W. Austin Gardner
Commanded to think about Heaven
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:1–4
Notice that the apostle Paul gives us two different commands in this short passage. We are commanded to set our hearts on “things above” and we are commanded to set our minds on “things above.” God’s commands are always for our benefit, and when we obey them, we receive grace and experience His peace. A command requires us to willfully choose to do something. For most of us, our minds and hearts are set on the things of this life. The world’s pressures and enticements dominate our hearts and minds. As a result, we are preoccupied with things that are temporal.
Last week I had breakfast with a forty-three-year-old executive at Google. He’s strong and athletic, has a great wife and four kids, and just learned he has stage 3 cancer. I had been sick for two weeks, was behind on my message preparation, working on this book, and had a less-than-positive attitude . . . until I heard that word “cancer.” My petty issues and pressures evaporated almost instantly as I stepped into his world and what really matters.
Much of our anxiety and lack of peace and struggle in this life is the result of not having a clear understanding of Heaven and an eternal perspective that comes from our hope in the life to come. Studying Heaven has practical implications for my life here and now. A clear understanding of Heaven results in a longing for Heaven, which empowers me to make wise decisions about my priorities in this life.
Chip Ingram and Lance Witt, The Real Heaven: What the Bible Actually Says (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2016).