... the place where God lives ... and the place where God says we should set our hearts and minds. How do you do that? How do you live in THIS world and set your heart and mind on heaven? From morning 'til night it seems that hundreds of things demand our attention. Tomorrow, school begins for many children and youth. Sports activities have already begun. Other extra-curricular activities are not far behind. Between work and the economy and rising prices and family struggles there is scarcely time for any thoughts at all! Yet, God calls out to us, urging us to set our hearts and minds on heaven.
Why? Because HE is there and you NEED Him! You need to know Him; to know His thoughts and to believe His promises. You need to rest in His arms and find comfort and strength and assurance and hope and peace and JOY! Some might respond, "But God is HERE, too." That's true. By His Spirit God is present with believers. Jesus promised that He would be with those who believed until the very end of the age. But it's not like heaven! Heaven is a unique place. Heaven is total peace, total joy, total bliss such as has not been experienced by anyone who is currently alive in this world. Heaven is... well, heaven!!
Heaven is where you let go of everything having to do with this world and focus your attention on GOD! Heaven is where those who believe go immediately as they take their last breath. Heaven is where the angels - spiritual beings created by God as His servants and ministers to people on earth - worship God, their Creator, continually. Heaven is not our final destination (we'll talk more about that sometime!), but it is part of the "reward" that God has promised to those who believe, a reward that comes not from merit, but from grace.
I want to go to heaven. I want to BE in heaven, but I'll leave that up to God. There are a number of reasons why it is good for me to be here right now ... not the least of which are my wife, children and grand-children, along with the opportunity to live life for God's glory alongside other brothers and sisters in Christ. But there is heaven ... waiting ... or is it you and I who are waiting?
So what do we do while we wait? We allow God to BE heaven for us now. We set our minds on HIM, knowing that HE is THERE! In Psalm 73, the writer says this, "Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever" (verses 25-26). I'll write more about the context of those words tomorrow, but for now, think about this: God is in heaven, and for those who believe, God lives within us. Paul writes in I Corinthians 2:16: "We have the mind of Christ."
At any moment, at any time, from any place, I can catch a glimpse of heaven, and even enter there with my mind as I set my mind on God, my Creator, who has become my Father in heaven. The key is in knowing God and wanting Him more than anything else, and that requires letting go of the things this world and the people in it count important - laying them aside and being convinced that God is all I need. That doesn't mean I'm not engaged in this world; it just means that my first thought, my first priority, my "first LOVE," is GOD.
"My flesh and my heart may fail, but GOD is the strength of my heart and my portion forever!"
I'm going to like heaven... when I go there some day. Until then, I like thinking about it!!