Heavenly-minded

Heaven is on my mind.

There are various reasons why – our pastor gave a series of sermons on heaven in January; I read a book a while ago called Heaven is for real; I am now dipping into a book entitled Heaven by Randy Alcorn; and recently I have been meditating on some of the apostle Paul’s writings on eternity.

I have been a believing Christian for more than 50 years, but I haven’t thought much about heaven.  My focus has been on my day-to-day life on earth.

I think I’m typical of today’s believers in the Western world.  Many of us don’t see a need for a better world because our existing world is so comfortable.

As well, some believers may have a misunderstanding of what heaven is like.  They may think of it as a place where people play harps or endlessly sing choruses to the Lord.  They may see heaven as a boring place.

But, clearly, that is not how Jesus and the apostles saw eternity with God.

In fact, Paul yearned to be with Jesus.  He thought it was far better to be with Christ, but he felt a responsibility to stay as long as he could on earth to serve other believers (Philippians 1:21-24).

The other day, I was reading Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians where he says the troubles he has faced – beatings, stonings, near-drownings, imprisonment – pale in comparison to the eternal glory that awaits him in heaven (2 Corinthians 4:17).

He then goes on to say that he makes a practice of fixing his eyes on “what is unseen” – the eternal.  He knows that even better things are on the way.

I heard a sermon a few years ago by pastor and writer Sam Storms about Jonathan Edwards’ view of heaven.  Edwards, a great American theologian in the mid-1700s, talked of heaven as a place where joys are continually increasing for believers.  New wonders open up for them all the time.

It strikes me that believing Christians must simply accept the words of Paul and Jesus that we will be filled with great joy when we see Jesus and spend an eternity of variety and interest with him.

This can bring us joy and hope and expectation in our own lives today.

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