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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Having Heaven In Mind Changes Everything About How I Live Today

In review of Hebrews 11:15-16 it says, “If they had wanted to, they could have gone back to the good things of this world. But they didn’t want to. They were living for heaven. And now God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has made a heavenly city for them” (TLB).

In Hebrews 11 I’m reminded of the faith that Abel, Noah, Abraham, and Sarah had. They all died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and actually welcomed it. They all agreed that they were foreigners and nomads on earth. They were all looking for a country they could call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, and has prepared a great city for them.

I am a foreigner and this world is not my real home. I cannot live here forever. As such It is best for me to not have the mindset to be attached those this world's desires and possessions that I can't leave them when God commands.

As I read their stories I can see that all of these folks of faith may have died without receiving all that God had promised, but they never lost their vision of heaven. It can be easy to become frustrated and defeated because my needs, wants, expectations, and demands are not immediately met now that I follow Christ as my Savior. I can also feel discouraged because the achievement of my goals seem far away. When I find myself in this situation it’s best for me to look back and take courage from these heroes of faith, who lived and died without seeing the fruit of their faith on earth and yet continued to believe.

Having Heaven in mind can change everything about how I will live today. If I’m headed to Heaven, then that reality should impact how I live here on Earth.

When I keep this in mind, my value system changes. Instead of living for the here and now, I start to live for eternity. I can also live knowing my future is secure. No matter what happens to me on Earth, I’ll spend an eternity with God in a place more amazing than anywhere I have ever been.

I’m learning that to live for my eternal destination that I:

Should not be distracted by temptation. Peter tells me, “Dear brothers, you are only visitors here. Since your real home is in heaven, I beg you to keep away from the evil pleasures of this world; they are not for you, for they fight against your very souls” (1 Peter 2:11 TLB). I can be distracted by lots of things, both good and bad. I need to stay focused on what’s of eternal significance and learn to delay gratification. Our society tries to convince me to do just the opposite. Instead stay focused on what’s ahead.

Next don’t be discouraged by trouble. Paul tells me, “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever” (2 Corinthians 4:18 NLT). When I live in light of eternity, trouble just doesn’t bother me as much anymore. I know troubles won’t last forever, so I simply don’t give up.

Lastly, focus my energy on what will last. “Let heaven fill your thoughts; don’t spend your time worrying about things down here” (Colossians 3:2 TLB). Fulfill the purposes of God in your life. Live a life of worship. Build relationships with God’s people. Invest your time in becoming more like Jesus through discipleship. Serve others with abandon. Tell people about Jesus. These are the activities that will last forever.

I was made for Heaven. Since I’ve made Jesus the leader of my life, I’ll get to spend eternity there. That's truth that needs to sink in and be allowed to change

Bottom Line:
Don’t turn back, keep living for the long term heavenly city God has in mind.

What this means to me:
Instead of just giving up, I need to keep in mind and live for the long term heavenly city God has made for me.

This morning I especially needed the reminder about not being discouraged by trouble. Living in light of eternity helps me to not let today’s troubles bother me. The trouble will not last forever. So I need to never give up!