Set Your Sights on the Realities of Heaven

Dear Friends,

Paul wrote in Colossians 3:1-3 "Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honour at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God." (NLT)

I read these verses one morning when I was in the middle of a bad spell of migraines.  The spell lasted for ten days.  Some of the days were extremely painful when I just couldn't function normally, some were more bearable and I could live with the pain and some days I woke free from the pain and hoped for a pain-free day only for the migraine to develop later in the day. 

I know that some of you reading this will have experienced pain much worse than this.  You may be going through something right now which is almost unbearable.  Whatever that painful experience may be, it's not pleasant!  Whether it's long-term ill health, terminal illness, a husband or wife who walks out on you, unemployment, infertility, rebellion of your teenage child, caring for an elderly parent who no longer recognises you etc.

Yet, these few verses Paul wrote were able to give me comfort, encouragement and hope that morning.  It may interest you to know that Paul wrote this letter to the Colossians whilst imprisoned in Rome.  Instead of focusing on where he was and what his life was like at that moment in time, he was able to turn his focus towards God.

We can get so focused on our earthly life, on the physical world around us, that we can easily believe that this is what life is really all about - sleeping, waking, eating, going out to work, coming home again, bearing responsibilities, managing problems.  It's so easy to get caught up in the mundane, everyday life and think this is all there is. 

Especially, I think, that can be the case when going through a tough time.  I know I can be quick to think this is what my life is and I become focused on the here and now.

However, Paul tells us that this is not our "real life".  The truth is, whilst you and I do live in the physical world, but also, alongside this (although I can't explain it or fully understand with my limited mind) are part of the spiritual, eternal world and we read in Ephesians 2:6 that  "For he [Godraised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus." (NLT)  As I understand it, God has done this for us (notice the past tense) but we experience this now only in part because we are living in the physical world.  And one day we will fully experience and know it when we are no longer part of this earthly world.

So, Paul told us in the verses right at the beginning to "set your sights on the realities of heaven".  Heaven is what is real, this is what is lasting and eternal.  This physical world, which right now, seems so real, is temporal and will one day be no more.  Because heaven, the spiritual kingdom, to which we belong is real, Paul says "Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth."

"So we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen; for the things which are visible are temporal [just brief and fleeting], but the things which are invisible are everlasting and imperishable." 2 Corinthians 4:18 (AMP)

Abraham, a great man of faith in the Old Testament, knew this and practised it.  Here's what it says about him in Hebrews 11:9-10 "By an act of faith he [Abraham] lived in the country promised him, lived as a stranger camping in tents. Isaac and Jacob did the same, living under the same promise. Abraham did it by keeping his eye on an unseen city with real, eternal foundations—the City designed and built by God." (MSG)  Abraham set his eyes on the realities of heaven.

So, instead of being taken up with what is temporary, with life in the here and now, let's do what Paul encourages us to do and set our eyes (our minds) on the realities of heaven and our eternal life.

To Think About:
Do you find it easier to set your eyes and thoughts on the things of heaven when life is going well for you or when you are in the midst of difficulties?

What are some practical ways you can focus on the reality of heaven and your real life in Christ regardless of your circumstances?

Choose one of the above scriptures to meditate on over the coming week.  Ask God to speak to you through his word.  Do you think he wants to encourage you, comfort you, give you hope as you meditate on this scripture?

Vicki

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