of life.