Hebrews 11:13-16 NLT - All these people [Old Testament heroes of faith] died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. 14 Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. 15 If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. 16 But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
Thinking about Heaven spurred some questions for reflection:
If you knew you were moving to a new city - even a new country - how much would you investigate and try to learn about it? What about a new neighborhood, or new house, or new school? How much would you want to know before you or your family left your familiar confines? By comparison, how much time, study, and investigation do we put into knowing about our eternal home? If we are wanting to “relocate” to Heaven, shouldn’t we dig deeper into what Scripture reveals about our eternal state? Should we study books and pursue more understanding of what truly the place we call Heaven is like?
Do we make sure the Heaven-themed movies and near-death testimonies we consume are consistent with what God has revealed in Scripture? If not, why not? Is it perhaps because it would require effort and research to get a clearer picture of our eternal state? Yet is there anything more important? Are we more patriotic about being American - or perhaps proud of being Mexican, or Italian, or Irish, or having similar blood ties to any earthly country above our ultimate citizenship in Heaven?
“The man who is about to sail for Australia or New Zealand as a settler, is naturally anxious to know something about his future home, its climate, its employments, its inhabitants, its ways, its customs. All these are subjects of deep interest to him. You are leaving the land of your nativity, you are going to spend the rest of your life in a new hemisphere. It would be strange indeed if you did not desire information about your new abode. Now surely, if we hope to dwell for ever in that “better country, even a heavenly one,” we ought to seek all the knowledge we can get about it. Before we go to our eternal home we should try to become acquainted with it.” — J. C. Ryle
Jesus taught about storing up treasures in Heaven. Are we as intentional about saving Heavenly treasure as we are about saving for retirement - or for college - or for a home purchase - or even short vacations? If not, why not? Is there anything more important? How do we intentionally and regularly invest our time, our talents, and our treasures in a way that honors God and contributes to people going to Heaven?
Finally, how excited are you for Heaven? Is there any sense of anticipation and desire - or are your thoughts and longings for all things temporary and “under the sun?” Is it possible that a lack of understanding about our ultimate eternal state leads us to not look forward to Heaven like we should if we truly believed in it? Have we ever thought that there are still so many things we’d like to do and experience “down here” first? If so, what does that reveal about our theology or our hearts? The point is not to condemn ourselves but to adjust our thinking in a way that is consistently Christian and Biblically accurate.
Perhaps we find ourselves so challenged and discouraged in this world because we have not sufficiently focused on the realty and eternality of the next world. There was an old saying about many who were simply spiritual-weirdos, “They are so Heavenly-minded that they’re no earthly good.” That is a false statement. It is impossible to be too Heavenly-minded, and as we approach the Easter season - maybe we should seek to prove it! Those who are truly Heavenly-minded are indeed the most earthly good. How would being more consistently Heaven-minded affect your main stressors in life? How would a consistent Heaven-mindedness affect your anxieties and view of financial and physical difficulties? How might it affect your joy - both in serving God’s kingdom and in your personal life?
Colossians 3:2 NLT - Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.
Hebrews 12:22-24a NLT - You have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. 23 You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. You have come to the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect. 24 You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance…