Our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
How can you prepare for your journey to Heaven? First, as we saw yesterday, you need to have a valid passport: a heart that is stamped “Forgiven.” Another practical step to prepare for Heaven is to live with a destination mind-set. The fact is, we do not know when our departure to Heaven will be, so we face an unusual responsibility of preparing for our trip to the next world while still living in this world. God calls us to be residents of two worlds: the next world and this world.
Make no mistake about it: our true citizenship is in Heaven. Philippians 3:20 says, “Our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Our real citizenship is in the new country we are headed toward. Nevertheless, God has left us here as well, and He has given us certain responsibilities. We have responsibilities with the family that God has entrusted to us. We have responsibilities at work. And of course our greatest responsibility is to be “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20), to be God’s representatives urging people to be reconciled to God through faith in Jesus. We are preparing for the next world while living in this world.
Admittedly, it is difficult to live in more than one place at the same time. I remember when Amy and I were called to the pastorate of my first church in Eastland, Texas, more than 30 years ago. Amy and I traveled to that small congregation to “preach in view of a call.” After my trial sermon, they ushered us into a small room and fed us pie while the congregation deliberated. I will never forget the exhilaration I felt when we learned they had voted to call me as their pastor. We could barely sleep that night as we contemplated the adventure before us. However, the next morning, reality set in. We drove back to Dallas and spent the next month wrapping up our ministry there. For that month, I tried to concentrate on doing the best job I could in Dallas, but my heart was already at my new church. While we were working here, we were thinking about there. We were living in both worlds. During that final month in Dallas I had more motivation to work hard than I had experienced during the last seven years–mainly because I knew my time was limited and I wanted to leave things in good shape! Focusing on “there” (my new church in Eastland) profoundly impacted my life “here” (in Dallas).
That is a good illustration of what God has called us to do. We are to be thinking about and preparing for Heaven, but we still have work to do here. The Bible talks about that here-there mentality. In Hebrews 11:13, the writer said we are “strangers and exiles” on earth. In Colossians 3:2, Paul said, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” But here is the irony: The more we focus on there, the more effective we become here.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “How Can I Prepare For My Journey To Heaven?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.lockman.org)