Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Is life getting you down? Look up. Are your burdens feeling heavy? Look up. Does watching the news depress you? Look up. These beautiful verses remind us of what matters most and where we truly belong. Our hearts can so easily be consumed by the things of this world, and we can fall under the influence of earthly desires and ideas that draw our attention away from Jesus. So, we need to remember to look up and to look forward to our heavenly home.
Following Jesus pushes us in two seemingly opposite directions at the same time. On one hand, Jesus sends us to the ends of the earth as his witnesses. We are called to love our neighbors and share the good news with people in need. God has important ministry for us to accomplish here and now in this world. On the other hand, the Spirit instructs us to set our hearts on heavenly things and to wait expectantly, even prayerfully, for Jesus to return and for the final consummation of all that God has promised. It’s good for our souls to long for heaven and to joyfully anticipate true life in our true home where all the troubles and temptation of this world will no longer plague us. When Jesus ascended into heaven and the disciples watched him disappear into the clouds, the two heavenly messengers asked, “Why do you stand here looking into the sky?” (Acts 1:9-11). It was time for them to get to work carrying on Jesus’ ministry. Then Paul writes these words, inviting us to turn our focus back toward heaven.
So, which is it? The truth is, we need to do both at once. We fulfill the mission Jesus gave us in this world, even as we set our hearts and minds on heaven. Maybe a clue to understanding this paradox is Jesus’ prayer that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). As we long for the perfection and glory of heaven, we join with Jesus in bringing glimpses of God’s goodness into this life. We set our hearts, even in the midst of this broken world, on things God says are right and good, knowing that one day He will welcome us into the new heaven and new earth where everything will be glorious. For now, we take great comfort in the promise of eternity, and we share this wonderful hope with others.
Father in Heaven, You are good and glorious. I long to enter Your presence and to praise You forever. As I wait for heaven, use me to do good things in this world among the people You created. Teach me to share the love and message of Jesus and to set my heart on Him. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian