REVELATION 21:1–5 – Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said,“ Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Christians are not immune to the sorrows, suffering, and sadness of living in this sin-cursed world. We know pain as well as unbelievers. We bury loved ones like unbelievers. We experience great disappointments in life like unbelievers. We encounter sudden calamities and drowning circumstances like unbelievers. Yet, there is a distinction between believers and unbelievers when it comes to all the difficulties and how they are handled. For the unbeliever? All they have are the futile coping mechanisms of the world which always fail. Whether it be humanism, pleasures, materialism, or sensual fulfillments, none can deliver hope and strength. Nor will the unbeliever be able to “gut out” life in the strength of themselves. This too proves insufficient and vain. For the believer? We have Christ. We have hope. We have a true Gospel to cling to affording us the necessary strength to not only endure this hard life but to overcome all things with joy, not without pain, but with joy. However, and it is a big however, we must do something, not a do something action, but a do something of developing a “heavenly mindset”; one rooted not in the pain and circumstances in the now but in the promises and future of the not yet.
Throughout the New Testament we are called to be a people living with our hearts and minds set in the heavenlies, not the earth. The most familiar scripture directing us toward this fixation might be found in the third chapter of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae-If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory (Colossians 3:1-4). Unless we develop this mental discipline of staying fixed on heaven, life is too hard and will overwhelm us. In fact, if we don’t develop this heavenly fixation, when all the difficulties in this life come our way, and they will, our responses will be like our unbelieving friends’ and neighbors’. Such will be a poor testimony of the power of the Gospel.
So, where are we directing our minds and hearts? How we answer that question will tell us a lot about how we are coping with life in a sin-cursed world. If we are heavenly-focused, we are learning to live above difficult circumstances and do so with joy. If not, we are being defeated by difficult circumstances and experiencing fear, anxiety, and stress. May God help us to fix our eyes in the otherworld more than this one for His honor and our joy.
PRAYER: “Father, help me to keep my heart and mind fixed on heaven in the midst of life’s difficulties.”
QUOTE: “The hopelessness of life in this world is only defeated by the sure hope of heaven through Christ.”
Because of Him,