Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What Would You Trade Heaven For?

Often we unthinkingly give the impression that we might know a bit what heaven is like, though we have never been there and though God tells us in 1 Cor. 2:9-10 that heaven is beyond our experience and our finite minds to imagine it; any understanding we have is given by His Spirit and still is beyond earthly words. MercyMe's song "I Can Only Imagine" is true and yet untrue in that we can imagine, but we can't imagine rightly. The lyrics ponder what it could be like, and yet we know they give nothing of the picture of it. The firsthand knowledge of heaven remains a mystery until we see it--even though in a sense our spirits know and anticipate its goodness, as in 1 Cor. 13:12. God has done many things to secure our place there and to prepare us for it, as Paul describes in Ephesians 1.
I recall the statement (though I don't know who said it), "The best thing an unbeliever will ever experience is life on this earth. The worst thing a believer will ever experience is life on this earth." It's a stunning thought, though we know it to be true. Still, we carelessly speak phrases like "a little bit of heaven," "heaven on earth," "I'm in heaven," "in seventh heaven." This discredits the awesome nature of our future hope. We do this even though there's been nothing we can even suppose is heavenly in our experience except the hope of salvation. We have
a hope and a future--but it's not promised on earth.
If there's one thought that would keep me from sinning against God, I think that would be it: "Is this worth trading heaven for?" There is nothing here that is worth trading heaven for--not any person, place or thing, no experience, no temptation. We are promised with
1 Corinthians 10:13 that there is nothing He will withhold to help us to obey Him. On the other hand, those temptations are worth trading in for heaven. Release to God all your earthly desires, give Him title to them. Psalm 37:4 tells us that if we delight ourselves in the Lord He will give us the desires of our heart--and I remember hearing that it means He will give desires, not fill desires...loving God doesn't entitle us to all we ever wanted, but what He teaches us to rightly want. I want to align myself with Him and there is nothing I can give Him that He hasn't already outgiven to me.

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