The ultimate impact of Christianity cannot be experienced on earth. There are heavenly realities that are beyond our comprehension.
Yet most Western Christians have learned to be very earthly in their view of things. They think about things of this natural life, instead of having Heaven in their sights.
I am prompting you here to take stock of the Heavenly realities and to get your perspective back on track.
Impact on Eternity
Your human existence is incredibly short. We have about 70 years to live on planet earth. And even if you lived double that, to 140 years that is not even a blink in terms of eternity.
Your eternal existence is SO amazing and SO extensive, that your experiences on earth don’t rate a mention. Even a whole life of fine meals, comfortable furnishings, fast cars, impressive views, memorable holidays, wonderful friends, fun moments, and the like, will be long forgotten within moments of seeing the glories of heaven, or facing the horrors of hell.
Eternity is hard for us to grasp, but its reality and its impact should not be ignored.
The absolute blessedness of being God’s child, in the Heavenly family, surrounded and immersed in blessings that make human treats seem worthless, is SO profound and SO glorious that no amount of wealth, fame, fun, excitement, power, glory, significance or indulgence on earth has any value compared to those eternal riches.
Yet so many Christians are totally distracted by their urge to gain more of that which is of no value. We get caught up in the same quest for money, success, promotion, importance, love, satisfaction, possessions, fulfilment and such, as those whose eternal destiny is shockingly tragic and horrible.
It is time to refocus our attention on the eternal riches.
In view of the endemic addiction to the world that seems to hold the western church spellbound some Bible instructions stand in glaring contrast to that worldly culture.
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world the love of the Father is not in him.” 1John 2:15
“If you have risen with Christ seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Col 3:1,2
“For they that live by fleshly natural values think about things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Romans 8:5,6
The Instruction if Jesus
Add to those previous verses given to us by the Apostle Paul and the Apostle John the clear statement of Jesus about not laying up treasures on earth.
“Do not store for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust corrupts things and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust corrupts and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
Do you have anything stored up in heaven yet? How much is in your heavenly account?
How would you know how much you had? What are you looking forward to in eternity?
Or are you distracted by your store of earthly wealth? Are you much more aware of you earthly bank account than your heavenly treasure?
How do you add to your heavenly riches?
Jesus taught that you get a heavenly reward when you are persecuted for your faith here on earth. It’s not a pleasant thought in terms of our human experience, but it pays really good dividends. Persecution is a pretty good eternal investment.
“Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Matthew 5:11,12
All those times you avoided being in a spot where you might be teased or mocked for your faith you missed out on adding to your heavenly reward. Your concern about things “below” cost you greater blessings “above”.
Losing What You Try to Save
Another danger with being preoccupied with this life is that we might be tempted to try to “save” it, and end up losing much more.
Jesus warned that if we try to save this life, protecting yourself, your reputation, or whatever, you will lose your life.
“For whoever saves his life will lose it: and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 16:25
If you are anxious to save your skin, protect your reputation, preserve your opportunities for comfort and pleasure, or similarly “save” your life, Jesus warns that you will lose it. But if you abandon those things for Christ’s sake you will find real purpose and pleasure in your life, and great blessing in Heaven.
A great analogy for our life is given in the wilderness wanderings of the Israelites after coming out of Egypt. They were supernaturally sustained in the wilderness by food that was on the ground fresh every morning. This manna kept them alive for forty years.
But the people loathed what they referred to as “light bread”. It just didn’t satisfy their hankering for the kind of food their appetites wanted.
“And the people spoke against God and against Moses, Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread or any water; and our soul loathes this light bread. ” Numbers 21:5
Yet the food the people loathed was very special. It was “angels’ food”, the “corn of heaven”. That means it nourished the spirit of man, but did not pander to the human appetites. And remember, that food kept the people alive for 40 years.
“And had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven. Man did eat angels’ food: he sent them meat to the full.” Psalm 78:24,25
Flesh Rejecting Spiritual Things
The “angels’ food” situation reveals something that is patently obvious from many points of view. Natural man despises spiritual things. Man rejects spiritual things and wants to pursue that which indulges and satisfies their fleshly nature.
Spiritual things are awesome and wonderful, such as we see in the wilderness where the manna sustained human life for 40 years. But spiritual things don’t pander to our lusts and pride.
Note that the key qualities of this world, which our natural man hankers after, are matters of pride and lust.
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abides for ever.” 1John 2:15-17
Spiritual things do not cater for our pride, but will call us to be humble. Spiritual things will not feed our lusts, but will call on us to die to our flesh.
Tricking it Up
The modern western church caters for fleshly interests. Rather than promoting what is strictly spiritual, churches try to “trick up” their services, music, presentation and message, so they can attract people.
But to attract people means we are pandering to their flesh. Remember that spiritual things are not inherently attractive to natural man. Angels’ food is loathed by people, unless God is calling them and doing a work in their hearts.
So we now have thousands of churches with all the tricky bits to pander to human pride and human lust. Good looking people up front and state of the art design and deco, with upbeat populist messages, promises of more fun and more fulfilment, ego stroking affirmations and similar accoutrements are packaged together to create an appealing context to attract the public.
The gospel is morphed from “you need to be saved from your sin” to “God loves you and wants you to have a good time”. Joining the club is more the model than laying down your life.
So it is not surprising that the fleshly “What’s in it for me?” theme should underlie much of what we call modern western Christianity.
Look to Heaven
Turn your eyes heavenward. Stop being distracted or even addicted to this world and its glitzy seductions. There is no dividend from investing in your flesh. There are FAR more wonderful things to experience than those things that appease your pride and lust.
If you pander to your flesh you die. If you, through the Spirit of God, do put to death the impulses of your natural man you will live.
“For if you live after the flesh, you will die: but if you through the Spirit do put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Romans 8:13
I call you to so live this life that you will be more than ready for the mansion Christ has prepared for you in His Father’s house, and for the great reward waiting for you in Heaven. There are riches and blessings for us to enjoy that are beyond our comprehension and they are ours for ever, world without end, in Heaven, not on earth.