Heaven: Cultivating an Appetite for Our Eternal Home
Note: Ken also taught a version of this lesson during his Friday Morning Study.
Do you long for your eternal home? If most of us are honest, our hunger for heaven is not nearly as strong as our hunger for the things of this world.
You’ve likely heard the saying, “Don’t be so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good.” These words may be spoken with good intent—to discourage us from focusing on spiritual matters to the neglect of loving and serving the people around us. But the opposite is actually true: If we are not heavenly minded, we will be of little earthly good; we will have no motivation to do the good we should.
Treasures and Eternal Glory
Certainly, there is a balance to strike. However, the Scriptures never warn us about being heavenly minded. Instead, the Bible warns us about being too fixated on earthly things. For example, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus exhorted His followers not to “store up” earthly treasures:
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal. (Matthew 6:19–20)
Likewise, within the context of suffering, Paul wrote:
For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)
This world prepares us for another world to come. When we set our sights on heaven, we gain a proper perspective, thus enabling us to live with meaning and purpose on earth now. Knowing our treasures on earth will pass away while our treasures in heaven remain forever should spur us on to love and serve people—whose souls are one of the only things on earth that will endure beyond this lifetime.
Fixing Our Eyes on Our Eternal Home
For modern Christians, the danger is not of being too heavenly minded; if anything, we do not yearn for heaven enough. In his section on hope in Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis writes:
I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same.1
Indeed, we should cultivate a longing in ourselves for our true country. We must not let our appetite for heaven become weak, for it is that spiritual yearning that spurs us on to live in a way that is pleasing to the Lord—including pointing others to their true home through acts of love, service, and evangelism.
This life is short, but enduring 80 years of hardship for the gospel would be well worth 80 years—or even just one hour—in the kingdom of heaven. No matter how much pain our earthly lives include, it will be as nothing compared to the radical joy we’ll enjoy for eternity, when sin, death, and decay will be no more (Revelation 21:4).
In eternity, all of creation will be set free from the curse of corruption. The children of God will receive glorified bodies and will enjoy the presence of God without the presence of sin or death (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:12; 15:35–58). So let us stand firm, run the race with endurance, and “[fix] our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). In the end, our spiritual hunger will be fully satisfied as we bask in the radiance of the glory of God (Matthew 5:6; John 6:35; Revelation 21:1–4).
1. C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (NY: HarperCollins, 2001, reprint), 137.