Posts Tagged ‘Heaven


Standing Firm

In Philippians 3, Paul reminded his readers that they were destined for Heaven. No matter what came their way as far as threats of persecution or death, they could have joy because they were citizens of Heaven. He then told them what to do in the face of threats. He wrote:

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! – Philippians 4:1 (NIV)

When we go through trials, tests and troubles, we need to remember that in the end, Jesus wins and we will overcome this world. It is not in our strength or power, but through the power of the Son of God. We have to remind ourselves and one another often that this world is not our home. The troubles and trials we face are only temporary. So stand firm in the face of difficulties. Stand firm in the face of persecution. Stand firm in the face of fear. Don’t give up! Don’t give in to fear! Stand firm!

Where We Belong

Good Friday morning to you! Toward the end of Philippians 3, Paul says that many live as enemies of the cross. He said that their minds are on earthly things. He contrasts them with followers of Jesus. He wrote:

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. – Philippians 3:20-21 (NIV)

We who follow Jesus don’t belong here. We’re citizens of another place. Our ultimate loyalty and allegiance are to no politician or flag or country. When Jesus returns, we will be made like Him and we will live forever with Him. We long to be in the presence of Jesus. We long for our Heavenly home. Don’t get too comfortable here on earth. Don’t settle for life here, but rather, keep your eyes on the goal and prize of Heaven.

Pressing On Toward Heaven

We all go through various troubles, trials and tests in this life. Followers of Jesus are not exempt. It would be nice if God would bestow a kind of “most favored nation” status on us, but He doesn’t promise a pain-free life for anyone. He promises something else – Heaven. Paul wrote:

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV)

There’s kind of a past, present and future thing going on in these verses. Paul chose to forget the past while pressing on in the present toward an amazing future in Heaven. We would all do well to follow His example. Forget about the past while pressing on in the present toward an amazing future. This is how we can get through the troubles, trials and tests of life. Keep your eyes on Heaven where Jesus waits for you.


Heaven Versus Earth

The apostle Paul told the Philippians that when it came to dealing with one another, they should have the same mind or attitude as Jesus Christ. Paul then goes on to describe this attitude. He wrote:

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.​ –  Philippians 2:6-7 (NIV)​

Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords, gave up His exalted position in Heaven for the humble position of a servant on Earth. Jesus gave up His heavenly throne for a lowly manger in Bethlehem. Jesus, who was worshiped by angels and all of the heavenly host, traded all of that in for the adoration of curious shepherds. Why would He do that? He did it because He loved the world. He could have stayed in Heaven instead of coming to Earth. We would have been lost in our sins forever. The love of Jesus brought Him to earth because He’d rather live and die here than live forever without you.

So Much To Do

We know that Heaven is a wonderful place. No more mourning, crying or pain of any kind is what we are promised. Followers of Jesus will be with Him for eternity. The apostle Paul wanted to be with Jesus, but knew that God had work for him to do here on Earth. He wrote:

If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. – Philippians 1:22-24 (NIV)

While our hearts long for our eternal home in Heaven, we must remember that there is still so much to do here on earth. Those who don’t know Jesus yet need to hear the good news that He loves them. They need to know that God is for us and not against us. They need to experience the goodness and grace of God. It is up to those of us who follow Jesus to tell them so that they might believe and find the hope that we have found.

To Die Is Gain

The apostle Paul knew that death isn’t the worst thing that can happen to a follower of Jesus. He wrote:

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.​ – Philippians 1:19-21 (NIV)

This world is not all that there is. The reward awaiting us in Heaven is greater than anything here on earth. But there is work to do here on earth that gives purpose to our lives. We must live to tell of the love of Jesus so others will know the hope that we have in Christ. Heaven will be wonderful and we’ll get there someday. Until then, let us spread the good news of Jesus to everyone we know.

To Look Like Jesus

God, in His perfect foreknowledge, had a plan all along. He would predestine anyone who loves Him and puts their faith and trust in Jesus to have forgiveness and eternal life with Him. This is how God works everything out for the ultimate good as it says in Romans 8:28. Paul wrote:

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. – Romans 8:29-30 (NIV)

God wants His people to look like Jesus. How do we do that? Does it mean sinless perfection? That’s not possible because if it were, Jesus wouldn’t have had to die. Rather than being sinless, we need to look like Jesus in the way that we love, serve and forgive. Who can you love today? Who can you serve today? Who can you forgive today? That’s what it means to look like Jesus.

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